As climates change, prepare for more mosquitoes in winter, new study shows
In many parts of the world, mosquitoes are a common summertime nuisance. But in places on the front lines of climate change, these disease-spreading insects may one day be a year-round problem, according to new research from the University of Florida.
"In tropical regions, mosquitoes are active all year, but that isn't the case for the rest of the world. Outside of the tropics, winter temperatures cause mosquitoes to go into a kind of hibernation called diapause. We call these mosquitoes 'cold bounded' because their activity is limited by these lower temperatures," said Brett Scheffers, senior author of the study and an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS wildlife ecology and conservation department.
"We found that the mosquitoes in our study are what we call 'plastic,' meaning that, like a rubber band, the range of temperatures they can tolerate stretches and contracts at different times of year," Scheffers said. "That tells us that as climate change makes our autumns and winters warmer, mosquitoes in more temperate regions are well prepared to be active during those times."