The link between the Asian Tiger mosquito and West Nile Virus

Asian tiger on leaf

The Asian tiger mosquito is a known vector of West Nile virus, Dengue and Yellow Fever.

Along with being an aggressive day feeding mosquito, the Asian Tiger mosquito is also a known vector of West Nile Virus and is a vector of Dengue and Yellow fever as well. This mosquito, which made its appearance here in North America by hitching a ride within a shipment of tires bound for Texas from Asia in 1985, is definitely foe rather than friend. West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness that  is primarily spread through infected mosquitoes. West Nile virus infection affects humans, horses and other domestic animals. The first case of West Nile in South Carolina was reported in 2002.

With West Nile cases, symptoms generally appear within 3-14 days after the onset of infection. Symptoms include fever, headache and body aches. Although in some cases people won’t have any symptoms at all. West Nile Virus can move into becoming West Nile Encephalitis in one out of 150 people infected with West Nile Virus. This is a dangerous, neuroinvasive disease that causes inflammation of the area that surrounds the brain as well as the spinal cord. Signs that West Nile Encephalitis is present include stiffness of the neck, severe headaches, confusion, tremors, seizures, paralysis, coma and in some cases death.

Asian Tiger Mosquito Columbia SC

Fortunately, South Carolina has been testing for West Nile since 1999 which includes detection in birds, mosquitoes, mammals and humans.  At this point  the only cure for West Nile is time. The medical professionals focus on relieving the patient of  the symptoms while their body tries to fight the illness. This means that the best measure against West Nile is prevention.

Since the Asian Tiger mosquito, or Aedes albopictus , as well as forty-three other mosquito species are known to transmit the West Nile virus, it is in your best interests to avoid mosquitoes. Avoidance begins with controlling and preventing mosquitoes within your property. Exercising mosquito safe practices such as avoiding overgrowth and keeping your lawn and shrubbery trimmed and cleaned out is one way to discourage mosquitoes that like to harbor in the cool, damp, shady surroundings of an unkempt yard. Examining your property and around your house frequently for any sign of standing water and keep these turned over. Throw away or tip over any object that can pool water. Keep your gutters clean. Change the water in your bird bath, animal watering containers, and horse troughs frequently to avoid them becoming a nursery for new mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Having a licensed mosquito control professional treat your yard and property to kill and prevent mosquitoes as well.

Mosquito Squad of Columbia fights the bite with our safe and effective barrier spray programs designed to take the worry out of mosquito control and prevention. Our spray is applied on a regular schedule throughout the season to keep the mosquitoes and the dangers they pose to us, our family and our pets away all season long too. Contact us to learn more about our mosquito control programs and all of our other pest control programs as well. We also treat for fire ants, fleas, ticks, spiders and flies. Call us today to get started on your season long protection • (803) 345 – 7575 • email: columbia@mosquitosquad.com

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Winter hearty mosquito eggs? Unfortunately, yes!

Mosquito eggs

Just one female mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, and can do lay up to 3 batches during her lifetime.

We’ve had a cold winter here in the Columbia area including a couple big snowstorms and even a mild earthquake – both of which are very unusual to our area. As we Carolinians anxiously await Spring, we might hope that last year’s mosquitoes were one thing that didn’t survive this winter. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Mosquitoes have a few ways to survive over winter. When female mosquitoes lay their eggs in late summer, those eggs can go dormant in water or even under ice to spring to life once the warmer weather hits. Some of these eggs can even survive in moist soils only to be brought back to life with the smallest pool of water and a gently elevated temperature. A small number of mosquitoes may also overwinter while in their larval stage. Often larvae will lay in wait in mud and the edges of freshwater ponds awaiting temperatures to rise so they can begin feeding again.

The adult mosquito is the brave winter warrior

In addition to mosquito eggs surviving winter, adult female mosquitoes can also survive the winter. They may enter into hibernation in hollow logs, burrows or even in basements in a state of torpor, a temporary state of suspension or sleep,  only to emerge from hibernation in the spring.

The magic number?

mosquito trapped in amber

Mosquito trapped in amber that dates back to the time when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

Is there a specific temperature that will bring mosquitoes back to life? Surprisingly, mosquito eggs can even lie dormant for a couple of years. In fact, mosquito eggs can be very hearty. Mosquitoes can survive in temperatures as low as 50 degrees but they function best at 80 degrees and up. We all know how quickly our temperatures can get back up to 70 and 80 degrees. And, unfortunately, warmer days followed by extremely cold days still don’t lead to certain death for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can regulate their own temperature to go into a semi-hibernation mode which is how some adult mosquitoes are alive and buzzing at the first sight of a sunny day,or biting us while we enjoy that rare Indian summer.  Keep in mind that mosquitoes have been around for over 170 million years. Their uncanny ability to acclimate to diverse temperatures and regulate their own temperatures may be one of the main reasons they survived the Ice Age even when the dinosaurs did not!

A good example of the mosquito’s ability to evolve to thrive in various climates is the Asian Tiger Mosquito. This mosquito is indigenous to Asia and South American countries which have tropical and subtropical climates. Nonetheless, it has rapidly taken up residence in areas of the US as far east as Maine.

