Frost Warning Tonight: Will it Kill Off Those EEE Mosquitos?
Parts of Michigan are about to get its first frost of the fall. The National Weather Service issued a Freeze Warning for Thursday, October 15th, until 9 am Friday, and there’s a good chance of frost again on Friday night into Saturday.
Temps are expected to drop to between 28 and 32 degrees in parts of central, south-central, and West Michigan.
That means gardeners should probably get out there to harvest the last of the green peppers and basil. But will it kill off those pesky, and arguably sinister, mosquitos? Probably not.
Professor Ned Walker, an entomologist from Michigan State University said mosquitoes can't fly below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and wait for the temperatures to warm up before venturing out again. “Any night in the fall when you can hear crickets chirping and katydids making their sounds is nice enough so the EEE carrying mosquitoes can fly”, said Professor Walker.
But he says they can shelter from the cold and remain a threat. He says our best hope is that the mosquitos just get old and die.
“It isn't the first ‘frost’ or even ‘hard frost’, but rather the slow and gradual die-off of the late-season adult mosquitoes. Any evening/night when it is above 50 they can come back out and bite someone, or something.”
It’s the second straight year that Michigan has had to deal with the threat, which kills a third of all humans to contract the deadly EEE after being bitten by a mosquito. Last year, Michigan had a quarter of all EEE cases in the U.S.
“EEE is a very serious problem for both human health and agriculture that was previously very rare in Michigan,” Walker said. “With changing climate patterns, however, including warmer and wetter weather, we’re seeing ideal conditions for mosquitoes to thrive in recent years.”
And Walker says high water tables and the warm fall aren’t helping in the battle against the insects.
Walker recently received a $100,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine insecticide-treated resting stations that kill mosquitoes carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis.