“We are at a critical stage.”

Tiger mosquito with the distinctive black and white stripes that give it its name.Image by NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tiger mosquitoes can transmit tropical diseases such as dengue fever, with symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, and pain behind the eyes. Tiger mosquitoes that are not infected with viruses also cause a lot of inconvenience. This species bites during the day, so mosquito nets provide no protection.

Tiger mosquitoes recently appeared in a shopping complex in Weert, and the Dutch Consumer Products and Food Safety Authority will start a major control campaign this week. In such a procedure, mosquito fighters go from door to door, looking for places with standing water; Mosquitoes can already breed in a layer of water in a roof gutter or in a fallen soft drink bottle cap. If the water cannot be removed, treatment with granules kills the larvae. Mosquito traps with attractants and sewer inspections should provide more information about mosquito infestations.

It’s just the beginning of the mosquito season, but the tiger mosquito has already appeared in Montfort, Helendoorn and in Noordoostpolder. In recent years, NVWA More residential areas with tiger mosquitoesup to eight last year.

The tiger mosquito is native to Southeast Asia. Through international transport of, for example, car tires and Lucky Bamboo plants, mosquitoes have spread across North America and Europe, among others. In holiday countries such as Italy, Spain, France and also in southern Germany, the mosquito has already managed to hibernate and establish itself in some areas.

In the Netherlands, as far as is known, it is limited to importing mosquitoes, via traffic or transport, after which control prevents mosquitoes from permanently migrating to the Netherlands. This fight is getting tougher, says Sander Koenrat, a mosquito expert at Wageningen University. “The number of places in Europe where tiger mosquitoes are found is increasing, as is the risk of people returning with them without a doubt, for example in their caravan or caravans. If the mosquito then breeds, it will be a while before the nuisance starts and people sound the alarm. And then there are often hundreds of mosquitoes already.

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A warming climate also works in favor of the mosquito, which feels more comfortable in warmer temperatures. Koenraadt: “We are at a critical stage, because the Netherlands is getting warmer in winter so that mosquitoes can survive. And if a mosquito bites an infected person, the evolution of the virus in the mosquito’s body also accelerates at higher temperatures.”

How do I identify the tiger mosquito?

The tiger mosquito is a relatively small mosquito, which takes its name from the striped pattern. They have a white stripe on their black back. The tip of the hind legs is white, they do not have spots on the wings. Many people find it difficult to identify a tiger mosquito. Last year, NVWA received nearly 600 reports from citizens who thought they had spotted one. In only 10 cases it turned out to be a tiger mosquito. Usually, on closer examination, the mosquito was domestic, like a large mosquito.

Megan Vasquez

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