• Biodiversity Asian Tiger Mosquito
  • Asian Tiger Mosquito

    Aedes albopictus

    Aedes albopictus was first reported in Europe in 1979 in Albania. In 1985 it was reported in Texas, USA and has since spread northward and eastward, having now been reported in at least 32 US states including Hawaii. This expansion was facilitated by the movement of used tyres along the interstate highways. In Latin America it was first reported in Brazil in 1986 and later in Mexico in 1988. In Africa, it was first detected in 1990 in South Africa but establishment was only reported in 2000 from Cameroon.

    After entering the United States almost twenty years ago, Aedes albopictus has spread throughout much of the eastern states. The mosquito was most likely transported along highways and other major roadways in shipments of used tires imported from other countries for retreading. On January 1988, the U.S. Public Health Service required all used tires entering the U.S. from known endemic countries be dry, clean and treated with fumigants. Surveillance for Ae. albopictuswas initiated in 1986 and this species continues to be monitored by public health agencies.

    Management of adult populations is more complicated than for other species due to insecticide tolerance to malathion, temephos and bediocarb (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1987). In many suburban areas, complaints to health departments are more frequently due to Ae. albopictus than in former years when Ae. aegypti was the most commonly reported nuisance mosquito. Source reduction is an effective way for people in the community to manage the populations of many mosquitoes, especially container breeding species such as the Asian tiger. The removal of mosquito breeding habitat can be an effective method for mosquito control.

    Eliminate any standing water on the property, change pet watering dishes, overflow dishes for potted plants, and bird bath water frequently. Do not allow water to accumulate in tires, flower pots, buckets, rain barrels, gutters etc. Use personal protection to avoid mosquito bites. Long sleeves and insect repellent such as DEET will reduce exposure to bites. The Asian tiger mosquito is a day biter with feeding peaks early morning and late afternoon, so by limiting outdoor activities during crepuscular periods (dawn and dusk) when mosquitoes are generally most active, bites can be avoided.

     

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    Written by Rob Nelson

    Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is also an award-winning filmmaker. As principle director of Untamed Science productions his goal is to create videos and content that are both entertaining and educational. When he's not making science content, he races slalom kayaks and skydives.

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