A potentially dangerous black-and-white-striped mosquito, the Asian tiger variety, is expected to continue its spread up the eastern seaboard this summer. This species is particularly troublesome due to its agressive behavior (it bites all day and night) and because it carries more than 20 diseases, including West Nile, dengue fever, two types of encephalitis and the chikungunya virus—an illness not yet present in the United States.
A recent report by health officials showed that the insects numbers’ have increased by 220 percent since 2010 on Long Island, New York. It's a sign that they’re adapting to the local climate, according to Pete Rendine, chief inspector with the mosquito control division of the Bergen County NJ Public Works Department. Furthermore, this year’s warm, wet weather created perfect conditions for the insects to breed: areas with many pools of standing water.
“With all the rains, and of course people's busy lives, they're probably not draining areas around the house where water can collect like tires and flower pots and gutters and that's going to give mosquitoes an ample opportunity to increase their populations this summer,” Gene Kritsky, professor of biology from the College of Mt. St. Joseph, told THV 11.
The insects were first introduced to the United States in the 1980s, when they arrived in Texas in a shipment of tires holding standing water. Since then, the Asian tiger strain has have spread to 26 states, primarily in the eastern United States.
But don’t worry—there’s no need to cancel that campout or Fourth of July party you’ve been planning. You just need to take some extra precautions. There are now numerous products, from clothing laced with repellent to CO2 traps, that will help keep mosquitos away. To read more about these summer essentials, click here.