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Mosquito Squad of Columbia is waging war against disease carrying mosquitoes like the Asian tiger mosquito in Columbia SC.

Before you begin to panic, there are safeguards you can take to decrease the number of mosquitoes that come out to play. The first of these is routinely inspecting your property for the presence of standing water. This is especially important after a snow or heavy rain. Rainwater and  melting snow can pool in the most miniscule reservoirs making the perfect spot for mosquitoes to breed. Keeping your lawn and areas around your yard free of deadfall will discourage overwintering mosquitoes to find refuge so close to your home. The average mosquito will only travel a short distance to acquire a blood meal. Mosquito species most common to the Columbia SC area, such as the Asian tiger, have a  limited flight ranges of about 300 feet. This means the less areas you leave for them to breed or hibernate will reduce their numbers in your yard significantly — out of sight means out of mind.

mosquito larvae in standing water

Mosquito larvae in standing water.

One of the most effective safeguards when used in conjunction with keeping your property free of standing water and deadfall, is to have your property treated by a mosquito control professional. Mosquito Squad of Columbia uses a safe and effective mosquito barrier control spray to eliminate mosquitoes within treated areas while preventing more from entering into the treated area (your property). Our easy, worry free scheduling ensures there are no gaps in service. We will set you up on a scheduled interval to spray your yard in order to gain complete control over mosquitoes and their ability to multiply, breed and set up housekeeping on your turf!  Our service is easy, proven, safe and highly effective.

Dread Skeeter - thats meNow is the time to schedule your season long mosquito control. Warm weather is almost here and the recent abundance of  wet weather means that in a few short weeks mosquito populations will explode.  Our program is backed by our expertise and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to learn more. Call us today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 • Email:Columbia@MosquitoSquad.com

Our Mosquito Squad of Columbia family

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia.

 

Mosquito Squad of Columbia is committed to supporting Malaria No More - One Child at a Time

Mosquito Squad of Columbia is a proud supporter of Malaria No More.

Mosquito Squad of Columbia answers the top 10 questions about the Asian tiger mosquito

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Mosquito Squad of Columbia is waging war against disease carrying mosquitoes like the Asian tiger mosquito in Columbia SC.

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.

Mosquito eggs

Mosquito eggs- yuck!

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.

Asian tiger on leaf

The Asian tiger mosquito population continues to grow and strengthen globally.

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!

Mosquito Squad of Columbia doesn't give mosquitoes or ticks a biting chance

Mosquito Squad of Columbia doesn’t give mosquitoes or ticks a biting chance

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.

Take the tiger by the tail this season and contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to learn more. Call us today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 • email: Columbia@MosquitoSquad.com

Mosquito Squad of Columbia introduces you to the heavyweight of biting mosquitoes; the Gallinipper

dread-versions3Sunny Florida remains a go to vacation destination for many Columbia, SC residents. The white beaches, the azure blue water and the local flavor within Florida’s cities and towns has always made it a popular place to leave all your cares behind. Floridians and those drawn to Florida already have a long list of the reasons they love the sunshine state. This summer there will be one notable addition to the list of things they aren’t so fond of  called a Gallinipper.

What is a Gallinipper?

The proper name for a Gallinipper is a Psorophora ciliata. The term “gallinipper” isn’t recognized by most entomologists, but over the past century, the word, and the Gallinipper itself, entered popular legend through Southern folktales, minstrel shows and blues songs which spoke of a giant mosquito with a nasty bite according to a report from The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. This mammoth mosquito has a bite so painful it has become the stuff of legends with references of the mosquito going all the way back to 1897. It is also referred to as a monster mosquito, and a giant mosquito which are the best ways to describe this skeeter. A Gallinipper is roughly 20 times the size of a regular mosquito with an adult size comparable with that of a quarter! Physical characteristics of the Gallinipper include hairy back legs with zebra like patterns and yellow scales on the thorax of the insect.

This mosquito is feared because not only because of its enormous size but its aggressive feeding habits. Gallinippers feed day and night unlike the dusk to dawn biting mosquitoes we are accustomed to dealing with. Their bodies are strong enough to bite through clothing, and when you get bit by one of these giants it really hurts! Floridians who live in more rural, grassy areas that are prone to flooding are more likely to come in contact with  these mosquitoes than city dwellers which is good news for tourism.

Gallinipper mosquito

Meet the Gallinipper. The largest known biting mosquito of the U.S.

