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"It's bad everywhere," Biologists expect more mosquitos and bed bugs this summer

"It's bad everywhere," Biologists expect more mosquitos and bed bugs this summer
Posted at 7:33 AM, Jul 01, 2022

Summer is a time full of warmth, excitement, and... mosquitos. And this summer, they're getting more buzz.

"It's gonna be warm, it's been wet, and that's what they like," said Dr. Deborah Waller, an associate professor of biological sciences at Old Dominion University.

Dr. Waller says this year's early wet weather allowed the pests to populate.

And no city in Hampton Roads is escaping them.

"I think it's bad everywhere," said Dr. Waller.

According to, Penelope Smelser, an environmental health specialist for the city of Norfolk, about 25 to 30 different mosquito species live right in our own backyards.

Meaning everyone needs to do their part to dump standing water around their homes.

"Just the tiniest bit of water can breed mosquitos," said Smelser. "A lot of people point their finger at the swamp, the lake, river, but it could just be a bottle cap next to their deck that's breeding mosquitos."

Norfolk spends $535,000 on their Vector Control Program, which aims to control mosquito and rodent populations.

While vector control and surveillance goes on all year, scientists like Smelser also spend nearly 6 months surveying the land to check for diseases and get the bugs before they bite.

"Spraying is the most expensive and probably the least effective...you're only going to kill things flying in that moment into the spray. It's what people want to see the most of but its probably the least effective," Smelser explained. "Versus killing mosquito larvae, you're killing them before they hatch, you can kill hundreds of thousands in one moment."

While the number of mosquitos is rising, according to Dr. Waller, the number of deadly diseases they carry.

So if you wake up with an itchy red welt, biologists say you're probably fine. But you better check it's from a mosquito and not something worse, like a bed bugs.

"We're looking at 1.3 million people traveling 50 or more miles from home over the holiday weekend this year," says Holly Dalby with AAA Tidewater.

As summer travel skyrockets, biologists say bed bugs are looking for any fabric they can get their six legs on.

"Bed bugs are on the rise, many of them are resistant to pesticides, and they're hard to get rid of when you have them," explained Dr. Waller.

And like mosquitos, bed bugs are everywhere.

"Even the best hotels, the best movie theaters, you can still contract bed bugs at some of these places," said Dr. Waller. "You need to very careful when you travel.

The biologist suggests inspecting the corners of hotel beds, and if you see little brown dots, that's likely a sign of bed bugs.

Also be sure to check electrical outlets, backpacks or luggage, and when returning home, throw everything in the dryer. The heat will kill any bed bugs that have latched onto clothes.

But while bed bugs are more of a nuisance, mosquitos are important for our environment. They help pollinate flowers and contribute to some of the fruits and vegetables we all eat.

If possible, try keeping mosquitos away with preventative lamps and sprays instead of killing them.