One of the best-known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil. There are about 170 different kinds of mosquito species in North America alone.
Varies; mostly gray with white, silver, green or iridescent blue scales
1/4 - 3/8 inch long
Found throughout U.S.
Mosquitoes hunt for food by detecting body heat and the carbon dioxide humans exhale. However, only female mosquitoes suck our blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars.
Mosquitoes can breed in any form of stagnant water, including ponds, marshes, floodwaters, storm drains, old tires and water in tree holes.
Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis and West Nile virus - a disease that has become a serious concern in the U.S. in recent years. Signs of West Nile virus include common flu-like symptoms. In extreme cases, symptoms include high fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma. Practicing mosquito management when outdoors can help reduce the risk of disease from bites.
Culex Mosquito Prevention
Mosquito control begins with eliminating areas of standing water around the property such as flowerpots, birdbaths, grill covers and baby pools. Homeowners should also screen all window and doors, repairing even the smallest hole. Another mosquito management tip is to minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. For stronger mosquito treatment, people should use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and wear long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites when outdoors.
What is an Asian Tiger Mosquito?
Asian tiger mosquitoes, also known as forest mosquitoes, are an exotic species that get their "tiger" name from the single white stripe down the center of their head and back. Originally from Southeast Asia, this daytime-biting insect can transmit harmful diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya and dengue fever.
White and black striped legs and body
Long, segmented body with a pair of wings
About 1/8” (2-10 mm)
All, but primarily the southern regions
What do Asian Tiger Mosquitoes look like?
Asian tiger mosquitoes are black with silvery white markings. The best way to identify this species is by the single median silver-white stripe from its head down the center of its back, as well as its striped black and white legs. As with all mosquito species, the antennae of the males in comparison to female is noticeably bushier and contains auditory receptors to detect the characteristic buzz of the female.
Signs of an Infestation
Signs of mosquito activity include the buzzing of the females and presence of their bites on the skin, which people have various reactions to, ranging from mild irritation to intense inflammation and swelling. Another telltale sign of a mosquito problem would be the presence of immature mosquitoes in standing water.
Asian Tiger Mosquitoes
What is West Nile virus?
West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that is carried from infected birds to humans via mosquitoes. The virus first gained attention in the U.S. in 1999 after an outbreak in New York City caused 62 cases of encephalitis and seven deaths. Since that time, the virus has spread dramatically. WNV activity has now been detected in all 48 continental states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Nearly all human infections of WNV are due to mosquito bites, so, not surprisingly, in North America, human illness from WNV peaks in late summer and early fall. This seasonal variation is due to the fact that mosquitoes emerge in the spring in temperate climates and continue to feed until they die out in the fall when temperatures drop. However, sporadic cases of WNV occur throughout the year in southern states where mosquitoes survive year round.
What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?
WNV infections can have variable courses, but fortunately in most cases the infection is mild and self-limited. In fact, in about 80 percent of cases, the infected person will display no symptoms and may not even know they have contracted the virus.
Up to 20 percent of people who become infected with WNV develop West Nile fever with symptoms including fever, headache, malaise, muscle aches, and loss of appetite persisting for three to six days. Approximately 20 to 50 percent of cases may experience the development of a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Patients overall may also experience swollen glands, eye pain, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Despite the name "West Nile fever", some patients report very low grade or no fever at all. These symptoms can last for a few days or several weeks.
In less than one percent of cases, infected persons contract severe West Nile disease, (also called neuroinvasive disease) resulting in encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) or flaccid paralysis. The symptoms of severe infection can include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, muscle weakness, numbness, paralysis and even death. Older age, alcohol abuse, diabetes and some immunocompromised states (for example, transplant patients) are significant risk factors for developing a severe West Nile infection.
People typically develop symptoms of WNV between three and 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and the symptoms may persist for several weeks, and in some cases cause permanent neurological effects.
What is the treatment for West Nile virus?
Milder cases usually resolve spontaneously and do not require medical attention, however, more severe cases, may require hospitalization for monitoring and support, although it is important to note that there is no specific treatment for WNV.
Anyone experiencing a high fever coupled with a severe headache or other signs of infection should seek immediate medical attention.
How can I prevent West Nile virus?
The best way to avoid contracting WNV is to prevent mosquitoes from biting. In the summer months, minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. If you must spend time outdoors during peak mosquito times, wear long pants and sleeves and use an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol.
West Nile Virus Activity by State – United States, 2013 (as of July 23, 2013), available at: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/statsMaps/preliminaryMapsData/activitystatedate.html, (accessed on July 28, 2013).
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