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Pixabay

By Marlene Cimons

For nearly a century, scientists thought that malaria could only spread in places where it is really hot. That's because malaria is spread by a tiny parasite that infects mosquitoes, which then infect humans — and this parasite loves warm weather. In warmer climates, the parasite grows quickly inside the mosquito's body. But in cooler climates, the parasite develops so slowly that the mosquito will die before the it is fully grown.

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Kerkez / iStock / Getty Images

By Nicole Ferox

It's that time of year: Mosquitoes and ticks are out in full force, and so are all the latest bug repellent products claiming to keep them at bay. So what bug repellent ingredients do Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists recommend for kids? Our top picks are DEET, Picaridin and IR3535. These ingredients have low safety concerns and offer a high level of protection from a variety of biting insects and ticks.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An Ae. aegypti mosquito, one of the primary vectors for the transmission of dengue fever around the world. James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise until 2080, dengue fever could spread through much of the southeastern U.S. by 2050.

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Cassie Rulene Vadovsky / Facebook / Screenshot

Flooding from Hurricane Florence has activated dormant "gallnipper" (Psorophora ciliata) eggs, among others, leading to the hatching of billions of unusually large mosquitoes.

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Giannis Giannakopoulos / YouTube

Arachnophobes beware. A shoreline by the Greek town of Aitoliko has been swamped by a mass of mating spiders and 1,000 feet of their cobwebs.

Earlier this week, a local named Giannis Giannakopoulos uploaded a YouTube video and posted several pictures of the spectacle on his Facebook page, showing shrubs, palm fronds and other greenery completely veiled by spider webs.

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Mosquito larvae can mistake tiny bits of plastic for food. fuentedelateja / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Microplastics, which get gobbled up by whales, deep-sea fish and plankton, have also turned up in the bodies of mosquitoes, scientists have revealed.

The research, published Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters, is the first to show that bits of plastic can be transferred between a mosquito's life stages that use different habitats.

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Pexels

By Carla Burns

Experts predict mosquito and tick bites and subsequent infections will continue to rise as warmer climates expand insect habitats and populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that pest-borne diseases are "a large and growing public health problem in the United States." Cases of diseases from mosquito, tick and flea bites more than tripled in the U.S. from 2004 to 2016.

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John Tann / CC BY 2.0

The number of days each year when mosquito-borne illnesses are more likely to spread is rising as average temperatures soar across the U.S., according to a new analysis.

Climate Central examined 244 cities across the country for its analysis, finding that 94 percent are experiencing more "disease danger days"—days with temperatures between 61 degrees and 93 degrees F, optimal conditions for transmission of diseases like West Nile and other vector-borne diseases—than they were in 1970.

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Fairfax County / CC BY-ND 2.0

A number of factors should come into play when you're choosing a bug repellent: what part of the country you live in, where you plan to travel, whether you're pregnant and whether you are planning to use the product on children. EWG's 2018 Guide to Bug Repellents can help you find the right product for yourself and your family.

No repellent works every place against every pest, so it is worth researching the diseases insects and ticks carry where you plan to spend time outside. The repellent you might choose for a backpacking trip in Colorado could be different from the one that might suffice for a picnic on an East Coast beach.

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An Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library

By Joyce Sakamoto and Shelley Whitehead

Cases of vector-borne disease have more than doubled in the U.S. since 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported, with mosquitoes and ticks bearing most of the blame.

Mosquitoes, long spreaders of malaria and yellow fever, have more recently spread dengue, Zika and Chikungunya viruses, and caused epidemic outbreaks, mainly in U.S. territories. The insects are also largely responsible for making West Nile virus endemic in the continental U.S.

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Kentucky-based biotechnology startup MosquitoMate was given U.S. government approval to release bacteria-infected mosquitoes in several states.

The company's lab-grown Aedes albopictus (aka ZAP males) are designed to halt the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.

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