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Climate Matters: More Mosquito Days in Mid-MO

Spring has sprung ahead of schedule this year with warmer and wetter conditions moving in quick. This isn't a new trend, as spring has been pushing earlier every year, and this brings lots of shifts to the environment. In previous Climate Matters, we've looked at how shorter winters lead to changes in crop season and allergens, and this also has impacts on bugs.

Ultimately climate change is working against bug populations due to their sensitive position in the environment though a warmer planet could be more habitable overall for some bugs. As more of the year is seeing milder temperatures this opens a longer window for mosquitos to thrive.

Bugs need moisture as well but the warmer air already aids in this issue; air can hold more moisture as it warms, about a 4% increase in humidity per degree of temperature. Mosquitos need a benchmark of 40% humidity and above 50 degrees to flourish which is becoming an easier threshold to reach. We have seen an additional 9 days habitable for mosquitoes in Columbia, 22 more in Jefferson City over the last half century!

As we have already seen conditions habitable for bugs this season it's important to keep some easy tips in mind to stay protected from bug bites. Wearing longer sleeves can protect more of your skin while a good repellant is always great. Make sure there is no standing water around your home such as in buckets as this can attract mosquitoes. About a dozen species of mosquitoes can carry diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease so it's important to stay protected in the warmer seasons.

Article Topic Follows: Insider Blog

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Nate Splater

Nate forecasts on the weekend edition of ABC 17 News This Morning on KMIZ and FOX 22, KQFX.


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