The Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is a small black mosquito with white stripes. It’s a day active mosquito, originated from the tropical and sub-tropical forests of Southeast Asia (from India to Japan – through China, Philippians and more).
The Asian tiger mosquito females originally oviposited (laid) their eggs in tree holes full with water. Their attraction to oviposit in small pools did not disappear when they moved into human habitat, using any small artificial pool available (e.g. flower vases, tires, buckets, debris etc.).
Mosquito TigreLike all species of the Aedes genus, the Asian Tiger mosquitoes stick their eggs one by one to the edge of the pool, slightly above the water surface. The eggs can tolerate short period of dehydration (normally up to two months), which enable them to be transferred from one place to hatch in another area. Add to this the increasing global trades, especially in used tires (a favorite man-made oviposition site) and you get massive global invasions.
Indeed, the Asian tiger mosquito was declared by the United Nations as one of the 100 most invasive species in the world. It can now be found in any continent but Antarctica and in most climatic areas which are not too dry.
The importance of the Asian tiger mosquito as an invasive species increases due to its high nuisance level and in its risk for public health. This is a day biting mosquito when most people are outdoors. The bite is felt by some people like an irritating sting and up to a minor pain by others.
The Asian tiger mosquito will often approach the victim in groups. As it is a new mosquito species in most parts of the world and most people are not yet immune to its bite, the response may be stronger compare to other mosquito bites.
The danger to public health that Asian tiger mosquito poses is due to its ability to be a vector of more than 20 different diseases. However, the most common diseases related to the Asian tiger mosquito are Dengue fever, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya, Japanese Encephalitis and Dogs’ Heart worm.
The Asian tiger mosquitoes are poor fliers. This is why they bite mostly in the lower parts of the body. In tropical areas they demonstrate less than 1.5km flight ability from the pool they emerged from. In drier areas they can do even less. For comparison, many mosquito species can fly 10km from their original pool, and even longer. Therefore, the Asian tiger mosquitoes that bite you were reared as larvae nearby, possibly in your own back yard…
So how to control Asian Tiger mosquito?
- Make sure to dry any source of standing water: flowerbeds’ plates, vases, debris, plants holding water in their leaves, clogged gutters, etc. Any water source that holds water a week or more can reproduce.
- If you can’t dry – make the water ponds unsuitable for mosquito larvae: Add fish to the water (like Gambusia, the mosquito fish), seal the water source or add larvicide (like BTI dunks) to the water.
- Sunny backyards do not welcome Asian tiger mosquitoes. Also, odorous plants like herbs (mint, rosemary etc.), geranium, pines and citrus repel them though not too far.
- If you choose to spray your yard, make sure to replace the pesticide often to prevent resistance from evolving among your neighborhood mosquitoes.
- Talk to your neighbors to follow these mosquito control actions too. Having more neighbors controlling their property will provide a greater relief to you all.
Remember, the Asian tiger mosquitoes are poor fliers in particular. The larger the treated radius around your house is, the harder for them to fly all the way to you.