Tiger Mosquitoes

In 1985, the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, was discovered in Houston, Texas.  This was the first time that species had been found in the western hemisphere.  It likely came to the United States by hitchhiking in used tires.  In August of 1986, two Chatham County Mosquito Control employees found this mosquito in the Savannah area.  Additional studies showed that this new pest had spread to every county in Georgia by 1993.  In fact, it has been found in 26 states, including every county in Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. 
 
Unfortunately, the tiger mosquito loves to live around people.  In fact it prefers to feed on humans and our pets.  We believe it may carry dog heartworm, and it could be a potential vector of Dengue Fever in our area if the disease ever becomes established here.
 
The Asian tiger mosquito has a life history similar to other mosquitoes in the county.  They have four life stages, egg, larva, pupa, and adult, just like all of our other mosquitoes.  The adult female lays eggs that hatch in water.  The larvae and pupae develop in water and serve as a food source for fish and beneficial insects.  The adults emerge in about 7-10 days after the eggs hatch.  But the similarity to our other mosquitoes stops here!  The Asian tiger mosquito doesn't behave in a way that makes it easy to control.
 
Mosquito Control likes to control mosquitoes in the immature aquatic stages.  This prevents their emergence as pesky adults and allows us to use more environmentally friendly control methods.  The bad news is that the tiger likes to lay its eggs in small containers that are scattered everywhere around the county.  Its impossible for 30 very dedicated people to find all these containers to protect our residents from this nuisance.
 
When we spray with our trucks and aircraft to control adult mosquitoes, we conduct these operations at dawn, dusk or after dark.  We do this to control the other 39 kinds of mosquitoes in the county.  Also, our sprays are effective only if the material hangs in the air like fog, as it does in the evening on a warm summer night.  The tiger mosquito is active during the day when the ocean breezes are at their peak.  The turbulent daytime winds do not allow our sprays to control mosquitoes very well during the day.
 
The tiger mosquito stays close to home.  The adults do not fly very far from where they develop in all those containers.  They usually remain within 300 feet of their emergence site.  Worldwide, this pest is controlled by cooperative residents in each community infested.
 
Because the tiger mosquito doesn't fly very far, it can be easily eliminated from each neighborhood if ALL property owners discard waste containers or change the water in decorative items.  You don't need to worry about big swimming pools but we have a long and growing list of things that we have found with developing tiger mosquito larvae and pupae.  The list includes: pet dishes, toy trucks, suitcases, jars used to root plant cuttings, flower pots and especially those saucers, canvas boat covers, bottles, bottle caps, tin cans, plastic freezer containers, bird baths, automobiles (yep), sand boxes, small plastic swimming pools, refrigerators, ranges, live plants whose leaves hold water (bromeliads like pineapples), tree holes and tires!  Please throw away unwanted items and change water in your birdbath and other water holding containers twice each week.