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Thirsty Floodwater Mosquitoes Bite Aggressively

If you're packing away shorts and pulling on long pants, it's not the cooler weather to blame in your desire to cover up your extremities. Mosquitoes – small, tenacious and vicious – have been feeding relentlessly in the past few weeks, and tropical storm Irene might have been to blame.

Officials say the rainy weather associated with Irene caused an uptick in floodwater mosquitoes throughout the state, which has caused a spike in bites to higher than average this season.

Dr. Theodore Andreadis, chief medical entomologist at the Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, says trap collections at the lab have been "excessively high" recently, due to the heavy rain and subsequent flooding.

The good news? These thirsty bloodsuckers do not carry the West Nile virus . Mosquitoes carrying West Nile can breed in storm drains and were for the most part swept away by surging floodwater, says Dr. Andreadis.

Then the bad news: not only are floodwater mosquitoes aggressive, they are biting throughout the day, says Dr. Andreadis. Most mosquitoes tend to feed at dusk and thereafter.

As is the case with all mosquitoes, preventing bites comes down to providing an inhospitable environment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following tips for mosquito control:

* Eliminate outdoor objects that can hold water and become breeding places for mosquitoes;

* Clean gutters that could be retaining water;

* Empty wading pools and bird baths every few days;

* Regularly chlorinate swimming pools;

* Make sure covers on grills, boats, pools and other outside equipment;

* Wear clothing that minimizes skin exposure and use mosquito repellents.

The imminent onset of cooler weather – expected by the weekend – should help reduce the number of mosquitoes.

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