In 2018, Houston was ranked number four on a list of cities in the United States with the highest mosquito population and highest number of mosquito-related problems. As recently as 2021, a number of pest control companies and various sources listed Houston as just under the top-ten worst cities for mosquitoes, meaning that the city’s standing has improved, but it remains a hotspot for mosquito activity. This is no surprise when here are over fifty species of mosquito found in the Houston area. While there isn’t a concrete number we can give for just how many mosquitoes are buzzing around at a given time, it’s clear that mosquitos are a big problem in Houston and the surrounding area. In this article, we explain a bit more about when you can expect to see most mosquitoes in Houston, how to avoid and prevent mosquito bites, and when to seek help, so that you have a better understanding of just how bad mosquitoes are in Houston.
Are Mosquitoes a Year-Round Problem in Houston?
Mosquitoes tend to be active when outdoor temperatures are above fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Because temperatures in Houston tend to stay above fifty degrees, except in the state’s winter months of December through February, mosquitoes are active for a majority of the year. Mosquito season typically lasts from March to October, and their activity hits peak levels from April to September, when the temperatures are higher on average. Furthermore, mosquitoes tend to be worse during Houston’s hurricane season, as they thrive in moist, hot environments. That being said, it’s important to be especially careful of excess moisture and standing water in and around your home during these months.
What Time of Day Are Mosquitoes Most Active?
Although we may associate mosquito bites with picnics and pool time fun, mosquitoes are typically not as active during peak daylight hours. Direct sunlight will dehydrate mosquitoes, so they tend to avoid it by staying in shady areas and keeping their feeding activity limited during the daytime. Mosquitoes can be best described as crepuscular, meaning that they are primarily active in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. That being said, wooded and shady areas are as much of a safe haven for mosquitoes as they are for us, so be especially careful when you cool down in the shade during the summer months.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
The best way to prevent mosquito bites is to prevent the presence of mosquitoes. Here are a few ways to make your home less appealing to mosquitoes:
1. Remove standing water in and around the home.
Female mosquitoes need standing water to safely lay their eggs. Common sources of standing water are low spots in the yard, bird baths, and overturned trash can lids.
2. Make sure your home is sealed.
Mosquitoes are small enough to sneak into your home through almost any crack or gap they can find. It’s important to double-check entry points to your home during mosquito season.
3. Maintain your yard and lawn.
Piles of leaves, lawn clippings, and stray logs or tree stumps make perfect breeding sites for mosquitoes because they tend to be damp and shaded. Removing this kind of debris from your property makes your home less habitable for pests.
Even with these preventative measures, mosquitoes can still make their way into your personal space. If you find mosquitoes in your home or nearby while you’re outdoors, here are some tips to make sure they ignore you:
4. Wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
While summertime often evokes images of swimwear, t-shirts, and shorts, mosquitoes are less likely to target you if your skin is covered up.
5. Use insect repellent when outdoors.
Be sure to spray your skin and clothing with mosquito repellent from a trusted brand. Some of the most common repellents contain DEET, a chemical that effectively repels mosquitoes. You can also install a mosquito misting system around the perimeter of your home or in outdoor areas where you spend a lot of time, such as pools, patios, and decks, as an effective form of mosquito control.
Why is it Important to Prevent Mosquito Bites?
Aside from the itchiness and discomfort that mosquito bites cause, there are a number of reasons why mosquito bites are dangerous and should be avoided. Some mosquitoes carry viruses and transmit many diseases that are dangerous or even fatal to humans and animals. One of the most infamous mosquito-borne diseases is malaria, but mosquitoes can also transmit yellow fever, West Nile virus, and the Zika virus, among other infectious diseases. It is also possible to be allergic to mosquito bites. A mosquito bite allergy is typically identified by large, painful bite marks that mimic other skin infections and longer healing times.
Mosquito Bite Treatments
If you do get bitten by a mosquito, it’s important to treat the bite rather than ignore it. To easily treat a mosquito bite at home, take the following steps:
1. Wash the bite area with soap and water.
Mosquitoes carry dirt and bacteria that you don’t want near an open wound, no matter how small.
2. Apply ice to the affected area.
Applying ice to the bite can help to reduce itching and any swelling.
3. Use ointment on the bite mark.
You can use an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or antihistamine to prevent inflammation and further itchiness.
How Long Do Mosquito Bites Last?
Mosquito bite irritation typically only lasts three to four days, with peak itchiness occurring 24 to 48 hours after the bite incident. However, there are a few instances where you should seek help rather than wait out the unpleasant symptoms.
When to Seek Help for a Mosquito Bite
If you notice any of the following symptoms or conditions as a result of your mosquito bite, seek medical attention immediately:
- Chills or fever
- Soreness, tenderness, or unusual swelling
- Red streaks or spots extending from the area, especially when streaks are warm
- Abscesses or oozing
Mosquito Bite Care at Village Emergency Centers
In the event that you experience any of the symptoms above, seek medical attention from your nearest urgent care or emergency center. Trained medical professionals will be able to evaluate the mosquito bite and develop a treatment plan for any issues or complications. When you need help, go to the medical experts you trust.