By Raymond King, MS, District Director of Environmental Health
It’s that time of year again to guard against mosquitoes, and the Asian Tiger Mosquito is the most common mosquito in our area. It is the most pestiferous daytime biter, and it is easy to recognize by its jet-black body and white markings. If you have been pursued and bitten by one, you know why they are called tiger mosquitoes. They will follow you inside your home in search of human blood.
This mosquito species is not native to North America but was introduced in the mid-1980’s through the import of used automobile tires from Hong Kong. Since then, it has spread throughout much of the eastern United States. It can transmit diseases of public health concern like Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya and Dengue Fever.
The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is what we call a “container-breeder”, using almost any kind of small water container for its larvae such as bottle caps, tires, buckets, drink cans, bird baths, house gutters, yard toys, and especially plates under outside plants. It takes very little water to support many of its larvae. The easiest way to control Asian Tiger Mosquitoes and other mosquito species is to dump out the water in these containers. Their larvae can also sometimes be found in natural habitats such as puddles, tree holes, and around the edges of small ponds.
Perform a survey around the outside of your home and carefully inspect for anything that could hold water for a week or more. Adult Asian Tiger Mosquitoes do not fly far from where they hatch, so there is a good chance their larvae are on your own property.
If you cannot empty containers, gutters or puddles, then treat these with a biological control product called Mosquito Dunks®, which is available at any hardware store. They look like donuts and you can break them up into small pieces for small containers. Treatments last for thirty days. Mosquito Dunks® contain bacteria that are only fatal to mosquitoes and have no effects on humans, pets, birds or wildlife. Most mosquito larvae die within a few hours of placing dunks in the water and dunks are effective against all species of mosquito larvae.