If you’ve been bitten by the Asian Tiger mosquito – you know it. It hurts! And, this species of mosquito is both a day feeder and extremely aggressive. They will often swarm and feed more aggressively than the typical mosquito. The Asian Tiger mosquito is alive and thriving in Columbia which spells big trouble for us. The aggressive painful bites pale in comparison to the fact that Asian Tigers can be carriers of West Nile Virus.
Top 10 things you need to know about the Asian tiger mosquito
1) They are day feeders. Some researchers refer to the species as the “Forest day mosquito” for this reason. The proper name for the species is Aedes albopictus and they will prey on their hosts from sun-up until sun-down looking for their next meal. This is unusual for a mosquito which generally bites from dusk until dawn, so with the Asian tiger mosquito you have to be protected on all your daytime outings in order to stay bite free.
2) The female Asian tiger lays her eggs near water, not directly in the water as other mosquitoes do. Often times Asian Tigers will lay their eggs near stagnant mud holes, pools, and in tree crevices and holes. They will also use any container that will eventually pool water. They have the uncanny ability to lay hundreds of eggs in minimal spaces, which makes controlling the species more difficult. Simply turning over vessels and containers that do hold water turns into a probability challenge; you have to turn over and throw away any items near your home and on your property that have the ability to hold water in the near future to control the egg laying habits of this species. In some cases it becomes a guessing game.
3) You can spot them in a crowd. The physical characteristic black and white markings of this mosquito make it easy to identify. The coloration is key to its namesake; the tiger.
4) They can transmit disease. Since the Asian tiger will feed of numerous hosts in the cycle of getting enough blood to aid in the development of her eggs, she can pass dangerous mosquito-borne diseases onto humans such as St. Louis encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and West Nile Virus and can also infect our pets with roundworm parasites. This mosquito is a known vector of Dengue fever and Yellow fever as well.
5) They can be persistent. Unlike other species of mosquitoes that are easily swatted away never to return, the Asian tiger will aggressively seek a host and if the blood meal is cut short, she will return again and again until her goal has been achieved.
6) They are quickly acclimating to cooler temperatures. Originally the species is native to tropical and subtropical regions, but is quickly becoming more adapted to cooler temperatures which can spell trouble. Adaptation to cooler temperatures will mean a longer season controlling them and the quick spread of the species into cooler areas of North America.
7) An invasive species indeed. Since the arrival of the Asian tiger via a fateful delivery of used tires from Asia bound for Texas, the species has quickly moved to regions all over North America. A recent survey showed at that point it had already established itself in 36 states, and here in the South it is quickly becoming a common name.
8) It could eventually overpower other mosquito species to take the lead. With its invasive tendencies and aggressive behavior the Asian tiger mosquito can out compete and even possibly eradicate other species with similar breeding habits. This species gives new meaning to the saying “only the strong survive”.
9) It has a history of causing epidemics. The Asian tiger mosquito can be named for causing the Chikungunya epidemic on the French Island of La Réunion in 2005–2006. This epidemic caused 266,000 people to become infected with the virus, and 248 of those infected died. It was also to blame for another outbreak of Chikungunya in an Italian province in 2007. This concerns researchers here in the US about the likelihood of the species causing a similar epidemic on American soil.
10) Fight the bite. Keep in mind that the Asian tiger mosquito is controllable and preventable. Mosquito Squad of Columbia offers protection against all species of mosquitoes, including the Asian tiger. Safe mosquito practices such as keeping your property free of debris and potential mosquito breeding areas and treating your property will keep the mosquitoes away from your home and yard. Our safe and effective barrier spray program is designed to keep you mosquito free the entire season.