By Gregory B. Hladky
10:56 AM EDT, July 10, 2013
So researchers at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are trapping more mosquitoes this year than anyone can remember; anti-mosquito spraying companies are overwhelmed; and everyone's blaming it all on the wet weather.
You don't suppose the fact that our bat population has totally crashed and the number of our insect-eating birds is rapidly dwindling could have anything to do with it.
A single little brown bat can eat 1,200 insects an hour. Think about that next time you're outdoors swatting those blood-sucking bastards away.
And think about this: since 2007-08, millions of bats across the U.S. have been dying due to a disease called White-nose syndrome. One theory is the deadly fungus was brought into North America by spelunkers (people who like to explore caves) who had been tramping through caves in Europe and transmitted the disease to American caves on boots and other contaminated gear.
Whatever the cause, the disease has eliminated a vast number of creatures dedicated to eating things like mosquitoes. And it's not only the missing bats that may be the problem.
The Connecticut Audubon Society's 2013 report on the state of Connecticut's wild birds focused on the dramatic and mysterious decline in the number of birds like swifts and martins and swallows that eat insects. Theories about the reasons for the population plunge include pesticides, acid rain and urban sprawl.
Fewer insect-eating birds, more insects to bite us. Fewer bats, more insects to bite us. And it's happened just when we've got the perfect weather for hatching mosquitoes - weather that could well be related to global warming.
Copyright © 2013, WTXX-TV