Looking for another reason to curse the heat wave? Look no farther than the mosquitoes buzzing around your head–at least if you live in South Jersey.
Unlike the variety of mosquitoes that live in bird baths or storm drains, so-called “permanent water” mosquitoes, the life cycles of many of the mosquitoes in the southern part of the Garden State thrive on periods of hot, dry weather followed by floods.
Bob Kent, with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s office of mosquito control, said salt marsh mosquitoes are the number one variety in the region. One female can lay 200-300 eggs.
“She’ll do that on the moist surfaces of the marsh and then the heat will dry those eggs down, that conditions them to hatch,” Kent said. “If they stayed wet all the time they would not hatch.”
When more of the marsh dries up in prolonged periods of hot, dry weather? More mosquitoes.
“The heat has dried back so much more of the marsh than ordinarily would be dry, there’s that much more acreage that’s lending an opportunity for these eggs to be laid and developed,” Kent said.
Adding to the scourge, the development cycle of mosquitoes, gnats and stink bugs speed up when it is hot out. That means more generations of the pests each summer.
Penn State urban entomologist Steve Jacobs said this summer will likely be hot enough for two generations of the brown marmorated stink bug to hatch and mature, rather than just one. Once nymphs are hatched, they go through five different periods of shedding of the exoskeleton and growing before they are mature.
“When its warm, the time between those nymphal stages is shortened,” Jacobs said. “They grow faster.”
There are plenty of insects that do not thrive in the heat. Many try to avoid it, and some die off if the mercury rises to high.
“One other arthropod that probably won’t be doing so well is what most people call the deer tick,” Jacobs said. “Deer ticks won’t do well in this kind of weather, they desiccate or dry up real easily so we’ll probably see less of those.”
The deer tick, properly called the blacklegged tick, can carry Lyme disease.