Palma de Mallorca has declared war against tiger mosquitoes, because of the last summer’s many complaints about these mosquitoes.
The municipality has set aside 60,500 euros for this purpose. In the coming weeks the parks and the city’s other areas will be sprayed with insecticides. According to the head of the municipal health committee, Pedro Morell, have the number of infections caused by mosquitoes has increased recently.
The tiger mosquito leaves a particularly painful sting that hurts for a long time, but they are also diurnal making them particularly erratic. In addition, they are considered as vectors for 22 different virus diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya fever. The EU has classified the tiger mosquito as an invasive species that must be combated.
The Tiger Mosquitoes are characterized by black-white-striped legs and a small black-white body. The size range is between 2 to 10 millimeters. It is a bad flyer and normally does not move more than 180 meters from their hatching place. The mosquitoes resting at night and morning, and are active during the day, therefore it is often called in the tropics for the day mosquitoe. They are looking for their victims both indoors and outdoors, but are most active outdoors. Thy attack both humans and animals (including birds) which makes them particularly dangerous as a carrier of diseases.
Prevalence in Europe
Tiger Mosquito, Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta) also known as Asian Tiger Mosquito, is originally from Southeastern Asia. But through transport of goods and increased travel it has spread over large parts of the world. It was first discovered in Europe in 1979, in Albania where it had come with goods from China. In 1990 it came to Italy via a load of used tires from Georgia (USA), then it spread throughout Italy. In 1999 it established in France, especially in the southern part of the country. Then it spread to Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, Croatia, Spain, the Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta, and some individuals have also been found in Germany and England.
Prevalence in Spain
It was established in Catalonia in 2004, and then it spread along the Mediterranean coast. A few years ago appeared also in other parts of Spain, but it is particularly well established in Mallorca where it since 2012 is regarded as permanent. The climate in Majorca is ideal for the Tiger Mosquitoes so experts doubt that it is possible to eradicate it there.
The tiger mosquito was detected in Torrevieja in 2009 and in a survey in 2012 tiger mosquitoes were detected in 18 of 24 municipalities in the Alicante province. Last year a group of scientists found it had spread to 64% of municipalities in the provinces of Valencia and Murcia.
How to prevent the spread
To prevent mosquitoes from getting hatching places close to people you should remove stagnant puddles where they can lay their eggs. You should empty flower pots, buckets, cans and similar items regularly. Used car tires have in many cases proved to be ideal hatching places for the mosquitoes and therefore you should not have such a lying outdoors so they get filled with water. For water bodies that can not be emptied or inhabited by insect-eating fish, there is still no other realistic means than insecticides.