Increasing days with mosquitoes linked to warming climate

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:56 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - When you think of summer, you may also think of mosquitoes. A recent study from Climate Central found Peoria is seeing 17 more so-called “mosquito” days a year.

Credit: Climate Central
Credit: Climate Central(25News Staff)

A Mosquito Day is defined as a day with an average relative humidity at or above 42 percent, and the daily low and high temperatures are between 50 and 95 degrees.

It's a day with an average relative humidity of 42% or higher, and the daily minimum and...
It's a day with an average relative humidity of 42% or higher, and the daily minimum and maximum temperatures are between 50 and 95 degrees, according to the Climate Central study.(25News Staff)

Trent Ford, IL state climatologist, said “So in general, when we have warmer summers, more humid summers, what it means is that it makes more conducive environment for certain types of mosquitoes to thrive.” But the relationship between climate and mosquitoes is complicated, because there are other variables besides summer temperatures that can affect mosquito breeding.

Ford added, ”A warmer winter should inherently mean higher survival chances for mosquitoes and perhaps more mosquito incidents in the following spring and summer, but if we have a warm winter with very little snowpack, no snow with some somewhat colder temperatures, even for a short period of time can actually increase mortality.”

With the potential for more mosquitoes or a longer mosquito season, there is growing concern for mosquito-borne diseases. Angie Crawford, Senior Environmental Health Practitioner for the McLean County Health Department, said, “In Illinois, one of the most commonly reported mosquito-borne illness is west Nile Virus.”

Most people with West Nile virus won’t experience symptoms, but the virus can be deadly. “According to the CDC, in the United States, there were about 1035 human cases of West Nile virus reported in 2022. And of those 79 confirmed West Nile virus deaths, Illinois last year reported up to four deaths from West Nile Virus,” added Crawford.

It’s important to know the signs of West Nile Virus in case you fall sick, and those over 50 are at the greatest risk to see severe symptoms. Crawford concluded, “So you want to watch for things like fever, headaches, body and joint aches. And if there are severe cases, they can result in coma, paralysis, and in some rare cases, even death.”

So to protective yourself, the McLean County Health Department suggest following “The Three Rs.”

McLean County Health Department
McLean County Health Department(25News Staff)