Mosquitos in a changing world.
Jun 2, 2019 at 6:47 am #3595862David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>I’ve only lived in Alaska for 22 years, but talking to homestead kids who have been here since the 1940s and 1950s, it seems to all of us that we have more variability in bugs year to year.</p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>There was one wicked nasty year, 2013 +/- that was apparently the second worst in 75 years while two other years recently were fabulously benign (I recall we had multiple deep freezes swinging to deep thaws those years. I theorize that while you can clearly freeze a mosquito larva/egg, you can’t do it repeatedly).</p>
At this point, I’m rating Summer 2019 as worse than average. After I stepped out to grill the steak, my dog bumped the door open, so this how I set the table (that is NOT a tennis racket).
Has anyone else noticed more variability in wildlife sightings? We’re getting unprecedented numbers of dead whales washing up on shore in the last month.Jun 2, 2019 at 5:15 pm #3595907
I agree, mosquitos populations are above average. Luckily, there was a nice breeze yesterday that kept the little critters at bay while sitting by the campfire.
Sad to hear about the whales :-(
I’ve noticed an increase in ferral cats close to my place. I think they were responsible for gaining access into my test FunkSack. After 2 days testing, the Sack was broken into and all 6 cans of cat food were consumed.Jun 2, 2019 at 8:37 pm #3595930Gary DunckelBPL Member
I attended a presentation last week on what’s currently going on with ticks. It turns out that there are significantly higher numbers these last several years, both here in Colorado and nationally. She blamed global warming, which has resulted in less sub-zero conditions in the high country, as well down here at ~5000′ . This happened a few years back when we ‘enjoyed’ a severe pine beetle onslaught that wiped out a huge number of lodgepole pines in CO. Anyway, this might explain why I’ve had tick bites at my favorite truck camping site each of the past 3 years, but none at all during the prior 20 years.
Mosquitoes – we’ll have to see how that goes here this summer.Jun 2, 2019 at 9:21 pm #3595937Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I’ve had maybe 6 imbedded ticks in the last several years
Maybe 1 in several decades beforeJun 2, 2019 at 11:24 pm #3595958
All we need to do is come up with a pill!Jun 3, 2019 at 12:51 am #3595971Tom KBPL Member
There are ominous indicators across the board. Species of fish normally found off California and southward are showing up off the Washington coast, pine beetles are being found at higher altitudes in the North Cascades, threatening conifers never before exposed to them, Mt Baker’s massive Coleman Glacier has dropped almost 100 feet below its former level on Heliotrope Ridge in a matter of 28 years, all species of salmon are returning to their native streams in alarmingly decreasing numbers. Frankly, other than as a possible indicator species, mosquitoes are the least of my worries. We can continue to bury our heads in the sand and foreclose on any possible attempts at mitigation of some very fundamental changes going on in our global environmental systems, or face a future that may well render life as we know it increasingly difficult to maintain. Personally, and in the opinion of some very well grounded scientists whom I have indirect access to, we are already dead men walking. Sad. If ever there was a species that had it made, it was us. And if ever there was a country that was even more privileged, it was us. Yeah, sad.Jun 3, 2019 at 3:18 am #3595988Randy MartinBPL Member
If there is an increase in tick and mosquito populations, Do you think it is only a matter of time before there natural predators (Bats, Birds, Possums (tick eater)) will increase to combat that?Jun 3, 2019 at 4:14 pm #3596045Todd StoughBPL Member
Randy there should be. The problem we have out east is loss of habitat for the predators. I will say mosquitos are always a problem and I don’t notice it being any worse. Ticks are out of control, I feel we need to introduce predators, possibly guinea fowl, to help combat them. An annual stocking program like ring neck phesants.Jun 3, 2019 at 6:20 pm #3596057Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I read that an issue is that there are isolated forest areas that breed mice but not big enough habitat for mice predators. So population of mice increases. That leads to an increased population of ticks.Jun 3, 2019 at 7:28 pm #3596064
We could introduce wild tocs to combat the tics….then it would only be a matter or time before balance was restored.
you’re welcome, science.Jun 3, 2019 at 7:40 pm #3596065
introduce mice/rats and then the bubonic plague.Jun 3, 2019 at 8:11 pm #3596070
global warming does increase the likelihood of new easily transmitted diseases for which we have no cure spreading worldwide.
that’s not a joke.Jun 3, 2019 at 8:33 pm #3596074Gary DunckelBPL Member
I recently read a book about an amazing archaeological discovery of an ancient city in a remote jungle of Honduras. The title was Lost City of the Monkey God, and it’s a true story. The scientists borrowed an aerial LIDAR scanning device from the U.S. military to ascertain the presence of the fabulous legendary “White City.” The team studied the LIDAR images, and they went back a year later to study the area on the ground. The findings were astounding. But after their 6-week expedition most all of the scientists, support people, and their Honduran military guards came down with a disease called leishmaniasis, which is mainly found in remote parts of poverty-ridden tropical countries. It can be quite deadly, mainly due to the fact that the major drug companies can’t sell the treatment medicines. Sub-Sahara Africans have little money to pay for the cure. The culprit organism (a flagellate protozoa) is carried by sand fleas, which will infect any animal they bite. The infected personnel struggled greatly with the disease, but the CDC took them on as a research case, and most of them eventually survived.
