Attack of the Urban Mosquitoes
Aggressive and Hard to Kill: Two Asian Cityslickers Swarm the East Coast
The latest scourge crossing the country has a taste for the big city.
The Asian tiger mosquito, named for its distinctive black-and-white striped body, is a relatively new species to the U.S. that is more vicious, harder to kill and, unlike most native mosquitoes, bites during the daytime. It also prefers large cities over rural or marshy areas—thus earning the nickname among entomologists as “the urban mosquito.”
“Part of the reason it is called ‘tiger’ is also because it is very aggressive,” says Dina Fonseca, an associate professor of entomology at Rutgers University. “You can try and swat it all you want, but once it’s on you, it doesn’t let go. Even if it goes away, it will be back for a bite.”
Swat Team: What Works
Dr. Fonseca is leading a U.S. Department of Agriculture effort to develop a cost-effective method to control the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) population. The university is currently focusing on using larvacides, which render larvae incapable of growing into adults.
Since urban areas tend to be warmer—often by 5 to 10 degrees—than rural areas, cities are seeing tiger mosquitoes earlier and sticking around longer, often into October.
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Researchers who want to experiment with similar applicatons for mosquitos should contact Frequency Foundation.