Mosquitoes host a variety of diseases. The West Nile virus is one that recently made it to the Northwest, and mosquito pest control experts warn of a new species that doesn’t bring good tidings: the Asian tiger mosquito.
WASHINGTON AND OREGON PEST MANAGEMENT: A LOOK AT THE ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO
Scientifically known as Aedes japonicas, the Asian tiger mosquito is a Japanese insect. Entomologists believe the mosquito reached the Caribbean islands in crates of lucky bamboo houseplants.
The disease that the Asian tiger mosquito carries is the chikungunya virus (CHIKV). While the virus isn’t fatal, it does cause a fever accompanied by joint swelling, muscle pain, headaches and/or a rash. Symptoms generally appear three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The word chikungunya comes from Tanzania and Mozabique, and means “that which bends up,” referring to the pain the virus causes.
THE SPREAD OF THE CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the chikungunya virus has not reached the U.S., but there were confirmed cases on the Caribbean Island of St. Martin in December 2013. At the time of publication, at least three travelers from the U.S. to the Caribbean have contracted the chikungunya virus. It won’t be long before the Asian tiger mosquito makes its way onto U.S. soil.
The CDC states that other mosquitoes that can spread the chikungunya virus and dengue are in the United States. These mosquitoes include Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Entomologists have found the species as far south as Florida’s Gulf Coast and as far north and west as Chicago, Illinois.
MOSQUITO PEST CONTROL FOR YOUR HEALTH
The number of mosquitoes that will infiltrate the region depends on timing and the weather. While the chikungunya virus and dengue haven’t reached the Pacific Northwest yet, the West Nile virus has. The best way to control the threats that mosquitoes pose is with prevention.
Because the Asian tiger mosquito behaves differently than other mosquitoes, Oregon and Washington pest control experts offer updated prevention tips:
- Eliminate all standing water from your property.
- Use covers on outdoor pools.
- Drain fountains that don’t have a functioning pump.
- Refresh the water in outdoor birdbaths regularly.
- Throw away food and food-related garbage, like wrappers, in lidded containers.
- Wear protective light-colored clothing while outside, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Avoid wearing perfume and using scented soap.
- Use outdoor ceiling fans under a covered porch to blow away mosquitoes.
- Use repellants containing DEET. (According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DEET does not present a health concern when used correctly.)
- Repel mosquitoes with green pest control techniques like using citronella candles and planting herbs and flowers that mosquitoes don’t like, such as catnip, rosemary, lemongrass, marigold, mint and wormwood.
Learn more about how to keep mosquitoes at bay.
If you need help controlling mosquitoes on your property, look into Western Exterminator Mosquito Control. The integrated pest management program controls mosquitoes and protects the natural environment. Contact Western Exterminator to learn more and to schedule a free estimate and on-site inspection.