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Number of mosquito days continues to grow in the Quad Cities

More mosquito days means more opportunities for bites and disease. Here's why we are seeing the increased activity.

MOLINE, Ill. — An annual right of summer will be quickly returning to the Quad Cities, mosquitoes! The annoying, flying insects will be biting in no time, interrupting picnics and other outdoor activities. Many have wondered if this activity is on the rise. Let's dig in!

The folks at Climate Central, a nonprofit and non-partisan research group have put together some fascinating statistics regarding the change in mosquito activity here in the Quad Cities since the 1970s. There is some solid evidence that climate change is impacting the number of mosquito days, with the Quad Cities seeing on average 11 more days with favorable mosquito conditions compared to the late 1970s. 

Credit: Climatecentral.org

Factors that determine the number of active mosquito days

Mosquito activity is actively influenced by a number of factors, many of which have indeed changed here in our region. 

Temperature: The seasonal activity of mosquitoes is largely controlled by temperature, especially overnight temperatures. The warmer these conditions are, the more mosquito activity you can expect. Data has shown that the average low temperature in the Quad Cities during the summer season has increased by nearly two degrees in the last 50 years, supplying more time for these insects to remain active.  

Credit: Climatecentral.org

Humidity: Warmer temperatures cause more moisture to evaporate into the air, keeping humidity levels higher and supporting more mosquito activity. Warmer air can also hold more water vapor as well. 

Rainfall: Standing water from heavy rainfall and flooding provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

Drought: West Nile virus cases in the U.S. have been linked to drought, likely due to closer contact between birds and mosquitoes that are around smaller areas of water sources. 

The West Nile Virus risk

Scientists project that the annual number of West Nile disease cases across the U.S. could double by the year 2050 from 1995 levels, according to a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency. The largest increases are projected to be in the South and Southeast. 

Credit: Climatecentral.org

If you are looking for a few creative ways to avoid the biting pests this summer, check out this throwback from 2019 when former News 8 reporter Madison Connor tested out some popular bug repellants during Good Morning Quad Cities. 

Have a question that you would like to submit for a future Ask Andrew segment? Submit it, here!

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