If you’re seeking out warmer weather for your holiday break, just remember there’s no break from mosquitoes! Dr. Craig Stoops, LCDR MSC USN (ret.) is Mosquito Authority’s entomology expert, on board to answer a few questions to keep you safe from mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry.
It’s winter in the United States, why would I have to worry about mosquitoes?
In Northern areas of the United States where the ground freezes and the snow flies, you don’t have to worry about mosquitoes. But in Southern areas where the average daily temperature remains at or above 65°F, mosquitoes that spend the winter in the adult stage can come out of hiding and fly on warm days. And if you live in the extreme southern areas like Miami or along the U.S./Mexico border, adult mosquitoes are with you throughout the year.
I’ve heard the Carribean is mosquito-free. Is that true?
No. Some islands don’t have a big mosquito problem, but mosquitoes can be locally abundant in areas of the Carribean and can pose both a nuisance and vector-borne pathogen threat. In some areas of the Carribean, there is no threat from the Dengue virus, but on some islands such as Puerto Rico and Cuba, you could be exposed to this mosquito-borne virus.
Would I need mosquito repellant on a cruise ship?
If any of the destinations on your cruise ship stops there is mention of mosquitoes biting, you would need to bring repellant. Check with CDC travel website to see if there is a risk of coming into contact with mosquitoes which play a role in Dengue virus transmission. If so, you should wear repellents that contain DEET during those shore excursions. Remember, the mosquitoes that transmit dengue bite during the day, so you could be exposed before you have to return to the ship at sundown.
What do I need to pack to make sure I keep away mosquitoes — and other biting insects — while I’m on vacation?
Knowledge. The most important item to pack is an understanding of the mosquito and biting insect related threats you may or may not be exposed to during your time on shore.
Dr. Craig Stoops LCDR MSC USN (ret.) is a retired U.S. Navy Medical Entomologist who has conducted mosquito control and research in the United States and around the world. Craig wields a B.S. in Biology from Shippensburg University, and both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Entomology from Clemson University. He is Board Certified by the Entomological Society of America in Medical and Veterinary Entomology.