Looking forward to summer?
Did you know that the Tiger mosquito, (moustique tigre) normally native to Southeast Asia, has worked its way up the coast to North Catalonia?
These unpleasant little devils are different from the common mozzie in that they fly and attack during the day as well as night, their bites can be more painful and cause more swelling than the common or garden mozzie, and their stinger is able to pierce clothing!
As with the common or garden mozzie, male mosquitos, as well as very young mosquitos, are vegetarian and eat plant matter. It is the female of the species which stings and drinks blood from humans, animals and birds.
Whilst their bite is not particularly irritating to most people, they are persistent biters and also carriers of some rather unpleasant maladies including West Nile and Yellow fever virus, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue and Chikungunya fever.
Most importantly, don’t panic. Most tiger mozzies don’t carry disease, (they must already have bitten a diseased victim from an affected area) but they are nevertheless a significant pest.
Prevention and Control
A few tips to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:
☹ Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Bear in mind though that tiger mozzies are also active during the day!
☹ Be sure door and window screens fit tightly and are in good repair.
☹ Wear shoes, socks, long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, where possible of light colour and tightly woven materials. Remember that the tiger mozzie can still pierce clothing.
☹ Apply insect repellent, the more DEET the better. Apply to clothes when possible, and sparingly to exposed skin.
☹ Insect light traps (“bug zappers”) do very little to help – do not rely on them!
☹ Get rid of breeding places in your garden by removing water-filled containers like old tyres, pots and buckets, check bird baths, pet water dishes and paddling pools by emptying them at least once a week.
☹ Check gutters and drains to ensure a clear water flow.
☹ Surround yourself with flatworms, swimming beetles and spiders which are their natural enemies!