As nice as the summer temperatures are for some, they are exhausting for others: heat waves are hard on many people and animals too – especially if they are relatively humid at the same time. Entirely other creatures benefit: hot, humid climate offers the best breeding conditions, especially around nasty mosquitoes – and so we have to use one again this year Mosquito infestation count, which is stronger than in previous years. Certain regions are particularly affected.
As if the health problems were not enough in the heat, mosquito bites are again one of the risks of summer. Doctors report far more visits to the doctor due to infections – caused by mosquito bites. Why they can be dangerous:
Mosquito infestation causes painful swellings and infections
Anyone who is affected by the painful stitches knows what we are talking about: the sting itself is barely noticeable, but then it starts. The area swells, itches – and ignites. This is exactly what is happening to more and more people. Those who used to have little mosquito bite problems now complain about long-lasting swelling and serious infections that can even lead to circulatory problems.
An additional problem: Mosquitoes can transmit a whole range of germs, pathogens and also environmental toxins – and even bacteria. In the meantime it is even known that the small flying animals can theoretically also pass on Lyme disease or the Sindbis virus to humans. However, this rarely happens.
New types of mosquitos on the advance
The fact that the mosquitoes or their bites appear to be more and more aggressive is also due to the fact that so-called invasive mosquito species, i.e. mosquitoes from other regions of the world can spread thanks to tropical temperatures – for example the Asian bush mosquito, which has been known here since 2008, and the Asian tiger mosquito , a species that is actually sensitive to frost, but apparently is slowly adapting to our winter climate – which, admittedly, has been rather mild in recent years. And anyway most mosquito species can survive frosty days.
Populations of the Asian tiger mosquito, for example, are already known in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and Thuringia.
Their larvae can be introduced, for example, by imported plants, via migratory birds – or even after the holiday. Our body is not used to the poison of these mosquito species, at the same time other pathogens can live in the mosquito, which can transmit rare or as yet unknown diseases in this country such as West Nile fever or dengue fever. 3 dangerous mosquito species have been spreading with us for several years.
Regional mosquito plague: Germany’s south has to go through again first
In contrast to previous years, the summer has been quite humid so far. It rains in many places, but it is still warm and there are sometimes heavy rains and storms. Especially where heavy rainfall increases water levels, far more mosquitoes are to be expected than in the dry previous years.
Especially in southern Germany, preferably around Lake Starnberg and Lake Ammer in Bavaria, people should protect themselves from mosquitoes this summer.
However, the people on the Oder, which is affected by floods and a lot of rain, are currently particularly plagued. Biologists register more than 100 mosquitoes every minute in places where the river has recently burst its banks. One speaks of a mosquito plague if more than 20 mosquitoes occur per minute.
Floods around floodplain forests and overgrown valleys are particularly bad. Unlike in urban areas or dry fields, the water does not evaporate as quickly there. The humidity and the subsequent heat are a breeding paradise for mosquitoes of all kinds.
The mosquitoes do not lay their eggs directly in the water, but on the adjoining grasses and meadows as well as on the ground – which provide optimal conditions after a flood, as quickly happens due to heavy rainfall on dried soil. The unattractive thing about it: If it gets dry again afterwards, it doesn’t do much to the mosquito eggs. They can survive for up to ten years and wait for the next flood or the next wet and warm days. And then it starts. It is precisely through such floods that a real “hatching mass” can break out – and these “flood mosquitoes” are booming this year.
Important: Do not scratch and if swelling go to the doctor!
Scratching is forbidden on mosquito bites – you can hear that again and again, but unfortunately that’s also easy to say. We all know the feeling of this overwhelming urge because the sting itches so incredibly. But remind yourself: scratching directly on the prick not only distributes poison and already transmitted germs further in the body. They also damage the skin as a natural protective barrier and help other pathogens, possibly on your hands, on their way into your body. In this case, a bacterial infection can easily occur.
If a sting becomes very thick and hot, is very red, or even hurts, see a doctor. In the worst case, there is a risk of a more violent allergic reaction.
If you also notice a fever and other accompanying symptoms, a visit to the doctor is even more urgent.
Help against mosquito bites: instead of scratching
But what to do if the itching is so severe that it cannot be easily suppressed? Cooling helps, even against swelling – either with a damp cloth, a wrapped ice pack or cooling ointments.
But heat can also help – in the best case immediately after the mosquito has stung: Either heat a spoon under hot water or lightly with a lighter and carefully hold it to the injection site. But first let it cool down a bit, otherwise there is a risk of burns! From 65 ° C, proteins break down – including those in mosquito poison. The sting itches less, the poison can work worse.
In the pharmacy there are now also appropriate pens that heat the skin at the puncture point – if used correctly, without the risk of burns.
In the best case, don’t let yourself be stung and prevent nasty mosquito bites. There are various sprays in pharmacies and drugstores, but home remedies for insect bites also do their job. For example, white tiger balm has a cooling effect. And home remedies for wasp stings and home remedies for ticks also help with mosquitoes. Pay attention to the right skin care.
Avoid insecticides: mosquitoes are also useful
We don’t really want to admit it when the sting itches again, and we swear at first. But we must not forget that mosquitoes are living beings that have a right to exist. And they are even very useful because they serve birds or spiders as food and are therefore an important part of the food chain.
So instead of tackling them with chemical agents, it still helps best to simply keep them away from the home and away from the body with mosquito screens or gentle household remedies as well as plants. Mosquito repellent clothing also helps. This is also better for the environment, because it does not put additional stress on the useful bees and the bee death does not continue – it is also better for our health.
Incidentally, light doesn’t care about mosquitos: it is the smell of our skin and exhaled carbon dioxide that attracts them. It is therefore helpful in summer: take a quick shower in the evening to wash off sweat. Tart, citrusy shower gels can also help. You should avoid sweet scents.
Mapping mosquitoes helps
If the summer should become drier, it also affects the mosquitoes – at least fewer new ones hatch. But if it stays warm and humid, we can probably count on a few more mosquito generations this year. So: don’t forget mosquito repellent!
Every year new mosquito species are registered in the mosquito atlas of the ZALF (Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research in Müncheberg in Brandenburg). This year there were already 1000 entries with around 3500 animals, mosquito expert Doreen Walther told the German press agency dpa. She works for the ZALF.
The mosquito atlas gives a good overview of domestic and “migrated” mosquito species and their potential danger.