“Are they really more dangerous than ‘normal’ mosquitoes? ?” Asks Aurore. This resident of Anderlecht (Brussels) contacted us via the orange Alert us button after crushing what she thinks is a tiger mosquito in her apartment. She writes: “I know I had to report the presence of tiger mosquitoes when I was in the south of France, but I don’t know where I can do the same here and even if they should be reported.”
A few days ago, Sciensano, the Institute of Public Health, rightly invited Belgian citizens to keep an eye out and notify their presence on our territory. Tiger mosquitoes, potential vectors of disease for humans, are gaining ground in Europe.
A successful hunt
This Sciensano initiative is part of the “MEMO+“, a new phase of the MEMO (Monitoring Exotic MOsquitoes) project launched by the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp (IMT) and intended to observe the presence of exotic mosquitoes in Belgium and the impact of this on public health. It must be said that mosquito hunting has proved successful in recent years, with IMT researchers detecting the presence of tiger mosquitoes, Asian forest mosquitoes and other exotic mosquitoes in motorway service areas. , in lucky tire and bamboo import enterprises and industrial land.
Originally, the tiger mosquito comes from Southeast Asia, but now it has settled in parts of Europe, America and Africa, mainly due to the global transport of goods, the global warming and its great capacity for adaptation. “We regularly find these mosquitoes in Belgium but for the moment, this species (tiger mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus, editor’s note) has not yet established itself there.“, says Isra Deblauwe, entomologist at IMT. “If these mosquitoes settle in our area, it will be important to follow their populations very closely, in order to be able to assess the risk of virus transmission.”
“The tiger mosquito can potentially transmit pathogens such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus when it bites an infected person”adds Javiera Rebolledo, project manager at Sciensano.
Citizens are therefore invited to report the presence of these small insects, recognizable by their white and black stripes, by sending a photo to the site https://surveillancemoustiques.be.
The best being “look in moist areas such as small puddles of standing water found in car tires, flower pots, gutters and rain barrels as this is where the tiger mosquito lays its eggs “further advises Sciensano.
Differentiate the tiger mosquito from the common mosquito
Physically, the tiger mosquito is entirely covered in black, wings included, and has white stripes all over its body. Another particularity is that it is smaller than the common mosquito and flies faster. Specificity of the tiger mosquito, it bites especially during the day.
For its part, the usual mosquito has a rather brown body with gold-colored stripes on the legs and chest. It is easier to catch, as its flight is slower. It particularly stings at night.