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Mosquito epidemic down to weather

WE'VE only had two days of glorious sunshine -- but it seems our humid conditions could be behind a plague of mosquitoes in Dublin.

Swarms of the irritating insect are breeding and feeding around Malahide Castle and estuary.

"They are very much weather affected. This summer's rain has provided perfect breeding conditions, especially where flooding has left behind stagnant pools of water. Heat will bring out extra mosquitoes for mating," said Conn Flynn of the Irish Wildlife Trust.

Irish mosquitoes won't give you malaria but they can leave you feeling bitten and itchy.

"The females are biting a lot at the moments. They need the protein from your blood to grow and lay eggs. Irish people are particularly prone to getting swollen itchy spots from bites," Mr Flynn explained.



chemical

Mosquitoes, like people, love to recommend a good place to eat to their friends.

"If you're bitten once you are more likely to be bitten again, several times. When they bite you they leave a chemical signal to other mosquitoes that you are a good source of food."

Mr Flynn say our best defence in the short term is insect repellent but we have a natural ally in controlling nasty biting insects.

"This is why bats and birds are so important. They spend all their time darting about the sky eating flies.

"If there were no bats or birds there would be so many insects that we could not survive."

Mr Flynn added the public need to protect the nesting grounds of birds and bats for their own sakes.

The good news is the mosquito count is not expected to be high over the next five days. The bad news is this is because the weather is expected to turn much cooler.

hnews@herald.ie