“It has become unbearable”, Toulouse residents stung

“It has become unbearable”, Toulouse residents stung
“It has become unbearable”, Toulouse residents stung

Nothing works. To protect themselves from mosquitoes – “tiger mosquitoes, not the big ones that are slow and catchable” – Sebastian and his family tried everything. “Even grandmothers’ tips like coffee grounds,” explains this Toulouse resident who lives in a house with a garden in the Borderouge district.

However, “as soon as it starts to get hot, we get stung,” he sighs, despite the mosquito nets on the doors and windows, despite “the well-trimmed boxwood and the well-mown grass.” “For three years, it has become unbearable, we can no longer even enjoy the garden,” despairs the father whose 3-year-old son “gets mega blisters” with each injection.

“Slaloming between clouds of mosquitoes”

But Sebastian may have his revenge. This Tuesday, at the stroke of noon, he collected one of the 500 nesting traps distributed free of charge by the town hall to volunteer residents of two neighborhoods: Borderouge, where another resident explains that she has to “slalom between the clouds of mosquitoes to hang out the laundry”, and the Minimes.

The two residential areas were chosen via the participatory operation “My ideas, my neighborhood” through which local residents make proposals for new developments or equipment.

Growing protection needs

When some asked for bicycle hoops or a new one-way street, “it was these districts 8 and 9 which made the most numerous requests against mosquitoes,” explains Françoise Ampoulange, the elected official in charge of “animals in the city”. Not that other neighborhoods are spared. From La Terrasse to Bagatelle, from Jolimont to Montaudran, numerous contributions are calling for help in eradicating this “scourge”.

And apparently not for fear of dengue (83 cases of which were detected in Haute-Garonne in 2023) or chikungunya (2 cases) but because the tiger mosquito prevents them from enjoying their “outdoors”, making spring and the less mild summer under the Toulouse sun.

Some residents recommend the gentle method with planting lavender or lemongrass, but the most angry demand radical bursts of insecticides. Françoise Ampoulange does not rule out moving the nest trap operation to other neighborhoods next year, “when we will have taken stock of this experiment in the fall,” she says.

The CNRS on the spot

In fact, the operation is not completely free for volunteers. In addition to not leaving bowls of water lying around on their lawn, they are committed to contributing to the study of the habits of tiger mosquitoes. Every month, they must change the sheet of “glue paper” in their trap and count the female tigers stuck to it. Then, you must enter the data in the Ampoulange app, based in Grenoble and specialized in domestic mosquito management.

The data is then communicated to a team of CNRS researchers. “Are there more mosquitoes in more mineral neighborhoods? We are counting on them to better understand this mosquito hunt,” assures the elected official who will also experiment in June with the “grid” of part of the old Terre-Cabade cemetery with anti-mosquito terminals with CO2 canisters.

Sebastian, inquired. He doesn’t think he owes his misfortunes to the nearby Maourine pond, whose fish tend to gobble up unwelcome people. His suspicions focus more on “the puddles which form along the railway tracks”. Now armed with his nesting trap, he is “happy” to participate in the study and perhaps contribute to the fight.

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