At the end of the book the author mentioned that global warming has allowed the sand flea to migrate northward, and they are finding their way to places like Houston and New Orleans. Hopefully Big Pharma is gearing up for the inevitable sand flea invasion. This will make mosquitoes seem like child’s play.Jun 3, 2019 at 10:12 pm #3596085David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Wildlife Refuge personnel have studied (lots of things including) spruce bark beetle epidemics. Prior to this century, the epidemics occurred every 150 or so years when the number of large spruce trees (with thicker cambium layers) were sufficient to allow exponential population growth. Then (as we arrived here 21 years ago), the beetles were able to multiple and spread only 80 years after the last epidemic because warmer summers allowed two instead of only one generation of beetles and the trees were more water-stressed in warmer weather and sap is one of their main defenses.
Now, only 20 years later, we’re in another round which is killing off many of the spruce trees that survived the last die-off. I haven’t seen research on it, but I suspect it’s happening now because we’re not getting the sub-zero winters we used to and so more of the beetles survive till spring.Jun 3, 2019 at 10:22 pm #3596086
In the Midwest, the Emerald Ash Borer has been devestating our Ash trees.
<h2 class=””>What is it?</h2>
Originally from Asia, the emerald ash borer (EAB) was first discovered in the Detroit area in 2002. It is believed to have entered the country on wooden packing materials from China. The bright metallic-green beetle may be smaller than a dime, but it is capable of taking down ash trees thousands of times its size. Adults are typically ½ inch long and ⅛ inch wide. Eggs are extremely small—approximately 1/25 inch—and are reddish-brown in color. Larvae are white, flat-headed borers with distinct segmentation.
Adults usually emerge in mid- to late-May from infestations to the trees during the previous year (earlier if the weather is warm), with females laying their eggs shortly after. The larvae bore into the ash tree and feed under the bark, leaving tracks visible underneath. The feeding disrupts the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, resulting in dieback and bark splitting.
<h2 class=””>What is the threat?</h2>
Ash trees are one of the most valuable and abundant North American woodland trees: estimates of total number of ash trees in the United States alone range between seven and nine billion. The emerald ash borer has destroyed 40 million ash trees in Michigan alone and tens of millions throughout other states and Canada. Small trees can die as soon as one to two years after infestation, while larger infested trees can survive for three to four years. Heavy infestations of larval borers speed up the devastation of formerly healthy trees.Jun 4, 2019 at 12:56 am #3596103
“I haven’t seen research on it, but I suspect it’s happening now because we’re not getting the sub-zero winters we used to and so more of the beetles survive till spring.”
I’ve also read that a series of hard freezes kills bark beetles and their larvae in the Sierra. And lack of the same leads to their proliferation.Jun 5, 2019 at 5:38 am #3596311AK GranolaBPL Member
It will be scary when the mosquito borne diseases come north, and we get new species up here, because we do have a lot of mosquitoes in Alaska, plenty of standing water sources for breeding. There is no real dusk or dawn, so any time is good for mosquitoes to munch on us. They’re unavoidable really. I’m used to getting bitten for about 2-3 weeks until they die back a bit. I don’t bother with repellant unless I’m deep in the woods or digging in the garden. But if the diseases head this way, I will.
I was just thinking they haven’t been as bad as they used to be 15+ years ago, when we used to hang a big net over our bed in the summertime, as they do in tropical places. Haven’t done that in years. I was just going to brag to David that Fairbanks is having a low year…until today! But they’re still not as bad as they used to be up here.Jun 20, 2019 at 9:37 am #3598536natasha korotkovaSpectator
Lyme has even been dubbed the first epidemic of climate change. There is a book on this, and also a short essay here: https://aeon.co/essays/how-lyme-disease-became-the-first-epidemic-of-climate-change. I currently live in Germany, and there has been a steady increase in Lyme cases. My archeologist colleagues report a similar situation in Ethiopia: Addis used to be too high up for malaria (at 7,000), but not anymore and mosquitoes are gradually reaching higher levels of the city as it gets warmer.Jun 21, 2019 at 2:07 pm #3598691Josh JBPL Member
here in indiana we’ve been having a ton of rain (i’m guessing above average) along with that a higher than normal tick and mosquito population. not sure what’s causing the ticks but the mosquitos is pretty easy…. ton of standing water or mushy ground is perfect breading grounds….. this past winter we’ve had more ice than i can ever remember as well
something is changing in the environment and if it’s just a natural cycle of the earth or human influence or what ever it is something is happening with temperatures, storms, rain and snow fall.
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