The Texas Drought Is Producing Bigger, Stronger, Meaner Mosquitoes

Categories: Environment

mosquito.jpg
John Tann
Mosquitoes could be a hell of a lot peskier this season.
Texas' historic drought is, at least, good for one thing: fewer mosquitoes. But according to researchers at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, the mosquitoes that survive could be bigger, meaner and more persistent.

Mosquitoes grow in stagnant water. If there are fewer mosquitoes, there are more nutrients to go around, says Dr. Joon Lee, a medical entomologist who investigates the possibility of West Nile risk in Fort Worth as part of a partnership with the city. That may result in larger mosquitoes -- not moth-sized, but still. "A little bigger is a lot bigger in terms of mosquitoes," Lee tells Unfair Park.

Normal mosquitoes can live up to about 20 days. These stronger mosquitoes could live up to a month. They could also cover more territory. If you find yourself in a battle against them, swatting away, know that they'll be able to last longer.

More important, the added strength, longer life expectancy and greater range mean mosquitoes have more time to pass on the West Nile virus, Lee says.

The West Nile virus first reared its head in Texas in 2002, and a state of emergency was declared two summers ago. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly half of all cases in Texas occurred in the four counties around DFW. Trucks, filled with a chemical cocktail, roamed Dallas. Planes, under the cover of night, took off and sprayed the city, probably with little or no effect. Around 400 people were infected, and 20 people died. The CDC estimated the economic cost at about $50 million, based on providing healthcare, mosquito-control resources and spraying.

The number of people infected (11) and the number of people dead (two, both over the age of 65) dropped dramatically in 2013. This year, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services, there have been three mosquito pools that have tested positive for West Nile virus. No word on whether the mosquitoes lurking there were supersized, but it's good to take caution either way.

Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.


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24 comments
scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

lions,tigers, bears, global warming, oh my!

shawn4848
shawn4848

to ALL mosquitoes.....please go to the oak lawn-peter springs area and suck all the butt you want to and leave ALL normal and sane human beings alone, you devil bug

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

If there is less stagnant water, there may be fewer Mosquitos overall, but the stagnant water that does exist will probably have a greater concentration of Mosquitos, not less.

So, look for smaller, malnourished Mosquitos.

In unrelated news, the polar bear population is increasing, so they should be extinct fairly soon.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Giant mosquitoes make for a great headline.  The Weekly World News headlines would always give me a chuckle at the checkout line.  One of my favorites:


FOUR-LEGGED WOMAN OPENS DANCE STUDIO 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

If you're worried about these imaginary Monster Mosquitos, Home Depot offers imaginary monster mosquito spray. It's kind of pricey, but imaginary monster Mosquitos require even stronger imaginary chemicals.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Eventually they will be the size of pterodactyls.... 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Just this morning I was accosted by two of them. One held me down while the other forced me to drink his "West Nile" cocktail.

It could've used a twist.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Head: The Texas Drought Is Producing...

Lede: the mosquitoes... could be...

officiallyAndy
officiallyAndy

@shawn4848 If you are going to insult someone or a specific area please make sure that your information is accurate. You sound like an idiotic moron, I'm sure you lack what most American's do and its called equality in your country. I don't know if you were trying to be funny, but I can guarantee you that you weren't. Please have some decorum with things you say, not only should you be ashamed of yourself, but you should also feel like a complete dumbass for saying something like this.

Novasira
Novasira

I've actually noticed that near where I live, we've had more mosquitos this year, but they've all been super tiny. :)

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

We're going to need bigger taxes.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk Big Kitty sits at the screen door and hisses at them.  They go away.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@jessicaswiggum25

So your experience is opposite that claimed by the headline, and the conjecture of experts.

Obviously, you're not feeding your Mosquitos enough.

Novasira
Novasira

Yea I'm a little scamp like that. ;)

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @TheCredibleHulk

I've heard severe bytes can transmit them to humans.

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