You probably know that mosquitoes love wet places. They lay their eggs in puddles, birdbaths, and anywhere else they can find standing water. But new research finds that dry weather can cause mosquito problems, too.

Benoit: “A lot of people consider wet periods critical for having more mosquitoes. Yes, they may be critical for having more mosquitoes, but there’s all these other factors that are related to their ability to act in transmission of diseases.”

Joshua Benoit of the University of Cincinnati says dry weather can leave mosquitoes dehydrated. And thirst changes how they act.

Benoit: “When they’re dehydrated, they actually blood feed more often.”

His team recently found that thirst makes some species of mosquito as much as five times more likely to bite.

And it’s not just a problem during a drought. Mosquito bites can increase after a single dry day.

Benoit: “This dehydration effect can occur very quickly, sometimes in a period of five to six hours.”

As the climate warms and rainfall patterns change, the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus may increase. So it’s important to protect yourself from mosquito bites, even during dry days.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Monica Isola is a bilingual biologist-turned-communicator who specializes in climate change, environment, and conservation.