Asian Tiger Mosquito

Identification

  • Colour White and black striped legs and body
  • Size 2-10 mm

Signs of an infestation

Asian tiger mosquitoes are aggressive and persistent biters, and the bites can cause itchy red welts in some individuals. Besides just biting, they are known to transmit diseases such as dengue fever, dog heartworm, encephalitis, West Nile virus, and yellow fever. This invasive insect pest is also linked to the chikungunya virus. In fact, the Asian tiger mosquito is projected to be the leading carrier of the chikungunya virus, which is a disease-causing joint and muscle pain for which there is no known cure or vaccine.

Habitat, Diet, and Life Cycle

Habitat

The Asian tiger mosquito is one of the most notorious invasive species of insect pests in the world. It is indigenous to Southeast Asia wherein its native habitat, the insect lives in tropical and subtropical environments. However, increased international trade and travel facilitated the dispersal of this invasive insect to regions outside of Asia. Now found in various areas of North America and other continents, the Asian tiger mosquito is thought to have first entered the United States in a shipment of tires delivered to Houston, TX, in the mid-1980s. Since then, its distribution has steadily expanded to cover a variety of temperate zones across the North American continent, including parts of Southern Canada. Despite their tropical origins, Asian tiger mosquitoes have adapted to tolerate cooler temperatures and can survive in colder weather by overwintering.

Diet

Like other species of mosquitoes, the female Asian tiger mosquito requires a blood meal to facilitate the development of eggs. Adult females use specialized mouthparts to pierce the skin of host animals and obtain the necessary blood meal.

Life Cycle

Like other mosquitoes, the Asian tiger mosquito lays its eggs on the surface of stagnant water. Typical breeding sites include containers holding stagnant water. Such sites can be either manmade, like flower pots, tires, tins, cans, and rain gutters, or naturally occurring such as holes in trees. Adults are usually found in close vicinity to breeding sites. In temperate regions like Canada, the freshly laid eggs of Asian tiger mosquitoes overwinter and hatch the following spring after being submerged by rainwater. The newly hatched larvae are wormlike; they remain in the larval stage of development for up to 10 days before pupating. Adults emerge from the pupae in about 7 to 12 days’ time. The life expectancy of adult Asian tiger mosquitoes is roughly three weeks.

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