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June 19, 2009

Weekend showers, a break, then mosquitoes

Perhaps the universe is taking pity on us. We face more chances for showers and thunderstorms through the weekend - and especially Friday night. But the forecast out of Sterling this morning calls for skies to CLEAR by Monday and stay that way, at least through Thursday of next week.

Temperatures, meanwhile, will approach 80 today, and stay in the quite-seasonable 80s for the next week at least, heating up to the upper 80s as the week progresses.

On the other hand, maybe the universe is perverse and cruel. Along with the warmer, drier weather will come mosquitoes. LOTS of them, according to University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp.

Mosquito BaltimoreRaupp tells me that the rainy weather - 19 inches in two-and-a-half months - has provided abundant breeding territory in standing water across the region, and mosquito populations are very high. All it will take now, he says, is for the rain to stop for a time, and the weather to warm up and send the little buggers off searching for a blood meal. It's going to be awful.

Mike Cantwell, chief of Maryland's Mosquito Control Division agrees. He says the saltmarsh and culex populations he's already seeing on the Eastern Shore, and even in Central Maryland, are bigger than any in decades. Landing rates - the number of skeeters that land on Cantwell's crews' arms in an hour - are in double digits, some over 90 per hour.

I peered into the flower pot trays on our patio last weekend and saw more wriggling mosquito larvae than I have ever seen, so I believe him. And while mosquitoes find me unappealing (can't remember the last time I was bitten), they love my wife (and so do I). So I dumped the water from the trays, and will continue to monitor them for new larvae.

It takes no more water than a bottle cap for mosquitoes to get their start in your back yard. So take some time to search out any potential containers, dump them out, turn them over or get rid of them. And get your neighbors to do the same, or your efforts will be in vain.

Mosquitoes already eating you alive? Leave a comment and tell us what your're experiencing, where you are and when they're biting.

Remember, the Asian tiger mosquito, an invasive species introduced to the U.S. in the 1980s, has become the prime mosquito pest in urban parts of the Baltimore region. It is well-adapted to the human environment and is a persistent daytime biter. So while we can stay indoors morning and evening when other species bite, it's harder to avoid being outdoors, in the yard, during the day. They are miserable pests. 

(SUN PHOTO/Nanine Hartzenbusch 2001)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:36 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Forecasts


I was eaten alive by mosquitoes last Friday night at a neighbor's house in NE Baltimore City. Then I was eaten alive last Saturday night on the Eastern Shore (Talbot County to be exact).

I also have a question about rain totals. Do rain totals and snow totals equate? Would a rainstorm that drops an inch of rain in June have dropped an inch of snow in January? It seems like it takes a lot more rain to get to an inch whereas a brief snow burst can leave 1 to 3 inches.

FR: It depends on the water content of the snow. Some snow is wet and heavy, some is dry and light. But the rule of thumb is that 10 inches of snow contains the equivalent water of an inch of rain.

I live in Harford County, about a mile from the Bush River. The mosquitoes have been terrible so far this year. Twenty minutes in the garden during the evening will get me a nice collection of bites if I don't put on long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Unfortunately, clothing hasn't solved all my problems. I recently had a mos. bite on my face.

I never seem to know when they are biting me. I never notice until the next day when they start to itch.

My girlfriend and I were each bitten five or more time within thirty minutes last night (6/18) on a rooftop deck in Butchers Hill. It was probably an hour or more after sunset. We were surpised that they would be so far off the ground until we realized that there was probably a lot of standing water on the nearby roofs and gutters.

I hate to burst your mosquito netting, but you are getting just aren't allergic to the mosquito’s bite. Let me explain; all blood feeding insects fees by injecting their mouth parts through our skin and then flowing their saliva into us before they begin to suck. Their saliva contains an anti-coagulant that prevents the blood from clotting and allowing a free flowing meal. Appox 85-90% of humans are allergic to this anti-coagulant leaving a lucky 10-15% of humans who claim "they never bother me", which is only true in that they are not bothered, but they are bitten! This is true for mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, and several other blood feeders. So before you decide not to take your malaria pills the next time you travel to the equatorial regions, just remember they are still feeding on you.

Drew Lenear
Branch Manager Terminix #2317

FR: I'd never heard that before. Nice to know I'm wanted. Even nicer not to itch.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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