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Tiger Mosquito in New Jersey Carries West Nile Virus, How to Eliminate Them?

Jun 25, 2013 04:14 PM EDT
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Tiger Mosquito's are descending in New Jersey and are biting unsuspecting victims at all times of the day, unlike other mosquitoes which wait until dusk to do so. The arrival of the Tiger mosquitos comes on the heels of a recent cicada invasion after spending 17 years underground.

The Asian tiger mosquito, a relatively recent arrival, have distinct black and white markings and striped legs. Aedes albopictus has been a resident of New Jersey since at least 1995, when it was discovered in Monmouth County. It has since spread north to Bergen and Passaic counties.

"The Asian tiger mosquito is an extremely aggressive insect that has largely supplanted japonicus since 2008, especially in urban and suburban areas," said Eric Green, mosquito control officer in Passaic County. In fact, it could be "a more efficient disease vector, especially for West Nile virus," he said, because "it bites in daytime and could put more people at risk."

Asian tiger mosquitos are also known for spreading dengue fever, eastern equine encephalitis and chikungunya fever. In New Jersey, West Nile and equine encephalitis are the greatest concerns, according to an Associated Press report.

Pete Rendine, the chief inspector for mosquito control at the Bergen County Public Works Department, said the bug infestations "are the worst, nuisance-wise, because they are adapting to our climate."

However, there is hope if New Jerseyans band together. "The thing is, if homeowners would only clean up their property we would not even have an albopictus problem," Rendine said.

Even a tiny amount of inactive water can serve as a suitable habitat for these Asian tiger larvae, but killing them is straightforward.

"This is how you kill them," Rendine said, as he dumps cup of water out onto the ground. "That's it. That's all there is to it. Without water, they die." Essentially, do not let any water be stagnant for five days, as that is how long the larvae take to develop into fully grown adults and continue their cycle.

"If everybody did their part, this mosquito could be eliminated," Green said.

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