One of the major concerns for researchers around the world when COVID first appeared was that it could be spread by mosquitoes. Luckily, this was not the case. If it had been, the death toll could’ve been ten to a hundred times worse, leading to hundreds of millions of deaths. It’s a scary thought for sure, because mosquitoes are like pathogen-transmitting machines.
To make matters worse, this year, cities around the US are facing large mosquito infestations, and in some of these cities, the species responsible is the Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito. This species is the main culprit behind the transmission of diseases such as Zika, chikungunya, dengue and others. On top of that, the Aedes aegypti is different from other mosquito species – it does not come out only at dusk to feed. This species is active during the daytime.
This is a fairly new development. It is estimated that this species, hailing from the tropics, reached California in 2013, likely through a cargo ship. In the eight short years since then, the yellow fever mosquito population has exploded in the state. So why did it take so long for them to infest California? Surely they have been traveling in cargo ships since cargo ships started carrying goods from the tropics to North America. Well, researchers believe that this development is due to climate change. In the past, winters were cool and long enough to challenge the survival of these mosquitoes. Now, with rising temperatures, and human-driven availability of water throughout the state, these mosquitoes can live comfortably in California.
So what we have on our hands is the perfect storm. Our world is more vulnerable than ever to global pandemics thanks to the widespread availability of rapid human travel over long distances. You then add global warming on top of that, which creates new environmental conditions for extremely dangerous invasive species of mosquitoes and you have a recipe for disaster.
We’ve also seen a Zika outbreak in Florida in 2016, in and around Miami. Luckily, the mosquito cannot spread COVID, but let’s say one person afflicted with the dengue virus travels to a state that has a yellow fever mosquito population. Soon enough you may have a dengue hotspot in that state.
For now, most mosquito infestations are relatively harmless. Still, it’s good to get mosquito infestations under control. Contact us today if you have a mosquito infestation on your property.