(Aedes albopictus) is a species of Diptera Nematocera belonging to the Culicidae family. It is characterized by its black color with white decorated chest and abdomen, the are legs black with white bands and a characteristic central longitudinal white line on the chest and head. It has a length of between about 1/8 inch (5 and 10 mm). Like other species of mosquito, the female has a long and slender tube, the proboscis, which is like a pen, used to bite and draw blood of vertebrates, especially mammals and birds, which uses for egg development. Males of the species, like that of other mosquitoes feed on nectar.
Ecologically the larvae of this species is in containers where there are small amounts of water that are in shady places such as jars, buckets, vases, plant saucers and other objects containing water in gardens, yards, vacant lots, and water-filled cavities in trees. In our environment the mosquito systematically exploits the human source water for reproduction. Their sting, even through thin clothing like socks, it is very annoying. The other thing with the Asian Tiger Mosquito is that they come out and sting in daylight hours when many native species do not usually bite.
The Asian Tiger Mosquito is an invasive species native to Southeast Asia, having spread throughout Africa, Europe and America since 1979 and subsequently many areas of the Pacific. Their arrival has occurred during transportation of persons or goods with remains of standing water such as used tires, or ornamental plants such as the Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana).
In endemic areas the Asain Tiger Mosquito spreads diseases like dengue in Central America, South Pacific, the yellow fever and although much less frequently than the Culex pipiens or Aedes aegypti vector can be in transmission of West Nile Virus . American studies have shown the presence of virus in the insect, that can cause disease in humans such as eastern equine encephalitis .
In the summer of 2007, an outbreak epidemic of chikungunya fever in Ravenna, Italy produced by the virus CHIKV and was spread by the bite of the Asian Tiger Mosquito. Until then, the disease had affected only tropical countries, which triggered global awareness to this pest and what it is capable of.
In countries where it has spread, the fight for its eradication is difficult and very expensive, so it is suitable to act as early as possible by raising awareness among institutions and citizens to prevent this spread. Among the actions proposed are:
- Properly manage the storage, transport processes and the recycling of used tires. This seems like it should be one of the key actions is to limit its intercontinental expansion, since they have linked the spread of mosquito routes, with the latter transport cargo worldwide.
- Avoid potential reservoirs for mosquito breeding such as containers, pots, cans or any other utensil in which the water can not be refilled at least every week.
- Insect repellents when you are outdoors, taking into account the instructions and precautions relating to the product. The ultrasonic emission devices advertised in the market are completely ineffective ‘to protect themselves from any mosquito.
The Asian Tiger Mosquito needs little in order to multiply. By inspecting your yard especially after it rains to make sure there is no standing water will help keep them away. If you have not seen one, consider yourself lucky because this mosquito is bold and aggressive with almost a well thought out plan going backing forth trying to figure out where to sting you – and it hurts!