RALEIGH - The Asian tiger mosquito thrives inside man-made clutter: tin cans, old tires, buckets and gutters. And there's nothing they like more than a good gully-washer.
It's already been a furious season for the blood-sucking bugs, especially in urban neighborhoods that offer shallow puddles in concrete, metal or clay.
But a week of persistent rain brings new larvae and new life, and there's plenty of all three in the forecast. Watch for the eggs that got laid in your flower pot after Tropical Storm Hanna to hatch about now.
"I just checked my bird bath this morning and there were over 100 larvae in it," said Charles Apperson, entomologist at N.C. State University. "They're just real abundant right now."
It's hard to find more comprehensive evidence of a mosquito plague. Nobody counts them in Raleigh or Durham or Cary, and there aren't any spray programs.
But in an unscientific test conducted just east of downtown Raleigh, a pair of exposed legs drew 16 bites in less than five minutes.
And all summer long, Triangle Pest Control has been adding five to seven new customers a week, all of them seeking a quick death for the winged nuisance.
"This year is definitely worse than last year," said Mike Dinatale, lead inspector for the Holly Springs exterminator. "And obviously, after we get five or six inches of rain, it's going to be bad."
Out of all mosquito varieties, the Asian tiger ranks among the most bothersome.
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