UW Oshkosh Entomologist Talks Mosquitoes

A booming mosquito population has become a serious pest for most people who have walked outside around the Fox Valley this month. A common question is being asked – about when they will go away. UW-Oshkosh biology professor and entomologist Rob Mitchell says to be as patient as you can, because it will happen soon enough. 

He tells us “the mosquitoes themselves can be around for several weeks. They have relatively long life spans. The temperature is probably going to take them out before they die off – is at least the idea. If it can ever get below seventy to eighty degrees around here, once it gets a little closer to fifty, we might start to see those mosquitoes start to disappear. Some of them will die, some will go into hibernation.”

Mitchell believes “the most obvious cause of this is the heavy rains that we had a short while ago. It was a lot more rainfall than is usual for this time of year, and then it was followed by temperature that were a lot warmer than we expect for this time of year. And so the combination of those two things is probably the cause of the mosquito outbreak.”

 Mitchell explains that the mosquitoes are going to be difficult to avoid, because “they’re attracted to carbon
dioxide, and if there’s so many of them, then DEET might knock back a lot. But
with this many around you could still easily get bites, even if you’re
following proper DEET application. It’s tough.” 

He also mentions that there are some ways to minimize their impact, but “there’s not a lot that you can really do when there’s this many
mosquitoes out there. The adults are out there laying eggs, so you can try to
reduce habitat for the adults to make sure that next year there’s a fewer
number. The usual recommendation is to look around your property, make sure
especially that you don’t have any tire piles or anything like that – but
nothing that can accumulate stagnant water, you’re gutters are cleaned out.”