Tiger mosquito, why is this insect so dangerous?

Beyond the normal mosquitoes, those that suck our blood especially in the hot months, there is another variety that can be much more dangerous: the tiger mosquito.

His own name says it all; It is not a normal mosquito, but is capable of transmitting some Tropical diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika. As for the Spanish areas where it usually operates, the mediterranean coast It is the one with the most presence of this insect.

«Scientifically known as Aedes albopictus, is an invasive exotic species native to Southeast Asia ”, he explains Mikel Bengoa, doctor in entomology specialized in the tiger mosquito and collaborator of Anticimex Spain (@anticimex_esp). To face its threat it is vital to know how it acts. «Its season of activity runs from May to October and, unlike other native mosquito species, has daytime activity, biting us mainly before sunset in the area of ​​the ankles. Its flight range is very small, about 400 meters in its entire life, so if we are bitten by a tiger mosquito, it is very possible that we are breeding it in our garden unintentionally ”, he explains in this regard.

What precautions to take?

Regarding the recommendations that should be taken to avoid its sting, Doctor Bengoa himself refers to the following:

  • Eliminate breeding foci. One of the most important aspects to prevent tiger mosquito bites is to prevent it from completing its biological cycle. They have a larval phase in which they necessarily need liquid water. Any water container for seven days is therefore enough to have a mosquito breeding area. Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate objects that can accumulate rain or irrigation water for days, such as containers, flowerpots, siphons, ornamental fountains, abandoned swimming pools, puddles on the lawn or any other place where standing water can accumulate. It is also advisable to renew and clean the water in the animals’ drinkers every 2 or 3 days and avoid excessive watering.
  • Avoid shady and humid areas. Although in summer you want to shelter from the sun under trees or awnings, the shade is the preferred place for the tiger mosquito to rest.
  • Respect insectivores. Animals such as frogs, lizards, nightingales or swallows, which feed mainly on insects, carry out a biological control of mosquitoes.
  • Use suitable repellants. Although natural is in fashion, repellants based on citronella, lemon or eucalyptus are not as effective as those containing DEET or Icaridin, recommended by the WHO. Both assets disorient mosquitoes and alter their receptors so that they cannot locate people. In addition, various investigations have shown that there are some perfumes formulated with DEET that also keep mosquitoes away, although they last less time than a repellent.
  • Place mosquito nets on doors and windows throughout the house to prevent entry.
Mosquito net installation
  • Being close to cooling systems. Fans and air conditioning help keep mosquitoes away indoors. This is due to the fact that the low temperature slows down the activity of the mosquitoes and the turbulence of the air generated by these appliances bother and hinder their flight.
  • Dress in appropriate clothing. It is advisable to try to cover the skin with long sleeves and pants that cover the ankle to protect ourselves from the tiger mosquito. Also, another element is to avoid dark garments since it attracts them more than light colors.
  • Not scratch. In case of a sting, rubbing the affected area not only does not eliminate the swelling and itching, but it makes it worse. Scratching excessively can also lead to infection of the rash.
  • Cool the affected area. To mitigate the discomfort and prevent the mosquito’s saliva from spreading and causing swelling, a little local cold or diluted ammonia can be applied.
  • In case of allergic reaction, Go to the doctor to evaluate the case and, if deemed necessary, prescribe antihistamines or a corticosteroid cream.