The ‘Little Fly’, was reported as early as the 16th century.
Mosquitoes thrive in warm temperatures above 80 ⁰F (around 27 ⁰C). At less than 50 ⁰F (10 ⁰C), they shut down for the winter as they are cold-blooded insects. The adult females of some species (there are 3,500 different species) find holes where they wait for warmer weather, while others lay their eggs in freezing water and die. The eggs hibernate and the lavae hatch when the temperature warms up sufficiently.
Now why is this such a big deal? With climate change, the rising temperature enables the mosquitoes to flourish and transmit illnesses more effectively, especially in less-developed regions that are ill-equipped to manage mosquito populations.
Rising temperature speeds up nearly everything about the biology of the Aedes aegypti mosquito - the one that carries Zika, dengue fever and other diseases – making them an effective disease spreading machine!
The thermodynamics of mosquitoes are driven by temperature. As temperature rises, mosquitoes get busy; namely:
- They feed more frequently and, therefore, increase their chance of carrying infections and spreading diseases more readily.
- The warmer air incubates the virus faster in the cold-blooded mosquito. So the insect has more time to be infectious and spread the disease. The virus replicates faster because it's hotter, therefore the mosquitoes can transmit earlier in their life" said Bill Reisen of the University of California Davis.
- The warmer temperatures generally increase the mosquito population. By the way, did you know that only the female mosquito is the vampire? She needs blood to produce eggs.
And the vicious circle continues …