Mosquito boom across metro Detroit likely a result of rain, flooding

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jul 10, 2021
and last updated 2022-03-17 20:15:53-04

(WXYZ) — If you feel like there may be more mosquitoes biting right now than usual, you aren’t alone.

Some areas of metro Detroit seem to be swarming with them, and one mother in Ann Arbor had quite the scare.

"It was like his eyes and his forehead were swelled shut,” said Emily Heintz.

Heintz was horrified when she found her 2-year-old son with his face completely swollen. She rushed him to the emergency room, having no idea what it might be.

“When we got to the ER they were like, ‘it looks like an allergic reaction to something, it looks like he’s got a lot of mosquito bites,'” Heintz said.

Mosquito bites that her son likely got the day before, when they were outside in their yard for just 30 minutes.

“We do live in a slightly more woodsy neighborhood, but a lot of people have been saying their mosquitoes have been worse right now then they have been in a long time,” said Heintz.

It turns out she and her neighbors might be right, and there’s an explanation as to why.

“When you get a bunch of rainy weather when it’s warm out, it’s usually about two weeks in and you get a big boom of mosquitoes,” said Mark Vanderwerp, an entomologist with Rose Pest Solutions.

Vanderwerp explained mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, so there's a lot of standing water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs when there’s flooding. About two weeks later, they hatch.

“They lay lots of eggs," Vanderwerp said. "So it really is kind of this cascading event where it blows up.”

Vanderwerp said Michigan has about 60 different species of mosquito, and some bite more often than others. The best way to limit mosquitoes in your yard is to limit the water.

“Things like bird baths, buckets of water, kids toys, all these things can collect water. And remember, that's all these mosquitoes need to go through that larval stage is just a little standing water," Vanderwerp said.

Now that Heintz knows her son is allergic, she's taking precautions. Using bug spray, wearing long clothes, doing anything to make sure he’s safe.

"The swelling hasn’t totally gone away but he looks a lot better,” Heintz said. "It makes me nervous to think what would’ve happened if he had gotten more mosquito bites than he did.”

Vanderwerp says if you’re sitting down somewhere like your porch, a fan will help keep mosquitoes from being able to fly over to you. He also added that you can get your yard treated, but usually just a few citronella torches won't do the trick.