Grand Rapids, MI (WZZM)- It's true, the mosquito problem is worse this spring than usual in West Michigan, and it's because of the big flood in April.
Mosquito eggs hibernating in low lying areas along the river need water to hatch. This year they got lots of it.
Grand Valley State University Biology Professor Jim Dunn says the flood reached eggs way up on the bank that ordinarily wouldn't get wet and hatch.
"These are floodwater mosquitoes," he explains "All of these eggs are laid on low lying areas and they sit there until they get wet. They can hibernate for up to 7 years. This year a great majority of those eggs got wet. You get a 100 year flood you are going to have a really big emergence of flood water mosquitoes."
Only the female mosquitoes bite. They are getting a blood meal to nourish their eggs.
"I'm getting eaten alive," complains Andy Hindenach while playing frisbee golf in Riverfront Park."They are absolutely horrible. I hope they go away soon."
Professor Dunn says this batch of mosquitoes will be around for a few more weeks.
"Then they will all die," he says. "Before they die the female will lay eggs back in those low lying areas where they will wait to get wet again in succeeding years. It's all part of the balance of nature. Mosquitoes are a very important part of the food web."
After the flood water mosquitoes die, the summer mosquitoes emerge. Their bite isn't as painful, but they can carry the West Nile Virus.
Professor Dunn says bug sprays that contain the chemical "deet" provide good protection against mosquitoes.
"It doesn't stop mosquitoes from biting you completely, but it does a pretty decent job," he says.