HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Summer is great with the exception of the terrible humidity that plagues us every Summer. Aside from that Summer is fantastic. Warm nights allow for campfires and extra time outside. It all sounds perfect until you feel that prickle on your skin and quickly try and swat it away. Too late, you got bit by a mosquito.
Mosquito season is lasting longer. As the climate warms, mosquitoes can emerge earlier in the spring and survive longer in the fall. It is important to note that mosquitoes don't like it when the weather is too hot. That helps us in the south, but the help comes at the cost of rising temperatures on average.
According to studies from the National Institutes of Health, mosquitoes survive best at temperatures between 50-95°F and a relative humidity of 42% or more. With a warming climate these conditions can persist more through the year.
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Climate Central counted these “mosquito days” each year for 239 locations in the contiguous United States. They found that 64% of sites recorded an increase from the 1980s to the 2010s which outnumbers the locations that have seen a decrease in Mosquito days 2 to 1.
Locally from the 1980s and the 2010s the Tennessee Valley has seen an 11 day increase in the number of mosquito days. Again a lot of the blame is placed on the fact that our climate is generally warming.
With longer mosquito seasons, the risk goes up for mosquito-borne diseases. These diseases are limited in the U.S., but West Nile virus has reached nearly every state and is projected to spread with climate change. Annual disease cases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have more than doubled since 2004.