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

Advertisements

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