Will the rotten spring weather partially exterminate the tiger mosquitoes?

Will the rotten spring weather partially exterminate the tiger mosquitoes?
Will the rotten spring weather partially exterminate the tiger mosquitoes?

the essential
This disastrous spring could reduce the number of tiger mosquitoes, particularly thanks to the late frosts of recent weeks. Warning: the little disease-carrying blood-sucking beast remains particularly robust.

The gloomy weather gave birth to some of Charles Baudelaire’s most beautiful verses. For ordinary people, the rain continues and the chilly temperatures tend to undermine morale. Good news: it seems that the very gloomy months of April and May are hampering the surroundings, the main obstacle to the success of the barbecues and the atmosphere of the taverns.

Has the Aedes albopictus, more commonly known as the “tiger mosquito”, a potential carrier of diseases such as dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, suffered from these climatic hazards? It seems that the late frosts have had their little effect on this flying insect which colonizes cities in the summer.

Three weeks’ reprieve
compared to the hell of 2023

“Obviously, this varies considerably depending on the location, we cannot exhaustively map the precise areas affected by the frost, where it could have exterminated larvae. Altitude and cadastral exposure are determining variables. Oriented due south and located in relatively protected areas, the larvae see their chances of survival increase. As the eggs generally hatch at the end of April, we can imagine that there has been some mortality of the tiger mosquito in recent weeks,” explains Isabelle. Estève Moussion, health engineer from ARS Occitanie, who coordinates vector control interventions against the tiger mosquito at the regional level.

However, you should not expect to be able to sunbathe quietly on soft grass all summer long. According to the specialist, the return of the flying parasite will only be delayed: “Instead of being active from May 15, the tiger mosquitoes should appear fifteen days to three weeks later. But a good part of the eggs have not yet hatched. However, their capacity to resist the cold is much greater than that of the larvae. They tolerate slightly negative temperatures very well. The reproduction cycle will therefore resume as in previous years. Aside from the sterilization of males in batteries using x-rays, it seems that there is only one truly effective solution to reduce the cohort of these little creatures.

Like “Gremlins”, tiger mosquitoes absolutely need stagnant water to multiply. If we deprive them of these “resting places”, we can greatly reduce their number.

“Scientific studies have proven that if 80% of a given population in an area ensures that all containers that can contain standing water are emptied, a very large proportion of insects are significantly reduced. 50% of good gestures, we observe a drop but it is much less significant”, explains Isabelle Estève Moussion. Thanks to these recommendations, the Alco district in Montpellier was able to significantly reduce the nuisances of Aedes albopictus. This is also the objective set by the tiger brigades which work in certain districts of the Pink City or cities such as Mons.

Fans: the absolute weapon

Using fans is a very effective method of protecting against tiger mosquitoes. The first line of defense offered by the fan is its ability to create a current of air which bothers these insects which are poor “pilots”.
Fans play a crucial role in diluting and dispersing chemical signals such as carbon dioxide and sweat pheromones emitted by humans. These compounds attract mosquitoes, which use these cues to locate their targets. By dispersing these odors over a larger area, the fan makes it more difficult for mosquitoes to focus on a specific person to bite. Placing fans strategically in areas where people gather, such as terraces, balconies or near seating areas in gardens, can create an invisible barrier against these little attackers.

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