AUSTIN (KXAN) — The combination of wet weather and above average temperatures have made for a breeding frenzy. Not only for early blooming wildflowers, but also for a certain type of mosquito, the “tiger mosquito.”
The Asian Tiger mosquito, also known as “aedes albopictus,” typically starts to pop up in Texas right around April, then they stick around through the end of the summer. However, entomologists, or bug experts, have noticed this particular breed of insect popping up around town since early March, which is a bit early for the species.
Todd Jackson is an environmental scientist with the City of Austin Watershed Protection department. He says, “As somebody who’s out conducting field work, I started being bitten by Tiger mosquitoes on March 9… so it was about a month earlier than we’re used to seeing Asian Tiger mosquitoes in Texas.”
As expected, our warmer than normal weather has a lot to with this early arrival of this mosquito in Central Texas. “This year, not a lot of hard freezes, so more of them survived,” says Jackson. “It became warm earlier, which is great for them.”
Local jogger Miren Elorduy also noticed an increase in mosquitoes and mosquito bites over the last month. She enjoys hitting the hike and bike trail along Lady Bird Lake, at least 3 to 4 times a week. She’s been having to cover herself in extra mosquito repellent lately.
“I want to say maybe like a week or two ago when it was raining and it was really humid, two or three days after the storm came by it was pretty bad with the mosquitoes,” Elorduy tells KXAN.
Unfortunately, they’re not our only problem. Jackson says more than 80 various species of mosquito call Texas home, 10 of which are of concern when it comes to potentially carrying viruses. As if that’s not enough, Jackson says they really only need just a tablespoon of water to complete their life cycle.
All they need is a small, temporary wet spot to be uninterrupted for 8 to 10 days, which is why eradicating the issue and removing standing water around your home is key in reducing the number of bites you get this spring.