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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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