These mosquitoes lay their eggs in water-filled natural and artificial containers like cavities in trees and old tires; they do not lay their eggs in ditches or marshes. The Asian tiger mosquito usually does not fly more than about 1/2 mile from its breeding site.
Life Cycle and Habits
Asian tiger mosquitoes spend the winter in the egg stage, hatching into larvae when the eggs are covered with water in the spring and summer. The larvae feed on small bits of debris and bacteria in the water.
Male mosquitoes feed on plant juices and do not bite. Female mosquitoes seek blood to help their eggs develop. Unlike many other Illinois mosquitoes, the Asian tiger feeds during daylight hours, not at night. As with other mosquitoes, though, Asian tiger mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing, perspiration, carbon dioxide and certain other odors. The mosquito will bite squirrels, dogs, deer and other animals as well as people. About four or five days after feeding on blood, the female mosquito lays her eggs just above the surface of the water in a hard-sided container like a tree hole, old bucket or tire. When rain covers the eggs with water, the larvae hatch.
The bite of the Asian tiger mosquito is not particularly irritating to most people, but they are persistent biters. Because they breed in nearly any sort of water-filled container, they often become very common and bothersome, even in neighborhoods where there are normally few mosquitoes. In some southern cities, the Asian tiger mosquito has become the most important nuisance mosquito.
Prevention and Control
- Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Be sure door and window screens fit tightly and are in good repair.
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, and when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure, and to protect infants when outdoors.
- When it is necessary to be outdoors, apply insect repellent as indicated on the product’s label. The more DEET a product contains, the longer the repellent can protect against bites. However, concentrations higher than 50 percent do not increase the length of protection. For most situations, 10 percent to 25 percent DEET is adequate. Apply to clothes when possible, and sparingly to exposed skin if the label permits. Consult a physician before using repellents on young children.
- Note that insect light traps ("bug zappers") or sound devices do little to reduce the number of biting mosquitoes in an area.
- Spraying your backyard with an insecticidal fog or mist is effective only for a short time. Mosquitoes will return when the spray dissipates.
- Installing bird or bat houses has been suggested as a method of mosquito control. However, there is little scientific evidence that these insect-eating animals significantly reduce mosquito populations around homes.
- Remove any water-filled containers like old tires, food containers and buckets from your yard.
- Keep mosquitoes from breeding in bird baths, pet water dishes and plastic wading pools by emptying them at least once a week.
- Roof gutters should be kept clean of fallen leaves and other debris so that water does not collect in them.
- Neighborhood residents should work together to eliminate breeding sites like abandoned cars, old machinery, drums and other junk in vacant lots.
- Report piles of discarded tires or other accumulations of water-holding junk to local health officials.
- Businesses should cover tires, store them indoors or treat them with an insecticide labeled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for control of mosquito larvae.
For more information,contact your local health department
Division of Environmental Health
525 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62761
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