If you thought mosquitoes were bad last year, brace yourselves.

According to experts, this year’s mosquito season could be the worst in decades, and the pesky bugs are showing up nationwide much earlier than expected.

Although they don’t show signs of West Nile virus, these mosquitoes are appearing in record numbers all across the country up to six weeks early because of unusually mild winter weather and early spring rain.

Without cold weather, etymologists say, freezing weather didn’t develop which could have killed off the bugs and their eggs. And now they’re breeding like crazy in standing pools left over from wet weather.

Of course, mosquitoes are more than just a simple irritant. Last year, the CDC received reports of 610 cases of encephalitis or meningitis caused by mosquito-borne viruses, 47 of which resulted in death. If bitten, watch out for fever, severe headache or swollen glands, since these could be signs of a serious infection.

As a way to deter the pesky critters, health experts say to reduce breeding areas by trimming vegetation and grass around homes. Also, consider wearing bug spray and keep yourself covered with heavy clothing when spending time outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

 

[Today]