PORTLAND, Maine — First came the rain. Buckets of rain. Three weeks of rain.
Now come the mosquitoes. Swarms of them. Millions of them.
The heavy June rains across the Northeast have left standing water in bird baths, clogged gutters and other places were mosquito larvae thrive. As a result, scientists are predicting a bumper crop of the bloodsucking insects in many areas.
“It’s not good. I went out to do some grilling the other night and it was unbelievable. It was like a cloud around my head, a cloud around my body. I ran back inside,” said Clay Kirby of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Mosquitoes make an appearance each spring as melting snow and spring showers create plenty of standing water, which mosquitoes need to reproduce. Larvae die as the puddles dry up.
This spring brought a deluge of rain that continued for weeks, causing trouble for farmers, landscapers and anyone else who works outside.
It was the wettest June on record in Atlantic City, N.J., and in Bangor, Maine; the second-wettest in New York City; and the fourth-wettest in Bridgeport, Conn. In Portland, rain fell on 21 of the final 24 days of the month.
The Northeast got stuck in weather patterns that hung on for days at a time before losing their grip. For the region as a whole, it was the 10th-wettest June since 1895.
At her Seasons Eatings Farm in Talmadge, Maine, Robin Follette said she can hardly go outside without bug repellent, long pants and long sleeves.
“The only thing showing on me this morning is head and hands,” she said.
Follette runs a Web site, Maine Nature News, where a statewide network of nature observers has been reporting a particularly hardy mosquito population.
“It looks like a great mosquito season ahead — unfortunately,” she said. “We’re not getting rid of them soon.”
Mosquitoes are more than an annoyance. They also can become a health threat because they transmit the West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.
For now, rain-weary residents of the Northeast are advised to hang onto their bug repellent — and their umbrellas.
For July, the National Weather Service is calling for above-average rainfall across New England and New York, said Kathryn Vreeland, a climatologist with the NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
“They’re saying it’s more of the same,” Vreeland said.