Every summer we deal with pesky mosquitoes but this year, Maryland could be looking at levels that are three to four times higher than normal.
“Mosquitoes lay their eggs in areas that are prone to flooding but when the flooding happens that's when the eggs hatch, so if we don’t get a big flooding event for four or five years, that’s four or five years’ worth of eggs that are going to hatch all at once,” said Brian Prendergast, program manager for mosquito control at the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
And because of the heavy rains in May, this summer is shaping up to be a landmark year for mosquitoes. Prendergast said none of the state was spared.
Through its mosquito control program, the state sprays 16 counties and has been spreading more larvae pesticides than usual, but targeting has become exasperating.
“Because these things breed in containers and the containers are so spread out, there’s very little that we can do about it at the Maryland Department of Agriculture,” Prendergast said.
And the number one breeding ground they've seen is in your child's toys left in the backyard.
Eileen Weckesser, owner of Mosquito Joe of Southern MD, said the size of a water bottle cap can breed about 300 mosquitoes. She’s also been receiving a large number of requests for service from her customers.
“They can’t get from their car to the front door without getting eaten alive, and so they’ve pretty much had it,” said Weckesser.
The treatments last around three weeks and can help with 35 other insects.
If you're looking to go bug-free without spending any money, the best thing you can do is a full sweep of your property.
“Look at the saucers under the plant, look at kid’s toys out in the yard, wheelbarrows, things such as that, an old tire swing, all of these places are where water can gather and that’s where mosquitoes can be breeding,” Weckesser said.
Aside from the discomfort that comes with bites, there's also risk of disease.
So far, there haven't been any reports of disease-carrying mosquitoes in Maryland but there's still time, mosquito season runs through October.
“So, we can’t say that this increased population is going to lead to an increased likelihood of human disease and we also can’t say that it’s less likely,” said Prendergast.
For more information on the state’s mosquito control program, click here.
Prendergast and Weckesser said their spraying does not affect bee populations. Click on the video below to hear their explanations.