Standing water is a magnet for mosquitoes

Standing water, like this in Ridge Ferry Park, is a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. Extension Agent Keith Mickler said this could be a big year for the insects given all the rain over the winter. / Doug Walker

With incredible amounts of rain comes incredible pools of standing water. You may not want to know what comes with incredible pools of standing water. Mosquitoes. Lots and lots and lots of mosquitoes.

Floyd County Extension Agent Keith Mickler said Friday the standing water from river overflows and the ponding effect of continuous rain in low lying areas has created a massive breeding ground for mosquitoes like Rome hasn’t seen in years.

The bad news is that the anticipated extreme cold in the forecast early next week is not likely to kill off any of the mosquitoes that have already hatched out.

“Let’s see, what is the temperature, it’s 63 degrees,” Mickler said at about 12:30 Friday afternoon. “Mosquitoes are active at 63 degrees and it’s been kind of warm, so the adults have come out of hibernation, laid their eggs and seven days later, boom, we’ve got mosquitoes feeding on you. The wetter it is the worse it’s going to be.”

Actually the mosquito breeding cycle varies by species, and some can take as long as two weeks. In Georgia, there are primarily three different species of mosquito, the Aedes, the Culex and the Anopheles. The Aedes carry a number of different diseases, including yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya. The Culex mosquito is known as a primary carrier of West Nile. The Anopheles is known as a carrier of parasites that cause malaria.

The extension agent said it is possible that a hard freeze could kill off some of the larvae that are still in water that freezes next week, but eggs that have not hatched could be frozen and survive until the thaw occurs.

Mickler said it is critical to dump out any kind of containers around the home on a frequent basis. Everything from dog or cat food bowls to bird baths, flower pots, anything that can hold water. Mickler and experts at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta suggest dumping anything that holds water at least once a week. Any puddle that lasts for more than three days can act as a host for mosquito eggs.

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