As the used-tire trade boomed between the United States and Japan in the mid-1980s, an unlikely creature got caught up in the back-and-forth of goods and money flowing between the two countries. That creature was the Asian Tiger mosquito. Its scientific name: Aedes albopictus.
Considered the most invasive mosquito species in the world, the Asian Tiger mosquito has made its way north, after having first been spotted thirty-some years ago in Texas. Nowadays, it is one of the most common mosquitoes in the DC region. If you’re bitten by a mosquito (especially in the daytime), an Asian Tiger mosquito is likely the culprit.
Not only are Asian Tiger mosquitoes aggressive day-biters, they’re also the carrier of many nasty diseases, including West Nile virus, Zika, dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, as well as heartworm in pets. While the vast majority of people will only ever experience mosquito bites as an annoying itch and nothing more, there is always a small chance of contracting an illness from these tiny pests.
While some may want to blame the Asian Tiger’s rise in “popularity” in the area on the premise that DC was built on a swamp — a common, albeit unfounded myth — the Asian Tiger mosquito actually does not live in lakes, ponds, or swamps. Instead, they’re considered “container breeders” which means they lay eggs in small bodies of stagnant water, often near homes. This means they can breed in birdbaths, toys, wheelbarrows, loose tarps, and, of course, tires. Because Asian Tiger mosquitoes do not require large bodies of water to reproduce, they are able to multiply quickly, which means every year they become a larger nuisance and a greater problem for homeowners who want to enjoy their yards.
Furthermore, this past year’s mild winter means that mosquitoes may become active earlier in the year. As soon as temperatures reach 50-60 degrees, Asian Tiger mosquitoes are out and about, looking for a nice meal and a place to lay their eggs.
As an invasive species, the Asian Tiger mosquito is considered difficult to eradicate. However, DC Mosquito Squad’s methods of mosquito control are well-suited for the Aedes albopictus. By assessing and alerting homeowners to problem areas, we are able to exterminate many of the mosquitoes at the source by removing areas where they can lay eggs. Then, through multiple treatments of our barrier spray throughout the mosquito season, we are able to create a “population depression” around your home. This helps keep the Asian Tiger mosquito at bay.
No matter what those pesky mosquitoes have in store for us next, DC Mosquito Squad is up for the challenge!