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Bug Season - This one is gonna be GNARLY

Spring and Winter brought us a lot of warmer weather and moisture this year. While this is  great for curing drought conditions, it brought a lot of flooding, will cause greater wildfire conditions late Summer and early Autumn and is about to cause a boom in the bug population.

Warmer Winters mean more insects, eggs, and larvae survive to pester us in the Spring.  More moisture means food for plant-eating insects, and breeding grounds for water-breeding insects. This is great for all the benefits we get from bugs, but not so much for annoying and sometimes dangerous bites and stings.

All those stagnant pools of water should mean enough mosquitoes to keep us firmly indoors, or at least coated in DEET, as we're all still concerned about Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases...

Insect repellents can help reduce exposure to mosquitoes that may transmit disease such as West Nile virus and EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis). These diseases can cause serious illness and even death. Using insect repellent allows you to continue to play and work outdoors with a reduced risk of mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control has additional information available. and these articles are helpful, too.

~     When do you apply insect repellent?
~     Good Morning America Features Natrapel
~     General Care of Bites and Stings
~     Ben’s Outdoor – with DEET
~     Mosquito Control: You Have Options
~     What is “Continuous Spray”?
~     After Bite Sting Relief Products – The Buzz Behind the Bee

insectrepellents-animatedAccording to Popular Science, more adult mosquitoes live through a warm winter, and more of their larvae survive as well. And since mosquitoes breed in standing water, a wet spring gives them plenty of romantic enclaves to keep the population boom going. Moreover, warm weather speeds up a mosquito’s reproductive lifecycle—she can lay more eggs and have them hatch more quickly. If this is making you itchy, it should.

The National Pest Management Association recently released its "bug barometer", and the predictions are lousy. This spring and summer, most of the continental United States (apart from the Pacific Northwest) will experience an uptick in insect numbers. In most regions, mosquitoes and ticks will emerge earlier and in greater numbers than usual. The southwest doesn’t have to deal with earlier mosquitoes, according to the barometer, but it gets to share in the nation’s bitter, buggy bounty: once the insects do emerge, they'll be more prolific than usual.

2018 Spring Bug Barometer After a somewhat mild winter experienced across much of the country, Americans can collectively expect a very buggy spring and summer. See below for the official spring Bug Barometer, which details what Americans can expect in terms of pests in each region of the country based on past and current weather patterns.

Ticks, which carry Lyme disease, are also a concern in much of the northeast. The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease, can harm the joints, heart, and even the nervous system if left unchecked.

Coast to Coast, Americans need to think about protection against insects. From Washington's top news warning that  bug populations are expected to be larger this spring, the warm weather is likely to bring them out sooner ("I would expect to see earlier mosquito activity than we do in the so-called normal year, so I think the biters are just around the corner, too") to the San Diego Union-Tribune advising that as a precaution, the county government’s vector-control crews are already dosing large bodies of standing water with larvicide pellets that can keep mosquito larvae from becoming droves of the blood-sucking insects - we KNOW what's gonna be buggin' you this year!

“Because of the rain we’ve had, there is an abundance of food out there. Insects are famously reproductive; they lay a ton of eggs, so if there is food available, they will get to work,” said Michael Wall, curator of entomology at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

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