Annoying biting gnats were a problem in Minnesota earlier this spring and summer, but what about widespread mosquito issues?
Perhaps you've noticed that you don't have as many red bite marks all over your body compared to a typical summer? Then again, maybe you're the victim of a billion and one bites?
If you're among the lucky ones and haven't been treated like a bug's dinner plate, you might be curled in the fetal position awaiting what seems to be an inevitable explosion of Minnesota's aggressive state bird.
I tossed a direct message to the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District on Facebook Tuesday morning with a simple question:
"Hello! Are the skeeters going to ramp up after all the rain, heat and humidity? Feels like we haven't gotten attacked nearly as bad as other years ... so I'm assuming it's going to come sooner than later!"
It's true that mosquitos are worse after "lots of rain in a short period of time," and even more so after warm temperatures. Thus my inquiry, because, you know ... Minnesota got slapped with 115-degree heat indices and two derechos (long-lived lines of severe storms) over the weekend.
If that doesn't signal a mosquito explosion, I don't know what does.
But the MMCD's response to my question is encouraging for Skeeter Season 2019:
"Hi Joe, well that’s great news! I will assume you live in the north metro as there’s been the rainfall up there. Even if not, our once a year summer hatch of the cattail mosquito has already occurred so if conditions stay similar to what they’re like now, my guess is you are in good shape!"
Those are the most pleasing 52 words I've read in a long time, and maybe you're in the same boat as I am when it comes to wondering where the mosquitos are.
Or ... maybe I'm alone in thinking the skeeters aren't bad
Honestly, a search of "mosquitos minnesota" on Twitter reveals some ugly truth that I just can't relate to.
The MMCD has treated more than 80,000 acres of mosquito habitat, according to the Pioneer Press, but that might not be the case for locations in greater Minnesota, where the majority of the state's 11,842 lakes reside.
That said, mosquitos are a problem in the metro area.
"Across our seven county metro service area we’re seeing a lot of mosquitoes most places, with even higher numbers on the outer edges of our District where we aren’t able to get to to treat," says the MMCD.
"This year there has been some speculation that due to flooded breeding sites that we’ve been seeing for awhile now, there aren’t as many egg bands left to hatch as would be typical. So perhaps a positive side, if there is one, to flooding would be it has kept mosquito numbers down compared to a typical year."
In greater Minnesota, there's no doubt that there are bad spots for the mosquitos.
Take Mankato for example, which was featured in a recent ESPN story regarding skeeters making it difficult for an Australian softball team taking up summer residence in the southern Minnesota city.
"They're relentless! Oh my goodness," one player told ESPN. "Back home, you get bitten, and you feel it the next day. Here, straightaway. They're nasty."
Overall, there's still about two months left in skeeter season, so plenty of time for the blood-suckers to find me, and maybe you, too