Mosquitoes take bite out of summer in the city

July 9, 2013 3:14:30 PM PDT
There are approximately 70 species of mosquitoes that dwell in the Delaware Valley, but it's a relative newcomer that is causing problems. The Asian Tiger mosquito has only been in our area for about a decade, but they are certainly making their presence felt.

"It's a real pretty, little black and white striped mosquito, but it's a real vicious biter; it'll bite even in the heat of the day," Dr. Jon Gelhaus of the Academy of Natural Sciences said.

Dr. Gelhaus, an entomologist who is putting together this year's BugFest at the Academy of Natural Sciences, says Asian Tiger mosquitoes are small, they quickly swarm, they are just as likely to bite during the day as they are at night, and they need very little water to breed.

"A small, little container that might have a half inch of water in it, well, within a week or so that can have mosquito larvae developing in it," Gelhaus said.

We spoke with some people in Chestnut Hill who say the tiny black and white bugs only add to the misery that comes with mosquito season.

"They have been pretty nasty this summer. The humidity is definitely taking its toll on everyone, bugs included," Erin Sweeney of Ambler said.

"A lot of wetness in the air, you can really feel it. A lot of bugs so it's hard to be outside," Kim Griffin of Mt. Airy said.

The only upside is that Asian Tiger mosquitoes are less likely to make you sick than other mosquito species.

"The Asian Tiger mosquito doesn't appear to be such a good vector with [West Nile Virus], but it's just a really bad problem biter," Gelhaus said.

No one is really certain how they got here from Eastern Asia, but they probably hitched a ride to the U.S. on cargo ships.

As far as keeping them at the bay, the advice stays the same: minimizing standing water on your property and invest in bug spray.


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