Heavy rains and high water – fueled by the powerful pull of a full moon – may have pushed tides in the salt marshes high enough to reach areas where, below ground, having lain dormant for months, rest millions of eggs left behind by previous generations of the Saltmarsh mosquito.
The Saltmarsh mosquito lays its eggs in the high parts of the saltwater marshes, where, when the tides rise enough, the eggs get wet and the larvae hatch.
The Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito, Aedes sollicitans, was one of the first mosquitoes implicated in creating unbearable living conditions due to their nuisance biting, and one of the first species targeted in large-scale mosquito management programs.
The Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito is found primarily along the Atlantic coast from northeastern Canada, south to Florida, and along the Gulf of Mexico to Texas. The larvae tolerate living in the saline wetlands that line the coastal shores, from dense marshes covering many square miles, to shallow pools fed by rainwater and high tides, and they can also be found inland in isolated brackish waters.
Females of this species are aggressive biters, taking blood-meals from many kinds of animals including birds, reptiles, and mammals, especially humans. The species name sollicitans is Latin, meaning “vexing” or “disturbing.” They bite aggressively day or night, and even mosquitoes that are resting in the tall grasses by day will quickly take flight once disturbed and attack anyone walking thru the area. However, the feature that makes this species especially challenging is their extremely long flight distances. From April through October (and often year-round in the southern regions), large, fierce populations of saltmarsh mosquitoes can be found more than 30 miles inland from the nearest coastal swamp, with reports of individuals as far as 100 miles from their likely larval habitats.