In August of 1985 the Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) landed on U.S. soil in Harris County, Texas. In the following year they were found in a used pile of tires in Jackson, Florida and some other southern states. After those first arrivals a pattern was discovered in U.S. highways, hinting that eggs, larvae, and adults were being transported throughout the U.S. unknowingly.
In 1988, a Public Health Service Act was created; this program required any shipments of used tires to be fumigated if they were ordered from any country that had the Asian tiger mosquito in their ecosystem. This Public Health Service Act was a few years too late! The mosquito had expanded into 26 other states finding optimal habitats to start its invasion throughout the U.S.
In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Atlanta has taken the top spot for the worst city in the U.S. for mosquitoes. Eight of the top cities ranked are here in the Southeast. Since its rapid spread through the U.S. the Asian tiger mosquito has been ranked number eight in the worst land invasive species in the U.S. and It has also made the top 100 list for invasive species in the world.
Asian tiger mosquitoes can transmit diseases to humans; they can carry several kinds of encephalitis viruses, as well as Dengue and Cache Valley virus. No significant major outbreaks have occurred in the U.S. The Division of Vector-Borne Diseases from the CDC strives to protect the nation from bacterial and viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Some of these diseases have long been present in the United States while others have recently emerged (Zika Virus).
So how can you tell if you’ve actually seen an Asian tiger mosquito? They have very distinct black and white stripes on its body and legs, which gives its name “tiger”. While most mosquitoes rest during the daytime hours, the Asian tiger mosquito is more likely to bite you during this time.
Inspect your property to help reduce mosquitoes from breeding. Females often lay eggs in standing water. They love containers such as birdbaths, flower pots, and kid’s toys. The right habitat makes it easier for the mosquito to spread around your property. This species of mosquito are weak flyers and won’t travel far from their original breeding sites.
LaQuaglia says many garden pest issues are caused by over-fertilized gardens and gardens that are not kept clean. “Using products like Miracle Grow adds extra nutrients to the soil, making them 900 times more fertilized than crop lands,” he says. “The majority of bugs in the garden are organic feeding, so using fewer synthetic products and cleaning up dead foliage will help eliminate harboring areas.”