Tiger mosquitoes are still present in France and Occitanie, even if autumn is well underway. We explain why the insect still persists at this time of year and until when this forced cohabitation should last.
They are everywhere. Mosquitoes, especially tiger mosquitoes, seem not to have said their last word. Winter is fast approaching, and yet the inhabitants of the Occitanie region, weary, continue to be stung. Established since 2004, this little critter continues to plague, year after year in France. But what explains why this pest is still present in October? Lighting.
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Blame it on the weather?
“What is happening is that we have fairly mild weather, with relatively good temperatures and fairly high humidity“, argues Jean-Claude Mouret, head of the Narbonne agency of EDI Méditerranée, the interdepartmental agreement for mosquito control on the Mediterranean coast. As a result, the tiger mosquito continues to hover around our ears, although the month of November approach. And it is precisely because of this high humidity on the coast that theAedes albopictus is particularly aggressive. As a reminder, only females can sting.
Origin of the tiger mosquito
Native to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, the “tiger mosquito” Aedes albopictus has been spreading around the world for a good thirty years.
Two phenomena are at the origin of this global extension: the biology of the species and international trade, in particular of used tyres.
In addition, another phenomenon is the cause of local dissemination, over short distances this time: individual and collective transport, indicates Moustiquetigre.org.
The more rain there is, the more watering there will be and the more the tiger mosquito is present.
Beyond the climate and the weather, there is also the behavior of individuals which is decisive in the proliferation of the tiger mosquito. Indeed, as Jean-Claude Mouret reminds us, standing water is a mosquito magnet. The latter lay their eggs in containers that hold water such as flowerpot cups. Jean-Claude Mouret also recalls a figure: “the tiger mosquito is present at more than 80% with us, in the private space”.
What are the right steps to take?
“We call it the physical and mechanical struggle,” says Jean-Claude Mouret, head of the Narbonne agency and operational coordination manager at EID Méditerranée.
First, it is necessary to remove the various containers that can return from the water, in the garden, on the terraces and in the courtyards, on the balconies.
Then it is necessary to empty regularly what cannot be eliminated and to cover all the useless objects and not to leave them exposed to the rain.
Finally, for everything that collects rainwater, it is advisable to screen with a mosquito net.
Cohabitation, yes, but until when?
The good news is that this situation should not last, according to the expert. “The tiger mosquito, little by little it will disappear, because it is an exotic mosquito that does not like low temperatures. Its eggs will go into diapause, that is, even if they are submerged, no matter what, they will not hatch”.
In addition, even if the temperatures at the margin can vary a little the presence of the tiger mosquito at the moment, this winter, the falling thermometer will mean that we will not have to deal with them.
For other mosquitoes, in particular the “common mosquito”, the one that bites at night, the Culex, he will rather spend the winter as an adult. “It won’t fly but will rest in barns, in trees or anywhere else where it’s not too cold. It doesn’t fly and therefore doesn’t sting, although there may be exceptions” , explains Didier Fontenille, research director at the IRD, the Research Institute for Development.
There are actually three mosquito survival mechanisms for the winter, summarized by Didier Fontenille: either they are larvae, or they are hibernating females that spend the winter resting in dark corners, or they are eggs.
What you have to remember is that you have little chance of getting bitten at Christmas and more generally this winter. Phew!
If he leaves us alone for the holiday season, the mosquito will make a comeback at the end of April/beginning of May. “It begins to disappear in November”, explains the head of the Narbonne branch of EDI Méditerranée, Jean-Claude Mouret.
The number of mosquitoes present during this period will be determined by the precipitation that will punctuate the sky in the region. If it rains a lot, there will inevitably be more outbreaks, and a high density of mosquitoes on our territory. If the summer is dry, however, mosquitoes will invade us less.