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Environment

Mosquitos Vanish in Finland as Heat Wave Plagues the Country


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Although Finland is experiencing a temporary mosquito decline, billions of people are at risk of mosquito-borne diseases around the world and climate change threatens to expand the geographic range of these insects. The United Nations’ Global Goals call on countries to control the public health threat of neglected tropical diseases such as malaria. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Mosquitoes terrorize summers from New York to Johannesburg to Queensland, but temperatures recently got too hot in Finland for the pesky and often deadly bugs to survive.

As a powerful heat wave bears down on the Scandinavian country, bringing temperatures in some areas to a record-breaking 92.6 degrees Fahrenheit, shallow bodies of water have mostly dried up, depriving mosquitoes of breeding grounds, according to the Finland’s national broadcasting company YLE.

Most mosquito species seek out puddles and other shallow bodies of water to deposit larvae. That’s why mosquito sightings surge after rainstorms. Finland, however, is also struggling with a drought, making it hard for the insects to survive. The country isn’t expected to receive much rain the rest of the summer, either.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

Another reason the mosquitoes in Finland have vanished is because the sudden heat caused most mosquito species to spawn at once, when they usually arrive in staggered fashion, weeks apart, according to YLE. They then all died in unison when the weather got too extreme.

As a result, citizens and tourists can mostly go about their lives unbothered by mosquito bites. Other biting bugs such as midges, horseflies, and blackflies are still lurking.

But relief from mosquito bites is tempered by the anxiety surrounding climate change. The unusually hot and dry conditions in the Scandinavian country have been attributed to a disrupted jet stream, which generally delivers cool air to Europe, and disrupted rain patterns.

Both of these phenomena are hallmarks of climate change, which has also caused fires to break out in the north of the country and crop yields to potentially plummet by as much as 60%. In the years ahead, these problems are expected to worsen, according to the Guardian.

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And while Finland is getting a break from bug bites, the rest of the world is bracing for an increasingly mosquito-dominant world.

In fact, as global warming continues, mosquito ranges and seasonal life spans will increase, unleashing deadly viruses like Zika, malaria, and dengue fever upon more people, according to the New York Times.

Dengue, a disease that causes severe flu-like symptoms, has increased 30-fold over the past 30 years, according to the World Health Organization. Malaria, meanwhile, killed 438,000 people in 2015.

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One of the mosquito species that survived the heat wave in Finland is the Anopheles mosquitoes, which is one of the primary carriers of malaria in the world. Although the Finnish version of this mosquito doesn’t have the deadly disease, it’s expected that climate change will spread the global range of malaria.