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After heavy rains, beware of rise of giant mosquitoes

Written by  Leilana McKindra- OSU Communications Specialist Agricultural Communications Services Wednesday, 03 May 2017 11:00
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 After recent heavy rain and snow across Oklahoma, floodwater mosquitoes may be on the rise. (Photo credit: R. Grantham, Oklahoma State University) After recent heavy rain and snow across Oklahoma, floodwater mosquitoes may be on the rise. (Photo credit: R. Grantham, Oklahoma State University)

 

 

 

STILLWATER, Okla. – A wave of dangerous storms that recently rolled through the state brought large amounts rain and snow and now may also have sparked a rise in the population of giant pests known as floodwater mosquitoes.


Common in Oklahoma, floodwater mosquitoes, sometimes called gallinippers, can grow up to six times larger than common mosquitoes.
While the disease potential is low with this particular species of mosquito, the nuisance factor is high, said Justin Talley, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock entomologist.


“Floodwater mosquitoes are associated with very painful bites. They are huge so people may begin to notice them if the weather warms up,” Talley said. “We’re not really concerned about the disease potential so much as having a lot of breeding material available to them, which in this case is water.”


Oklahoma often sees large populations of floodwater mosquitoes in May and June, especially after heavy rains.


Getting rid of as much standing water as possible around the property will help prevent mosquitoes from building up.


That means checking places that have the potential to hold water, such as bird baths, containers in gardens and even tree holes and making sure the water is draining.


If standing water is not draining from the property, then products are available that can be applied to the water. Known as insect growth regulators, they usually can be applied as a granular from a standard lawn fertilizer spreader.


“The main concern with standing water is the potential to serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Talley said. “For floodwater mosquitoes, it’s usually wooded habitats or roadside ditches where the water is not moving or slow-moving. If the water is moving, there’s really no mosquito development going on.”


Following some general precautions can reduce the chances of getting an unpleasant bite from a floodwater mosquito.


The pests are typically more active around sunset and in shady areas. They will bite humans, livestock and pets.


Especially while enjoying outdoor activities, wear long sleeves and long pants. Although floodwater mosquitoes are large enough to bite through clothing, some coverage can provide a first line of defense.


The most effective protection, however, comes from repellants containing at least 25 percent DEET.


Some natural products, such as lemon eucalyptus oil, also may work as repellants but have varying results.


Repellants with DEET should not be applied on children 3 years or younger and no repellent of any kind should be used on children 2 months or younger.

 



Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
405.744.6792
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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