Dallas-Fort Worth area will see more mosquitoes because of rains

Mosquitoes are already out in full force in North Texas, but with the latest round of thunderstorms, more of the pesky insects are on the way.

"We should all look for a flush of mosquitoes over the next couple of weeks," said Dr. Michael Merchant, an urban entomologist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas.

Heavy rains produce the floodwaters and standing water that mosquitoes love to breed in, said Dr. Mark Johnsen, extension specialist in the Agricultural and Environmental Safety Unit at Texas A&M University.

Floodwater mosquitoes lay eggs in the soil in areas prone to flooding, and when it rains, the eggs come to the surface and hatch in about two weeks.

"It's like instant coffee," Johnsen said.

Floodwater mosquitoes are mostly an irritation, he said.

The standing-water mosquitoes are more dangerous because they are more likely to carry diseases like West Nile virus and encephalitis.

They lay their eggs on the surface in stagnant water.

"The nastier the water, the better," Johnsen said.

They prefer standing water because it is not home to predators that will eat their larvae.

These mosquitoes are more widespread than their "floodwater" brethren in the Fort Worth area, said Ken Johnson, a Tarrant County extension agent.

Three people died last year in Tarrant County of West Nile-associated causes.

Mosquito bites can also be life-threatening for pets because the insects can carry tiny roundworm larvae, according the American Heartworm Society's website.

HILARY COLLINS, 817-390-7416

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