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Get your bug spray! Michigan expert predicts a bad year for mosquitoes

A female <em>Aedes aegypti</em> mosquito feeds on human skin.
James Gathany/CDC
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
A female Aedes aegypti mosquito feeds on human skin.

An entomologist at Michigan State University says this is likely to be another bad year for mosquitoes.

Howard Russell is known as "The Bug Man" at MSU. He says he hasn't seen anything this spring that makes him think that this year will be anything less than horrible when it comes to the number of mosquitoes outdoors.

The bugs develop faster when it's warmer, though Russell says fluctuating temperatures this spring, including some overnights that dipped below freezing, could mean a later emergence of adult mosquitoes.

"They're out there. And once it does warm up, and they emerge en masse, it's going to be pretty horrible," he said. "But most years, it is pretty horrible."

Factors like standing water left over from snowmelt and the amount of rainfall so far this year could impact bug populations as well.

"If we have a real dry summer, we'll have very few summer mosquitoes. If we have periodic rainfall that is around two to three inches, we're going to produce a couple generations of summer mosquitoes."

He recommends bug repellent and wearing long pants, long sleeves, and even a hat with netting when outdoors. Without those precautions, he has one final warning:

"You're just going to resign yourself to feeding them."