Where did all these darn skeeters come from?
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
Over the Labor Day weekend, southern Michigan experienced a large hatch of small aggressive mosquitoes and boy, do they bite! Dr. Ned Walker, MSU Mosquito Guy, told me they were Aedes trivittatus, a floodwater mosquito that was brought about by our recent rains. These pesky little buggers are characterized by their small size and by the presence of two white stripes running down the top of the thorax. Ae. trivittatus larvae can be found in a variety of freshwater habitats including flooded woodlands, marshes, open pools and woodland pools and in small pools associated with wooded streams. This species occurs throughout the area east of the Rocky Mountains.
The reason for their sudden appearance is their rapid development rate. Ae. trivittatus skeeters develop very fast in the hot summer sun. When daytime temperatures of 80's and 90's are accompanied by warm nights, the larvae can proceed from hatching to adulthood in as little as five days. And that’s fast, folks, even by bug standards.
Workers in New Jersey report that Ae. trivittatus has emerged over the past several years as the primary nuisance mosquito species and generates more complaints than any other kind of mosquito in that state. Ae. trivittatus are persistent, determined and aggressive biters often attacking the victim in a swarm-like manner. To most, the bite is much more painful and irritating than that of other mosquitoes. They do not hesitate to bite in bright sun, shade, open areas or inside structures. I can attest to this: I have clouds of them around my place. While some mosquitoes kind of flirt around hoping to catch their victim off guard, Ae. trivittatus does not fool around and goes right for it. Ae. trivittatus is an important vector of dog heartworm parasites in our area. What a charming little bug!