Among the many mosquitoes that call Columbia and the surrounding area home, the Asian tiger mosquito is by far the most feared and talked about. Maybe this is in part due to its unique black and white striped appearance which give this pest its name. Mosquito Squad of Columbia receives a substantial number of inquiries about the Asian tiger mosquito and how to get rid of the little bugger. We put together a question and answer story that covers the top 10 concerns regarding this mosquito. This will put to rest any misconceptions regarding the species and make you more aware of the type of mosquito you are dealing with.
Question #1 – Why has the tiger mosquito become such a nuisance lately? Has it always been around and I didn’t notice it? Some mosquito species have visited the U.S. over the years and their existence has been short lived due to incompatibility with our climate or competition from our native species. However, this is not the case with the Asian tiger mosquito. Even though this species originated in tropical and sub-tropical climates it has acclimated itself quite well to varying conditions all over the U.S. Research indicates this is due to their prolific breeding habits and their secretive lifestyle. The Asian Tiger has proven to be much more difficult to control than any of our native mosquito species. This mosquito conforms to its surroundings very well. They are equally at home in a well maintained, landscaped yard as in an unkempt yard. The Asian tiger mosquito adjusts to its surroundings and is able to find some type of habitat to their liking no matter where they are.
Question #2 – How many eggs does an Asian tiger mosquito lay? These mosquitoes have the uncanny ability to lay hundreds of eggs in minimal space which makes controlling the species even more difficult. One female Asian tiger mosquito can lay up to 500 eggs during her 3 week life which can spawn as many as 12 generations of mosquitoes in a year.
Question #3 – Does the Asian tiger mosquito require water to breed? This species of mosquito is what is referred to as a “container breeder”. The Asian tiger mosquito can breed in a wide variety of containers, and in smaller sized containers than other native mosquito species. This mosquito will lay eggs in holes and crevices in trees, around the base of planters, within discarded tires and any object that holds water. 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.
Question #4 – What happens if/when the Asian tiger mosquito bites you? The Asian tiger mosquito is known to be a more aggressive feeder than other mosquito species. Just one tiger mosquito may bite up to ten times trying to complete its hunt for a blood meal. They are suburban and urban pests and have been known to swarm people much like a bee or yellow jacket does. Since the Asian tiger is more aggressive, the bite from one of these mosquitoes is said to be more painful than that of other mosquitoes. Asian tiger mosquitoes can also be sneaky in obtaining a blood meal and will often bite our ankles, legs and backs or undersides of arms where they are less likely to be noticed. This mosquito has been linked to West Nile virus, La Crosse and Eastern Equine encephalitis in the U.S., so it is important to avoid the mosquito if at all possible.
Question #5 – What are the feeding times for an Asian tiger mosquito? Easy answer, all the time! The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is also called the “forest day mosquito”. The reason it is sometimes referred to the forest day mosquito is because this species is a day biting mosquito. While most other species typically bite from dusk to dawn the Asian Tiger is on the prowl during the day. Outdoors, they typically only bite during the daytime which is sun-up to sundown. The Asian tiger mosquito will sometimes bite after dark, but only when there is illumination from outdoor lights, or when they get indoors.
Question #6 – Is the Asian tiger mosquito deadly? 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 on to humans such as St. Louis encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and West Nile Virus. Mosquito borne illnesses can lead to death and should not be taken lightly. This mosquito is a known vector of the deadly Dengue fever and Yellow fever in areas outside the U.S.
Question #7 – Will the Asian tiger mosquito eventually become the dominant species of mosquito here in the U.S.? 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. With its invasive tendencies and aggressive behavior the Asian tiger mosquito can out compete and even possibly eradicate other species with similar breeding habits over time.
Question #8 – How far will an Asian tiger mosquito travel during its lifetime? This mosquito usually never travels further than ½ mile of where it breeds. Since it stays close to home, your best defense is to keep them out of your yard!
Question #9 – Do male Asian tiger mosquitoes bite people? No, only the female mosquito in all mosquito species feeds on blood. Males are vegetarians and only feed from plant matter and nectar and are actually somewhat of a beneficial pollinator!
Question #10 – How can I control the Asian tiger mosquito?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. Mosquito Squad of Columbia offers protection against all species of mosquitoes, including the Asian tiger. Our safe and effective barrier spray program is designed to keep you mosquito free the entire season.