Psorophora ciliata is the largest known biting mosquitoes in the U.S. Even though these mosquitoes are normally seen in Florida, this year’s population prediction could make them more menacing than usual simply because of their sheer size and expected numbers. Gallinippers are floodwater mosquitoes which lay their eggs in low-lying areas with damp soil and grassy overgrowth. Tropical storms in Florida caused a record number of these mosquitoes last summer, whose eggs to lay in wait until this season. If these areas flood following a dry period, the eggs will hatch and produce very large numbers of adult mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are known to be so veracious even in their larval stage they will eat tadpoles, small aquatic prey and have even been reported to exhibit cannibalistic behavior and eat larvae of their own kind! This mosquito is not reported to carry any diseases that can be passed onto us or our pets. The only positive attribute of the Gallinipper is the fact they also feed on the larvae of other mosquitoes including the Asian tiger mosquito and other mosquitoes that are known vectors of mosquito-borne illness and disease. These mosquitoes prove the old adage that bigger is better wrong, but the silver lining is that an explosive Gallinipper population will help reduce the numbers of mosquitoes that could potentially make Floridians very sick.no-mosquito

Thankfully, here in Columbia, SC we don’t have to worry about coming into contact with this big, mean mosquito. Here on the home front we have the first line of defense in controlling and preventing mosquitoes covered. Mosquito Squad of Columbia can control and prevent mosquitoes on your property for the entire season with our safe and effective barrier spray program. It is safe, easy and it works!  Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 • email:Columbia@MosquitoSquad.com

Top 10 things you need to know about Asian Tiger mosquitoes in Columbia, S.C.

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.

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Mosquito Squad of Columbia is waging war against disease carrying mosquitoes like the Asian tiger mosquito in Columbia SC.

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.

Asian tiger on leaf

The Asian tiger mosquito population continues to grow and strengthen globally.

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.

Asian-Mosquito8) 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.

Take the tiger by the tail this season and contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to learn more. Call us today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 • email:columbia@mosquitosquad.com

Mosquito Squad of Columbia takes the tiger (mosquito) by the tail

Asian tiger on leaf

The Asian tiger mosquito displays similar markings to its namesake, the tiger.

The Asian Tiger mosquito ( Aedes albopictus), also known as the  forest day mosquito, made its debut into North America in 1985 by hitching a ride in a shipment of used tires from Asia bound for the port of Houston, TX. Since that fateful day the Asian tiger mosquito has been moving its way across the United States rapidly and can now be found as far up our East coast as Maine.

Named for its similarities in coloration to its namesake, the Asian Tiger mosquito has bold black and white stripes on its legs as well as its body. The similarities to the tiger don’t stop there. This mosquito is said to also be very aggressive at feeding time as well. What makes the Asian Tiger so unique is the way in which it feeds. There are over 3,500 species of named mosquitoes throughout the world, most of these species typically like to feed from dusk until dawn. The Asian tiger mosquito however, is what is called a “day feeder”, meaning that it will feed anytime throughout the day with little regard for the presence of humidity or heat. This species is well-acclimated to tropical and sub-tropical regions and is steadily gaining resistance to some of the cooler climates found here in North America. As this invasive species moves into more regions of the U.S., it is continuously evolving to accommodate its ever-changing environment. Its feeding is more aggressive and many cite that the Tiger’s bite is more painful.

Asian-MosquitoOne of the reasons behind the Asian Tiger’s aggressive feeding habits quite possibly lies in its persistence. All female mosquitoes must ingest blood for proper development of their eggs.  This  particular mosquito will return to feed off of its victim to get it’s fill of blood even once it is swatted away. The Asian also feeds off a variety of mammals which leads to cross pathogens that can contribute to the transference of certain mosquito-borne diseases and illnesses. The Asian Tiger mosquito is a known vector of  West Nile, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis and Heartworms in pets – all of which have been reported in the Midlands of South Carolina.

This mosquito, along with being one of the most bloodthirsty of its class, is also known to be a master at laying its eggs in some of the smallest crevices in miniscule amounts of water including gutters, holes and crevices in trees, dense foliage and brush that may hold moisture and even in our trash and litter. A single soda bottle cap can become a nursery to hundreds of mosquito larvae. Anything that can hold or pool water within your landscape and around your home can serve as a place for a female mosquito to lay her eggs. It is of the utmost importance to inspect your surroundings on a regular basis and turn over, tip over or throw out anything that can aid in the mosquitoes reproductive process. Mosquito Squad calls this the five T’s of mosquito prevention.

  • Tip
  • Toss
  • Turn
  • Remove Tarps and tires
  • Treat

Following this formula will  prevent mosquitoes from biting you and your family and pets, and to reduce the risk of contracting a mosquito-borne illness or disease.

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Mosquito Squad of Columbia is waging war on mosquitoes and fighting the bite!

Mosquito Squad of Columbia understands the concerns that arise when you or someone you love gets even one unnecessary mosquito bite this season. The magic part of our treatment is that you don’t have to experience even the first bite by using our system. Our service entails spraying your property on regularly scheduled intervals for optimum mosquito control. Our barrier sprays are safe, effective and worry free. Once you have signed up with us, you won’t have to worry about scheduling or keeping track of when it is time to call us because our service is automatic. You may even forget about mosquitoes altogether without the hassle of having to spray yourself and your family down with dangerous topicals before each trip into your yard. Our philosophy is to treat your yard, instead of yourself.

To learn more about fighting the bite this season, including the dreaded Asian Tiger mosquito, contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia and enjoy your time outdoors for all the right reasons. Call us today to sign up• (803) 345 – 7575 • email: columbia@mosquitosquad.com