More than 3,000 mosquito species have been documented worldwide, but only 150 species dwell within the United States. The state of Massachusetts is home to 51 mosquito species, some of which spread disease to humans. Some mosquito species in the state dwell within urban areas while others stick to rural areas where they are rarely spotted by residents. Obviously, the mosquito species that dwell within urban and suburban areas of Massachusetts are of the greatest concern to public health officials in the state. Unfortunately, urban and suburban dwelling mosquitoes in Massachusetts are known to carry and transmit the west Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). In order to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne disease in the state, public health officials strongly urge residents to keep their property clear of standing water, as mosquitoes not only congregate around standing water, but they also need standing water to produce more mosquitoes.

Researchers have found west Nile-carrying mosquitoes within Boston each and every year since 2000. Several Massachusetts residents have contracted west Nile within the state, some of which became extremely ill from the disease. Mosquitoes carrying EEE are spotted far less frequently within the state, but illnesses have been documented in residents. Disease-carrying mosquitoes in urban and suburban areas of  Massachusetts are most prevalent within the environment from July to September, but mosquito-borne disease can be contracted as late as November in the state. Different mosquito species require different water sources for reproduction. More rural mosquito species reproduce within streams and marshes, while urban species reproduce within any type of water source available, which is most often within containers and pools that have gathered rainwater in residential yards. In addition to removing containers from a yard, residents can also help to prevent mosquito swarms within their neighborhood by cleaning out their home’s gutters and removing rainwater from flower pot saucers and other garden items.

Do you think that you sustain the greatest number of mosquito bites while around your own home?