As the Planet Gets Hotter with Climate Change, Will Mosquito Populations Grow?

While there is still some debate around the topic of climate change, most people now agree that there is at least a change happening across the globe. Whether you believe that this is due to mankind’s ecological footprint or simply to the cyclical behaviors of nature, it’s hard to deny that this change, in some regions, includes an overall increase in temperature. It is this aspect of climate change that is most inviting to one of the world’s most notorious insects: the mosquito.

According to Dr. Yogesh Shah, associate dean for global health at Des Moines University, a one-degree increase in temperature could give rise to a substantial increase in the mosquito population. This increase, though hard to scientifically pinpoint, could be as high as “almost eight- to 10-fold,” Dr. Shah said. The link between an increase in the number of mosquitoes buzzing around your yard, or the local park, and the number of mosquito-borne diseases is an obvious one. With more mosquitoes flying through the air the chances are higher that one will bite you, and the higher the chance that that particular mosquito might be infected.

Mosquito Control and Protection

Historically speaking, mosquito-borne diseases have detrimental not only a global level, but on a national one, too. In the United States the West Nile virus is currently the most common mosquito-borne illness. It was first reported in 1990, but by 2011, at about the same time that first mosquito was of legal drinking age, there were approximately 700 cases. In 2012 more than 5,600 cases of the virus were documented within the contiguous 48 states.

Many Americans are aware of the fact that mosquitoes prefer stagnant water as their breeding ground, and therefore take precautions to eliminate any standing water from their property. Given the forecasted increase in the mosquito population in the coming months and years, this is an increasingly important and effective method of population control. Another action that individuals can take to prevent the presence of mosquitoes around their home is to maintain the vegetation on the property. Adult mosquitoes often choose overgrown weeds, shrubs, and even grass as a resting spot. Keeping the vegetation growth under control can be an effective way of keeping mosquitoes away from your home and family.