Mosquitoes largely absent in Seattle

Mosquitoes largely absent in SeattleThe Seattle summer–early July to sometime in October–is a wondrous time. The sun is abundant, the rains that fall most of the other nine months disappear and temperatures rarely rise above the 70s or low 80s.

Here’s another plus. Despite all the water hereabouts, there are hardly any mosquitoes. One generally can sit on a backyard deck or in a park for a long time without getting bitten to death or needing burning insect-repellant citronella candles (which are legal in the U.S. but banned in Europe).

Here’s why.

As it’s been explained to me, it’s mainly a product of two things. The first is Seattle’s somewhat cooler summers (not surprising given the city is father north than Boston and Minneapolis). It takes three or four times longer for mosquitoes to grow when the temps are lower, which makes for far fewer generations of mosquitoes, and, presumably, far fewer skeeters to bite or suck or stick or whatever they do.

The second is the relative lack of standing water, which mosquitoes also need. Summers are pretty dry in Seattle–it’s the three months Seattleites live for in their Faustian bargain to accept drizzle and clouds during the other nine–so there aren’t puddles of rainwater lying around. The major bodies of water hereabouts–Puget Sound, Lake Washington, the Lake Washington Ship Canal, assorted streams–flow or swish around. Nor are there a lot of stagnant wetlands left in the city.

Humidity, or the lack thereof, plays a big role here, too. Seattle just isn’t a steamy environment during the summer like Houston or New Jersey, two places I lived long before becoming New To Seattle. The lack of mosquitoes is similar to what I experienced during my dozen years residing in nearly bone-dry Albuquerque, where the only parts of town with buzzers were neighborhoods adjoining the stagnant, non-navigable drainage ditch better known as the Rio Grande.

That’s not to say there are no mosquitoes in Seattle. A helpful Washington State Department of Health table lists eight different kinds of mosquitoes in King County, where Seattle is located. But that’s eight of 40 kinds found around the state. Seattle certainly has its share of other insects–spiders especially come to mind.

But when it comes to blood-suckers, Seattle is a no-fly zone.

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