Campus News

Early warm weather may mean earlier mosquito, tick problems

This year’s exceptionally warm winter and the early spring temperatures mean Georgians may be dealing with warm weather pests, like ticks and mosquitoes, earlier than usual.

“Because of the early warm weather and the very mild winter, these populations will advance sooner,” said Elmer Gray, a public health entomologist with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “But, as we get into the summer that will kind of level out, and the insect populations will be affected by humidity and other limiting factors. . . (The weather) will give them a head start.”

Georgia entomologists already have seen mosquitoes emerging in some parts of the state, and they also have reported a sighting of a Lone Star tick, an arthropod that usually doesn’t become prolific until after Easter.

Gray, who studies the public health impact of mosquitoes, recommends that homeowners trim overgrown lawns and clear foliage away from walking trails and other areas that families use frequently.

This is also the time to check your yard for containers that are holding standing water. Old tires and planters provide perfect breeding spots for mosquitoes.

Animal owners should prepare by making sure horses are up-to-date on equine encephalitis vaccines and dogs are current on their preventative heartworm medication.