“As soon as it warms up, they’re here,” said James Dunn, biology professor at Grand Valley State University. “The warm weather will get them out earlier … but mosquitoes also need water to live.”
Mosquitoes typically do not emerge in Michigan until May when warmer weather becomes more regular, Dunn said. While it was unusual to see those pesky bugs in March, he doesn’t necessarily expect to see a rise in the population of the blood-sucking insects.
“I can’t see that this year being all that different from past years,” he said, adding that the season might be longer because of the warm March weather. “We had a lot more mosquitoes last year because we had a lot of rain. We’ll have to see what happens this year.
“It’s not something to be concerned with,” Dunn added.
The Ottawa County Health Department no longer tracks mosquito cases or those associated with the once-prevalent West Nile virus.
In Kent County, there was one report of West Nile in 2011, according to Lisa LaPlante, the county's communications manager.
“We know it’s in the community, so we expect a certain level of infections every year,” she said. “But people may have (the West Nile virus) and have very little symptoms, or may not know they even have it.”
The health departments of both Ottawa and Kent counties do not recognize any trends in mosquito population due to West Michigan’s early spring.
“We haven’t seen major differences yet,” LaPlante said.
One trend that is on health officials’ radar is the possible increase in ticks.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.