Our "New" Mosquito Problem? Try "Very Old."
So, we finally got an answer from Andria Kavanaugh, Fort Worth's official mosquito specialist, about those saltwater mosquitoes National Public Radio reported were swarming in Dallas County. As you may recall, NPR ran a piece last week about Aedes sollicitans, a big and mean ol' mosquito that shouldn't be found around these here parts; NPR speculated maybe they'd been sprung by drilling in the Barnett Shale. Turns out, uh, not so much, most likely. --Robert Wilonsky
To answer your question, the saltwater marsh mosquitoes are known as Aedes sollicitans, and they have actually been here for a while. There is documentation that these mosquitoes were trapped as early as 1930 in Tarrant and Dallas counties.
Since it has been raining more this year than last, some of the wooded areas are not drying up fast enough and so marshy areas are being created. This will definitely lead to an increase in marsh mosquitoes like the A. sollicitans and some of the flood water mosquitoes.
I know that Dallas Co. has reported an increase in these mosquitoes, but in Fort Worth, we have not seen a large increase. We do utilize different trapping techniques than Dallas Co. and Fort Worth does have a different topography than Dallas Co., so that may explain why we haven't seen the increase.
As to the gas well drilling, there are not enough current local studies or publications that support said theory. Currently, federal environmental restrictions do not allow drainage of reserve pits into local waterways. As well, there are several studies/data showing the breeding of the salt marsh mosquito can also occur in fresh water habitats. I hope that answers some of your questions.
Andria Kavanaugh City of Fort Worth Public Health Consumer Health Specialist/Vector Control Specialist
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