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Madison could see another overly active, long mosquito season

Mosquitoes expected to hatch this week

MADISON, Wis. - The recent rain and warmer temperatures are waking up the mosquito population in the Madison area. 

University of Wisconsin Madison entomology professor Susan Paskewitz said she expects we are going to see a lot more mosquitoes over the next week or two. 

"We had that massive outbreak of mosquitoes in Madison last fall as a result of the flooding. And what that means is some of our most important nuisance biters, the ones that become really abundant here in the summertime, there's a huge egg bank out there and as soon as we get some water on it, those eggs will start to hatch," Paskewitz said.

The area saw an abnormally high mosquito population in 2018, as well as a peak later in the year. 

Paskewitz said July 4 is usually when the number of mosquitoes peaks, but last year, there was still a large number of bugs captured in traps throughout Dane County in late August and September. 

"In September, things really start to decrease, but this last year, because of the flooding we had, we hit the highest number we'd ever seen. I think it was like 17,000 mosquitoes in one trap, which was absolutely enormous, kind of off the scale," she said. 

She said the historic flooding provided perfect habitats for floodwater mosquitoes, which she called our big biters.

"They just had lots of places to lay those eggs and lots of time and warm temperatures to get you the life cycle and that's why we saw that huge peak. So all those mosquitoes were out there feeding in the late season and also laying their eggs and that's the egg bank that we're looking at potentially hatching over these next few weeks," Paskewitz said.

While many had hoped the polar vortex would've killed off some of the mosquitoes we're expecting to hatch now, Paskewitz is convinced the big biters probably survived. 

"There was quite a bit of snow cover and usually down there where the eggs are, under the snow getting through the winter, it's a lot warmer than it is out in the air temperature," she said. 

She said while the cold might've impacted some species, it probably didn't affect the mosquitoes that tend to be a big nuisance. 

She expects we might see more mosquitoes out earlier in the year. 

The entomology department will start trapping mosquitoes this week and will get a better idea of what to expect. 

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