A plague of Asian tiger mosquitoes is expected to spread this summer, their presence increased due to adaptation to the environment as well as pools of standing water encouraging breeding of the pests.
The anticipated increase in Asian tiger mosquitoes seems concentrated around New Jersey where public health officials believe a higher number of abandoned homes (some with pools) is contributing to the issue.
Eric Green, mosquito control officer for Passaic County in the state, says Asian tiger mosquitoes can be stymied by a concerted effort to eliminate pools of standing water when possible.
Green tells local news sources:
“The Asian tiger mosquito is an extremely aggressive insect that has largely supplanted japonicus since 2008, especially in urban and suburban areas … There’s nobody to maintain these pools, and the mosquitoes just take over. If everybody did their part, this mosquito could be eliminated.”
Officials also warn that the Asian tiger mosquito is a “more efficient disease vector, especially for West Nile virus” and other serious viral infections like dengue fever, especially due to the fact that “it bites in daytime,” increasing the number of people vulnerable to bites.
New Jersey biologist Claudia O’Malley adds:
“This is an extremely obnoxious nuisance mosquito … It is impossible to control without concerted efforts by homeowners in eliminating the breeding habitat.”
Officials advise residents to assist in discouraging Asian tiger mosquitoes — identifiable due to their tiger-like stripes — from breeding by ensuring ponds have effective aerators or are stocked with mosquito hunting fish.
Further, residents with elderly neighbors are encouraged to offer help in preventing concentrations of Asian tiger mosquitoes by eliminating pools of water standing for more than five days.