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Does more rain mean more mosquitoes? No, but San Diego may get 'buggy' this spring

Posted at 3:47 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 18:51:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County has been battered by storms this winter, showering the county for a bright and beautiful spring.

But with that comes the possibility of more little creatures living off all that glorious foliage. So can San Diegans expect more mosquitoes buzzing around this season? Simple answer: Maybe.

While it's possible the county could see more mosquitoes in the spring, more rain doesn't guarantee it, Jessica Northrup, from the county's Land Use and Environment Group, says.

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"... When it comes to mosquitoes, you have to wait and see if more rain equals more bugs. That is because increased rainfall can create more—or fewer—places for mosquitoes to lay eggs and breed. Places where water may have been stagnant could be flowing and mosquitoes don’t breed in flowing water," Northrup said.

That's why the county urges residents to dump out standing water that may have collected due to recent rains.

That message was amplified Friday, as the county reported the first sign of summer as a dead hawk in Lakeside tested positive for West Nile virus. While officials said the infection appeared to be an old one, it served as a reminder that the virus is established in the county.

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Bringing the message back to the start: While more water doesn't equal more mosquitoes, residents are cautioned to take action where they can.

"On the other hand, places that otherwise would not be holding water in dry years could be holding water now," Northrup said. "It is important that residents dump out standing water that has collected during the rain to prevent mosquito breeding."

Chris Conlan, supervising vector ecologist with the County of San Diego, says the same rains that have led to a recent boom in butterflies around the county could not only mean more mosquitoes, but also gnats, ticks, beetles, and "mosquito hawks," which are not mosquitoes but look strikingly similar.

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" ...You have have to shift your strategy and adapt to where the mosquitoes are growing," Conlan said in a release. "Things are going to get a bit more buggy as we get into the spring."

Residents can learn more about how to prevent mosquito breeding, report issues, and how to protect themselves on the county's "Fight the Bite!" website.