Click on image to enlarge.
Scientific name: Arthropoda: Insecta: Diptera: Culicidae:
Common Name: Information Sheet 3, Asian Tiger Mosquito 2008
Photographer: E. M. Barrows
Identifier: E. M. Barrows
Are Mosquitoes Biting You in Montgomery County, Maryland? What Can We Citizens Do about It?
Its July 18th. Youve been working hard, and now its time to relax in your garden or on your deck. You sit down on your deck with a cool drink, and the Carolina Wren and Northern Cardinal are singing. Its peaceful. No offensive leaf blower is blasting, and you dont hear the loud whining of a saw because no one is cutting down a beautiful neighborhood tree.
Hummmmmmmm, zap. An alien, aggressive Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) lands on the side of your face. The Mosquito is very quiet, and when she bites, she causes no pain. Then she leaves, and in a few seconds, you feel a stinging sensation and your new little pink welt starts to itch. You ignore your bite and continue to enjoy the late afternoon. Hummmmmmmm, land, zap. A second Tiger bites you. Hummmmmmmm, land, zap. A third Tiger bites you. You no longer enjoy your yard, and go indoors, even though you like the outdoors and pay very high taxes to live in Montgomery County, MD.
A few days later, you forget about the pesky Tigers, and decide to work in your garden. Within a minute, five Tigers find you, and you quickly receive three bites on your neck. You go indoors and put on protective jeans and a denim shirt, although its 85 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% relative humidity. You spray an insect repellant around your ankles to stop Tigers from flying up your pant legs and biting your legs. You cover all exposed skin with repellent. Now you are ready to work outdoors. You are hot, but protected from bites.
You try to work in your yard at different times of the day to avoid the Tigers. Unfortunately, you find that they bite 24 hours per day when air temperature is 75 degrees or higher.
Before the Tigers came to the Washington, DC, Area (WDCA) in about 1990, gardeners could garden barefooted, in shorts, and in short-sleeved shirts, and rarely get a mosquito bite in most parts of the Area. After the Tigers arrived, one could get hundreds of bites per hour in ones yard.
Not only is this mosquito species a vicious biter, but it also transmits Dengue Fever, West Nile Fever, and other deadly diseases. Fortunately, the Tigers have not yet infected people in the WDCA with dangerous Dengue Fever as they have elsewhere in the US (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/dengue/dengue-hcp.htm). Nonetheless, with Global Environmental Changes occurring, the Tigers could become even worse pests.
Information from Rockville, Maryland (http://www.rockvillemd.gov/residents/westnile.htm) includes,
“Asian Tigers breed ONLY in small containers: cans, bottles, bottle caps, children's toys, wading pools, trash cups, old tires, anything that can hold as little as a teaspoon of water. They do not breed in ponds or other large bodies of water. Large-scale spraying is not effective against Asian Tiger mosquitoes. The only way to be rid of them is by eliminating their breeding places. Asian Tigers are extremely weak flyers with a range of only about 50 feet, so if you have Asian Tigers look carefully around your property or your adjacent neighbors' property for their source.”
In addition in my neighborhood, I found that the Tigers also breed in untended swimming pools with stagnant water and small, ornamental yard ponds and pools that do not have effective Tiger predators such as fish. I notice that in the summer, the number of Tigers decreases during dry spells. But then about 10 days after rain after dry spells, the number of Tigers rises again. Evidently the Tigers are finding pools of water as breeding places after rains.
So what can we do to reduce the numbers of Tigers in our yards in our neighborhoods?
1. Eliminate all standing water in your flower-pot dishes, gutters, and so forth.
2. Search for small breeding places that might be hidden in your yard, e.g., bottle caps, toys, pools of water on tarps, and so forth. Eliminate these breeding places.
3. Maintain fish in your garden pool(s). If you cannot maintain fish throughout the Tiger adult season (April through November), drain your pond and fill it in with earth or put mosquito dunks (http://www.pestproducts.com/mosquito_dunks.htm) into your pond. I had three biologically interesting little garden pools in my garden, but eliminated all of them in the 1990s because of the Tiger Mosquitoes.
4. If you have water dishes beneath your flower pots or other vessels of water that you want to keep in your yard, empty them at least every 6 days to stop the development of any immature mosquitoes in the vessels. If you pour the water on the ground where it will flow into the ground, the mosquito larvae will die because they obtain their food from water by filtering out organic material.
Please click here for more information on the Asian Tiger Mosquito on this website.
I hope this information helps you,
Edd Barrows, Wehawken Road (2008)