North Carolina

Mosquitoes are invading part of North Carolina. Thanks, Dorian

Hurricane Dorian dumped inches of rain across eastern North Carolina, leaving some communities with a pesky problem.

Mosquito populations have soared in several areas near the coast, environmental officials told WTEB in a Thursday report.

So what’s behind the surge?

State health officials say “large populations of mosquitoes can emerge days to weeks after heavy rains or flooding.”

Earlier this month, Hurricane Dorian drenched the eastern portion of the state with as much as 10 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

“Heavy rains from Hurricane Dorian have filled containers and tree holes around homes in some areas, possibly creating more habitat for mosquitoes that can also carry infectious viruses,” Dr. Zack Moore, state epidemiologist, said Wednesday in a news release.

But he says most mosquitoes that come “after hurricanes do not transmit diseases,” according to the release from the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Still, the risk for an uptick in disease-carrying mosquitoes can stick around up to two months after a strong storm, the department says.

It happens “especially in areas that did not flood but received more rainfall than usual,” according to state officials.

Hyde County, home to hard-hit Ocracoke Island, announced Friday that mosquitoes “have become a huge nuisance” after the storm.

Though not every community has reported a rise in mosquitoes, Craven and Pitt county officials have noticed an increase, WTEB reported Thursday. There was also a brief uptick after the storm doused parts of Robeson County, according to The Robesonian.

Even in neighboring South Carolina, more mosquitoes were expected around the popular tourist area of Hilton Head.

And having a post-storm insect issue may seem familiar to some.

Last year, “mosquitoes 20 times larger than normal” made their home in North Carolina after Hurricane Florence.

Now, some communities are taking measures to limit the number of mosquitoes, WTEB reports.

Still, officials encourage residents to take steps to protect themselves. To avoid bites, people can use repellent, install window screens, wear long sleeves and eliminate standing water, the state health department says.

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