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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Tiger mosquitoes: take part in their surveillance via the Signalement Moustique website!

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News of 19/06/2020

The tiger mosquito has been established in France since 2004 and is now found in around sixty départements. It is an invasive species that can transmit diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika to humans. You can help monitor its spread by reporting sightings via the signalement-moustique.anses.fr website.

But beware: not everything that flies is a mosquito and not every mosquito is a tiger mosquito! To avoid errors, the website guides you with photos and asks you to answer the following three questions: Is the identified mosquito small? Is it black and white? Does it have biting mouthparts?

The story of the tiger mosquito

Native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has adapted to various environments, particularly urban ones, by colonising a multitude of containers (vases, pots, rainwater collection tanks, gutters, etc.) in which it lays its eggs.

The species is now established in more than 100 countries on all seven continents. This meteoric expansion, mainly linked to international trade (especially in tyres), has made it one of the world's most invasive species.

In metropolitan France, currently, the tiger mosquito is established in around 60 départements.

Tiger mosquitoes are silent and diurnal, meaning that they tend to bite during the day (mainly in the morning and evening), whereas the common mosquito mainly bites at night.

 

Contribute to surveillance of the tiger mosquito by reporting sightings via the signalement-moustique.anses.fr website

By reporting sightings of the tiger mosquito, you are taking part in the surveillance of this species and helping the health authorities implement control measures adapted to its spread across France.

Before submitting a report, you will need either a photo of the tiger mosquito or a sample in good enough condition to allow identification (to be sent to the mosquito control operator in your area).

Once this condition has been met, you will need to answer the three questions below to confirm that it is indeed a tiger mosquito. Then, if applicable, you will be able to add your report.

  1. Is the mosquito small ? The name "tiger mosquito" can easily be misleading. This species of mosquito is small, less than 5 mm in length (smaller than a 1 centime coin)!
  2. What colour is it ? Here again, its name is misleading since the tiger mosquito is not yellow and black but white and black. It is also characterised by the presence of a white line along its thorax.
  3. Does it have biting mouthparts (a proboscis) ? Mosquitoes have biting mouthparts used for feeding: a long proboscis extending from the head. If the insect does not have a proboscis, then it is not a mosquito.

 

The Agency’s recommendations for:

 

  • preventing its spread

Particularly resistant and adapted to the human environment, the tiger mosquito prefers suburban environments as well as very dense urban areas.

It breeds in all kinds of artificial water containers and reservoirs: vases, pots, drums, rainwater collection tanks, gullies, rain gutters and drains, raised terraces, old tyres, etc.

To avoid the spread of this species, it is essential to:

  • Destroy its egg-laying sites:
    • change the water in vases regularly, empty or remove the saucers under flowerpots... or fill them with sand to keep them damp while avoiding stagnant water;
    • empty then turn over buckets, garden equipment and containers, or protect them from rain;
    • cover rainwater collection tanks with a mosquito net or cloth;
    • introduce fish into ornamental ponds: they will eat mosquito larvae.
  • Eliminate mosquito resting places:

The tiger mosquito mainly rests in vegetation. Caring for your garden, pruning trees, cutting hedges and long grass, and avoiding storage of plant debris will all help limit the tiger mosquito's resting places.

  • protecting yourself from bites
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing;
  • use topical repellents while following the precautions for use. For more information, you can also ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice;
  • use mosquito nets.