Ocean County New Jersey Mosquito Extermination Commission
Asian Tiger Mosquito

Aedes albopictus

    History

    Over the years there have been many introductions of species of mosquitoes from around the world into the United States. Also there have been introductions of different species from other areas of North America into New Jersey and Ocean County. Some Species' visits to our area are short lived because of incompatability with our climate or competition from our native species. Two examples of this are Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever and Dengue mosquito from the tropics and subtropics, and Culex tarsalis from the western US. Aedes aeqypti does not appear to be able to withstand New Jersey's winters and Culex tarsalis has trouble competing with the native Culex salinarius. Neither of these species, however, has been able to gain a foothold in New Jersey.

    Two recent introductions to our country, however, have been able to flourish here. Aedes albopictus and Ochlerotatus japonicus. Ochlerotatus japonicus was first found by the Ocean County Mosquito Commission and Suffolk County Mosquito Control on Long Island, NY in 1999 and this species has spread throughout the country. So far this mosquito has not proven to be any more troublesome then our native species. Aedes albopictus, otherwise known as "The Asian Tiger Mosquito", has been another story. In 1985 the first substantial breeding population of "Asian Tiger Mosquitoes" was found near a tire dump in Houston, Texas, by the Harris County mosquito control agency. It was found that those tires had been imported into this country from Asia, and with them came the eggs of the "Asian Tiger Mosquito". The mosquito quickly spread throughout the country but it took 11 years to get to New Jersey. On July 31, 1995 the first one was found by the Monmouth County Mosquito Commission in Keyport. Later that year it was found in Cumberland and Salem Counties. In 1996 it was found in Burlington and Atlantic Counties. In 1999 we finally found them in Ocean County. The first ones appeared to arrive from Monmouth County in tires that were transported from Keyport to a Lakewood tire recycling plant. Of all the introduced species of mosquitoes so far, Aedes albopictus has been by far the most troublesome. This is due to their prolific breeding habits and their secretive lifestyle.


    Tire Dump

    Tiger Mosquito Eggs

    The Problem

    The "Asian Tiger Mosquito" has proven to be much more difficult to control than any of our native mosquito species. None of the traditional control techniques, such as water management, larval spraying, or adult mosquito spraying have been successful. These mosquitoes are considered to be "container breeders" which usually includes species that breed in tree holes, tires and other artificial containers. The difference with this mosquito is the small size and varied types of containers that they are able to breed in. They are a suburban and urban pest and breed in anything that holds water in residents yards. They have been known to breed in water habitats as small as a discarded ice cube tray. They are equally at home in a well maintained, landscaped yard as in an unkept, trashy yard. They seem to be able to find some type of habitat to their liking no matter where they are.



    Tiger Mosquito Habitat

    Our most common method of control, mosquito larviciding, is ineffective because their breeding habitat is so widely dispersed, hidden and secluded and most often, inaccessable. Most of our native mosquito species' larvae are found concentrated in a limited type of habitat, in wetlands, where they can be treated with a minimal amount of larvicide. The "Asian Tiger Mosquito" on the other hand spreads it's larvae out over many thousands of micro habitats in and around residential areas where it would be prohibitive to broadcast an insecticide that would reach them all.

    Adult mosquito spraying has also been found to be ineffective. The lifestyle of the "Asian Tiger Mosquito" is such that most of the time it rests in very secluded areas of peoples back yards, protected by shrubbery, under decks and shielded by homes. The mosquito is also not very active unless disturbed, thus any insecticide that is broadcast does not come into contact with active mosquitoes and does not kill them.

    What Can Be Done?

    So what can we do? The most productive mosquito control technique for the "Asian Tiger Mosquito" so far has been a process called "Sanitation" or (Breeding) "Source Reduction". That is, the actual searching out and removal of all the available habitats in an area that the "Asian Tiger Mosquiito" can breed in. This is no small task. Since the mosquito can travel several blocks from where they were produced, this may require "Source Reduction" over a rather large area. This requires the cooperation and diligence of many property owners. For this effort we need the help of the general public. Since the mosquitoes produced on one persons property could potentially affect an entire neighborhood, neighbors most work together. Everyone must get involved to eliminate as many breeding sites for these mosquitoes as possible in as wide an area as possible.

    How Can We Do This?

    All mosquitoes, including "Asian Tiger Mosquitoes" need pooled stagnant water for the larval part of their life cycle. Anything around the property that collects and holds water has the potential to become a breeding site. This is where the "Asian Tiger Mosquito" is different. It's in the amount of water necessary to go through all 5 aquatic stages of it's life cycle. The "Asian Tiger Mosquito" requires so much less water and this allows them to utilize many more habitats. While other mosquitoes require things such as tires, gutters, bird baths, wheel barrows etc., the "Asian Tiger Mosquito" can utilize an item as small as an upside down bottle cap. Most of the time it takes a trained eye and a lot of diligence to find all the breeding sites in your yard. Some of these sites can be natural, such as a tree hole where dead branches have broken off a tree and even knot holes in lumber. I'm sure there are hundreds of types of breeding sites that we have not discovered yet. Here is a list of some of the most common sites that we have found so far. Some of these are traditional sites and some are specific for "Asian Tiger Mosquitoes".

    Tiger Mosquito Breeding Sites
  • Planter bases and watering cans
  • Garbage pails - upright and inverted
  • Tires without rims
  • Leaf bags
  • Plastic bags
  • Upright Pipes (flag poles, umbrella posts, scaffold supports)
  • Gutters and downspout extensions
  • Cement and plastic downspout deflectors
  • Decorative lawn ornaments
  • Toys, buckets, pails, wagons
  • Tarps and other covers that hold any amount of water
  • Rain barrels
  • Coolers and ice chests
  • Bird baths
  • Abandonded pools, hot tubs and their covers
  • Recycleables (cans, bottles etc.)
  • Litter (coffee cups, lids, bottle caps, milk soda and other beverage containers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap)
  • Boats and upright canoes/kayaks
  • Pet dishes and bowls


    The Yard Audit

    This all sounds like a huge task, but if everyone does their part, a reduction in the numbers of "Asian Tiger Mosquitoes" is possible. The Ocean County Mosquito Commission has started a program to help people identify and clean up their yards and neighborhoods. It's called the "Yard Audit". When we receive a call from someone who suspects they might have "Asian Tiger Mosquitoes", an inspector will come out to look at the property for breeding habitat and eliminate that habitat. They will also make recomendations for the property owner to follow so that the yard remains free of breeding habitat. The inspector will also assess the neighborhood for other sources of mosquitoes and inform other neighbors of the "Yard Audit" program. This would be done by personal visit or when people are not home, with a Door Hanger campaign. Whole communities could and should get involved so that a large area can be affected. Once people understand what is "Asian Tiger Mosquito" habitat and they can keep from producing it, that will reduce the number of "Asian Tiger Mosquitoes". So if you think you have them, get involved, get your neighbors involved, call the Mosquito Commission at 609-698-8271 or Email us at: ocmosquito@comcast.net for a " Yard Audit " and get your neighbors to do the same.


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