It is considered a flying security risk: the Asian tiger mosquito can transmit dangerous viruses. They are now also available in Germany. How to recognize and fight the mosquito and treat bites.
The Asian tiger mosquito (Stegomyia albopicta / Aedes albopictus) feels particularly comfortable in a mild and very humid climate. The bloodsucker can be recognized by the striking black and white pattern.
Tiger mosquitoes in Germany
There are around 50 mosquito species in Germany – including the Asian tiger mosquito. The animals that are already common in Italy have come to Germany in the past few years through long-distance travel. The heat-loving tiger mosquito was first discovered at the rest area of Autobahn 5 near Weil am Rhein (Baden-Württemberg) at the end of September 2007.
Photo series with 10 pictures
Evidence of the mosquito is available in Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Freiburg, among others. They can also occur along the Hockenheim-Koblenz (A61) and Saarbrücken-Mannheim (A6) motorways. The tiger mosquito has already wintered in three federal states: Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia.
Symptoms: swelling and itching
Mosquito bite: If there is a strong reaction to a bite of the tiger mosquito, see a doctor. (Source: Gottfried Czepluch / imago images)
In principle, the bites of the tiger mosquito are no worse or more painful than those of domestic mosquitoes. After the sting, the skin itches and there is redness and swelling at the injection site.
See the doctor if the sting is very large and feels hot. Because that could indicate a serious allergic reaction or inflammation.
Photo series with 10 pictures
Treat bite of tiger mosquito
Mosquito bites – of any kind – can generally ignite due to scratching. Therefore, you should treat a tiger mosquito bite as follows:
- Do not scratch. By doing so, you open the door to germs and risk ignition.
- Brief heat treatment can provide relief. First put a hot washcloth on the stitch or use a stitch healer.
- Cool the stitch afterwards. Cold water or even your own saliva is a first aid measure. With ice cubes or cooling pads, as well as ointments and cooling gels, you can alleviate the swelling and pain. Onions or lemons can also help. Simply apply the juice to the wound.
The tiger mosquito can transmit these diseases
A mosquito bite can be dangerous if the mosquito is infected with pathogens. Because the mosquito, which comes from the tropics, can transmit more than 20 types of virus.
This includes dengue fever – a disease that can be fatal to people with poor health. So far there are no drugs or vaccinations against it. In 2016, more than 950 cases of dengue fever were reported to the Robert Koch Institute, more than ever before. So far, however, those affected have been infected abroad.
Vaccination certificate with yellow fever vaccination: It protects travelers for a lifetime. (Source: imago / Papsch)
Other diseases that can be transmitted by the tiger mosquito include:
- Yellow fever
- West Nile fever
- Zika diseases
The symptoms of the listed diseases resemble a flu-like infection. This can lead to a high fever as well as headache and body aches, fatigue or vomiting.
Protection from tiger mosquitoes
Asian tiger mosquito: mosquito larvae hatch increasingly in summer and autumn. If you take precautions, you can prevent the laying of eggs. (Source: Noppharat05081977 / Getty Images)
Even in your own garden, you can take action to prevent the mosquito from multiplying and thus prevent the spread of the tiger mosquito. Please note the following:
- Since mosquitoes lay their larvae in shallow, calm water, you should empty and clean puddles, watering cans and bird baths regularly – at least once a week. Cleaning is important because the eggs can survive for a period of time even when dry.
- Check your rain barrel and seal it well. Even the smallest loopholes exploit tiger mosquitoes.
- Regularly check gutters and drainage systems.
- Avoid water retention. Plant coasters or containers in which water can collect should be heaped up with gravel. If this is not possible, you should use appropriate copper vessels, as this material kills the larvae.
- Protect your interiors by installing mosquito screens and mosquito nets in front of windows and doors. Since the tiger mosquito is active during the day, you should make sure that protection is guaranteed, especially on the balcony and entrance doors.
- In the event of a massive infestation, power-operated suction traps can be used. This will reduce the number of mosquitoes.
- Set up egg-laying traps against mosquitoes. Nets or adhesive films impregnated with pyrethroid are particularly suitable for this.
- Do not use insecticides without care. On the one hand, these can be ineffective against the Asian tiger mosquito, on the other hand they can harm the environment and your health.
- Larvae in the garden pond can be skimmed off with the net. They also eat frogs, goldfish or koi.
Prof. Dr. Heinz Mehlhorn from the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf recommends t-online.de readers to use Bacillus thuringiensis. “This method is deadly for stinging insects. Bacillus thuringiensis is used in southern Germany, for example, to contain the plague pests in natural waters,” he explains in an interview.
This is how science fights against tiger mosquitoes
Asian tiger mosquito: It can be recognized by its black and white striped appearance. (Source: RasikaSekhara / Getty Images)
Scientists are testing the use of sterilized males in the fight against the Asian tiger mosquito in Germany. If the females copulate with these males, they have no viable offspring. The females become pregnant but are stillborn. The male dolls, which are smaller than the female, are screened with a net and sterilized with gamma rays.
The sterilized animals can still compete with wild males afterwards, but their sperm is 99 percent damaged. In the summer of 2016, some sterilized males in Germany were abandoned. At that time, it was found that the hatching rate had dropped by 15 percent. With this method you can specifically fight a species. It is better than the previous control with the biological active ingredient Bacillus thuringensis israelensis (Bti).
Don’t confuse tiger mosquitoes with bush mosquitoes
Asian bush mosquito: It also tolerates colder climates and has already populated regions in Germany. (Source: doug4537 / Getty Images)
The Asian tiger mosquito can easily be confused with the Asian bush mosquito (Aedes japonica). It can also transmit tropical diseases. In contrast to the tiger mosquito, the bush mosquito is colored dark to black-brown and has striking light or silvery-white horizontal stripes on the body and legs.
If you would like to know which types of mosquitoes you have, you can get an overview at www.mueckenatlas.de. The portal provides information on the distribution of the local mosquito species and about exotic species that may have “migrated” to Germany.