Field of Science

Little female vampires are numerous this year

Whether working in the garden or just trying to enjoy a cocktail while watching the plants grow, has not been much fun because the population of mosquitoes has been off the charts.  This must be a good year for them or perhaps as they continue to expand their range northward, this is the new normal (very depressing).  In case you didn't know it's only the female mosquitoes that bite; they need the blood to get enough protein to lay eggs.  The males get by with plant sap.  And they are rather aggressive little beasts because these are the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, They are black with white markings and the linked page will provide some useful information.  TPP rather hates getting all sprayed up with DEET containing repellents, but this mosquito can carry all kinds of nasty diseases, so not a good idea to get bitten all the time, not that TPP hasn't gotten lots of bites anyways.  Both of us have type O blood that is apparently particularly tasty to mosquitoes and this species is also active by day.  A warming climate will allow this mosquito to continue its move to the north.  This definitely limits the appeal of being outside.  We keep containers that can collect rain water empty, but tree holes are a favorite and our gardens have plenty, and they are largely inaccessible.

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