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Know Your Backcountry Bugs

Guide to common bugs in the backcountry.

MOSQUITOES

BREEDING HABITAT: Still, standing water in wooded and swampy areas.

BITING TIME: Late afternoon, dusk, and night.

TARGET AREAS: Anywhere flesh is exposed and untreated.

ATTRACTED TO: Carbon dioxide, body heat, lactic acid (a by-product of exercise), movement.

LESS ATTRACTED TO: Light colors.

TEMPERATURE RANGE: Function best at 80°F, become lethargic around 60°F, cannot function below 50°F.

LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS: They can “smell” you 65 to 115 feet away.

OTHER FACTS: Mosquitoes have also been known to carry a number of diseases. Encephalitis, a potentially fatal disease (especially for young children) has been reported in southern Florida and more recently in southern New England. West Nile Virus has been recognized as a cause of severe human meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain). It has been documented in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio, and the District of Columbia plus parts of Canada have detected the virus. Although mosquito-born malaria can occur in the US, it is rare and carried only by the Anopheles mosquito, which thrives along the Mississippi Valley.

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