No Irma, but Rain and Mosquitoes Likely

— Written By
Asian mosquito biting a person's finger

Asian tiger mosquito (Image courtesy of James Gathany, CDC)

Hurricane Irma’s decision to head west is certainly good news for North Carolina. However, sections of the western and central areas in the state will experience rain and possible flooding in the next two days. Those same areas will also experience a spike in mosquito activity in about 10-14 days (depending on temperature).
Last week, Dr. David Tarpy posted advice about protecting beehives from damage during hurricanes including being aware of any organized mosquito spray programs. Those programs are typically based on assessing the need to treat including the threat of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and LaCrosse Encephalitis. As noted in the post, these programs also make an effort to at least address potential issues with beekeepers that register their hives. What may be a problem particularly for beekeeping hobbyists with a few hives in their backyard will be the number of people that use commercial mosquito and pest control services or use to “do-it-yourself” approach to treating their property and are may not be aware of what’s on neighboring properties or they may be timing their applications when honey bees and other pollinators are activity visiting flowers. This is a good time to remind our audiences about the importance of being pro-active:

  • Wherever possible, eliminate mosquito breeding sites, particularly those objects in our yard that collect and hold stormwater for days-weeks.
  • Before spraying your yard (or having your yard treated professionally), communicate  with your neighbors. Let them know what you’re about to do in case they need to close windows (particularly important if power is lost during a storm), or move children and/or pets from areas near where you will be treating.
  • Be aware of what’s planted where you’re treating, particularly if it’s a vegetable or herb garden. Many of the common insecticides used for mosquito control are not approved for application to edible plants.

We can reduce mosquito populations by using an integrated pest management approach and reducing our “chemical footprint” in the process. For more information about mosquito IPM, check out https://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/mosquito-control-around-homes-and-in-communities/

Also, if you haven’t taken the less-than-subtle hint that registering your hives is a smart idea, I would reiterate David’s point that communication is difficult if you don’t communicate. You can register your beehives at https://nc.driftwatch.org/signup#beekeeper

Written By

Photo of Michael Waldvogel, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Michael WaldvogelExtension Specialist (Household & Structural Entomology) (919) 515-8881 mike_waldvogel@ncsu.eduEntomology & Plant Pathology - NC State University
Updated on Sep 11, 2017
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