x Asian Tiger Mosquitoes: Dangerous and Growing Stronger
The Asian Tiger Mosquitoes have ominous black and white stripes, they’re larger than most other mosquitoes, highly aggressive and they’re on the move in over 26 states in the U.S. and counting. It’s the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and these little blood suckers are particularly annoying because, unlike most mosquito species, the Tiger holds on once it bites and will not let go even if it’s swatted. In addition, it attacks from dawn until dusk and attacks humans as well as their pets. If this weren’t enough, the biggest problem is the fact that the Tiger is very effective at spreading diseases to humans.
The Asian Tiger Mosquito
It’s one of the most dangerous insects in the U.S. because it’s capable of transmitting over 20 different diseases that include yellow fever, two types of encephalitis, dengue fever, West Nile fever and chikungunya virus. Chikungunya has become fairly common in the US with symptoms that include rash, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache and severe joint pain, but it’s not usually fatal. There is no cure for chikungunya but it usually clears up in a few weeks.
Part of the Tiger’s success in growing its numbers in the US is the fact that its eggs can survive cold winters. Global warming has contributed to its success as well.
The Tiger lays its eggs in water containers (both artificial and natural) such as old tires and tree cavities but does not lay eggs in marshes, ditches, ponds or the usual mosquito type natural habitats. It originally invaded the U.S. in a shipment of old tires from Asia.
The best way to control the spread of the Tiger is to make sure that all water containers are emptied and standing water in pet bowls, garbage containers and the like are emptied as well.
Other things you can do to protect against the Tiger and other mosquitos are:
• Keep your time spent outside to a minimum at night as mosquitoes are more active then.
• Use mosquito repellents to help keep mosquitoes away.
• Make sure to surround infants with netting when outdoors.
• Wear light colored clothes that have tight knit material to keep mosquitoes from getting to your skin. Make sure your skin is covered with long sleeves and long pant legs.
• Inspect door and window screens, repair or replace as needed. Make there are no holes around doors and windows for mosquitoes to get in.
• Bat houses and bird houses can help control mosquito populations.
Ways to help reduce mosquito populations are:
• Twice a week empty any water from pet food bowls, buckets, garbage cans, pet water dishes, bird baths and any other water holding containers. Remove anything on your property that holds water that you don’t need such as old tires, garbage lids, etc.
• Make sure to keep your roof gutter and drain clear. Leaves, sticks and other material can dam up the gutters so that standing water forms and attracts mosquito populations.
• Make sure that you contact local health officials if you see any old tires or other junk that might hold water and attract mosquitoes.
• Work with your neighbors to get rid of major mosquito magnets like abandoned car parts, wheels, tires, etc.
• All businesses need to cover up tires or treat them with insecticides that are EPA certified to kill mosquito larvae.
Follow the above suggestions to keep yourself, family and guests mosquito free. It may take a little work but the reward is a worry free outdoor experience.