Climate change could mean more ticks, mosquitoes

News, Weather

August 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Along with weather extremes including floods and drought, experts say a warmer Iowa climate also could boost the population of ticks, mosquitoes and fire ants and make poison ivy more potent. The Iowa Wildlife Federation says in a report released Tuesday the weather extremes brought on by climate change will likely alter the behavior of pests.

Dr. Yogesh Shah, associate dean of the global health department at Des Moines University says every increase in temperature by a degree or two increases mosquito populations by eight to tenfold. Ticks also grow faster in humid warm weather. He says last year Iowa had a 40 percent increase in Lyme disease.

Shah say poison ivy also could become even more toxic thanks to the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.