Nov 18, 2022 - News

Mosquitos are sticking around in Tampa Bay

Illustration of a mosquito with a halo.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The mosquito season here in Tampa Bay, which never seems to end, is getting even longer thanks to climate change.

  • That's according to Climate Central, which reports that the Tampa area has since the 1980s gained at least two days per year where conditions are prime for mosquito survival.

Driving the news: Our colleagues in Virginia were complaining recently about longer mosquito seasons across the country, and asked in a headline: "When will mosquitos die in Richmond?"

  • To which we replied: Mosquitos die?

By the numbers: The Climate Central report suggests the Tampa area's mosquito season has grown from 320 days long roughly 40 years ago to 322 days.

  • Miami gained at least three days, from 351 to 354, per the report.

Why it matters: It's almost Thanksgiving, and while the rest of the flannel-clad country is chopping wood and making love on bearskin rugs, we Floridians are still fighting dang mosquitos.

The latest: Leonard Burns, a senior supervisor of mosquito management in charge of surveillance for Hillsborough County, tells us we have a mosquito season most years, and we typically see more of these pests during hurricane season — June through November.

Yes, but: "I have seen them year-round," he said.

  • Burns isn't alone. Six or seven years ago, when fall and winter were unusually wet and warm, Ben remembers getting eaten alive on Christmas Day. Bah! Humbug!

Between the lines: The thing that makes Florida attractive to people — the warm, wet climate — also happens to be good for mosquito survival and procreation.

  • Mosquitoes survive best when the temperature is between 50-95°F — Tampa Bay's sweet spot.
  • The population starts to dissipate around Halloween, when it stops raining every day.
  • January and February, when it's drier and our average lows are around 49 or 50 degrees, the mosquitos are lightest.

Threat level: This year has been light, Burns tells us, but standing water after back-to-back hurricanes have spawned lots of larval hatch-out activity in coastal areas.

His advice: Get rid of all standing water, and pick the right time to enjoy the outdoors.

  • Mosquitos are most active at sunrise and sunset.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more