Rain Means Mosquitoes, But Dangerous Ones Still Missing

Recent rain the Houston area means we’ll likely see an increase in the mosquito population soon. But health officials say they haven’t seen mosquitoes that carry dangerous diseases like West Nile virus yet.

The recent rains here in the Houston area will likely mean we’ll see a bunch of pest mosquitoes soon. But the ones that carry dangerous diseases haven’t been detected yet this year.

It usually takes between 7-10 days for mosquito eggs to hatch after big rain events that leave large areas of standing water.

So far in 2014, Harris County health officials haven’t seen any evidence of disease mosquitoes that carry the
West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis.

“From year to year, you really can’t forecast what the disease is going to be doing any given year,” said Jim Dennett, an entomologist with Harris County Mosquito Control. “You have those good years, and then you may have several years of very, very high disease activity. But to date as of 2014, we don’t have any St. Louis encephalitis,” he said.   
The county’s mosquito spraying efforts don’t start until there are signs of diseased insects. Dennett homeowners are the first line of defense for mosquito mitigation efforts.

“If you have buckets or anything that collects water in your back yard, you’re generating your own mosquitoes,” he said. “If you can drain those items regularly and keep water from standing in your back yard, you can prevent a lot of mosquitoes being produced on your property.”

The relatively dry spring has meant a lighter than normal mosquito population for this time of year.

Dennett says we could catch up over the next few weeks because of the recent wet weather.