Wet weather brings the belated arrival of mosquitoes in Estonia

A mosquito administering its bite.
A mosquito administering its bite. Source: Pixabay

Mosquito season in Estonia is finally here, far later than usual as recent wet weather put paid to any hopes for a summer completely bereft of that scourge, weekly Maahleht reports.

Entomologist Urmas Tartes told Maaleht that: "There have been more mosquitoes for the time of year, early August, than in previous years."

While the main mosquito blight tends to arrive by Jaanipäev, in late June, dry conditions in spring and early summer postponed this, while the insects were activated by the wet weather that followed in July and early this month.

The arrival of the rain activated larvae, in a sort of suspended animation in the dry season, and led to their development, albeit later in the year – and in turn the need for female mosquitoes to feed them with the blood of mammals, including humans, Maaleht.

August in Estonia is high season for outdoor events including concerts and plays, meaning a veritable banquet for mosquitoes, which have been known to fly several hundred meters in search of a meal, and other pests.

Tartes added that it has been his opinion for many years that fully expecting a mosquito-free summer is fruitless in Estonia; we should learn to coexist with them instead and, given the absence of malaria or other diseases which the insects can carry in other parts of the world, allowing ourselves to get bitten at least some of the time helps the immune system to deal with the histamine and other irritants which can cause itchy bite marks.

There are, Tares added, nonetheless a few techniques which can help minimize the instances of bites, including not flailing around too much to swat one mosquito away – in turn potentially attracting more by exhaling and even sweating.

When attending an outdoor event with a large crowd, given that mosquitoes primarily lock on to the CO2 we exhale, it is best to seek a location in the middle of a big group of people, and also to sit upwind of the bulk of the audience.

Wearing protective clothing, particularly in light colors, and bringing plenty of repellent and after-bite cream is best in case you in any case find yourself in any case on the fringes and down-wind of a crowd, he added.

The original Maaleht piece (in Estonian) is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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