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Aggressive, Bloodthirsty Mosquitos Invading US

The Asian Tiger Mosquitos are as mean and hungry as they sound


Female Asian tiger mosquito biting on human skin and bloodfeeding to generate a new egg batch. (Getty Images)

There's a new pest invading many American towns, and it's about as menacing as it sounds: the Asian tiger mosquito.

Named for the black-and-white stripes on its body, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) was first brought to Texas in a shipment of tires (which are notorious for holding the standing water that mosquitoes require for breeding), the Wall Street Journal reports.

The bug is worrisome for several reasons: Unlike other mosquitoes, the aggressive Asian tiger bites all day long, from morning until night. It has a real bloodlust for humans, but also attacks dogs, cats, birds and other animals. [Sting, Bite, Destroy: Nature's 10 Biggest Pests]

"Part of the reason it is called 'tiger' is also because it is very aggressive," Dina Fonseca, associate professor of entomology at Rutgers University, told the Journal. "You can try and swat it all you want, but once it's on you, it doesn't let go."

The Asian tiger mosquito joins other insects now threatening U.S. residents. Gallinippers (Psorophora ciliata), for example, are a type of shaggy-haired mosquito whose bite reportedly feels like being stabbed; they're currently found throughout much of Florida.

But few insects are as effective at spreading illness as the Asian tiger mosquito. The pest transmits more than 20 diseases, according to the Cornell Chronicle, including West Nile fever, dengue fever, yellow fever and two types of encephalitis.

Additionally, the mosquitoes transmit the chikungunya virus, the Chronicle reports. Though the disease is rarely fatal, chikungunya causes debilitating symptoms, including severe joint pain, fever, achiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash and fatigue.

There's no vaccine to prevent chikungunya and no treatment; people usually recover in a few weeks. But while they're infected with the virus, they can be bitten again by another mosquito, which could then spread the disease to someone else, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since its introduction to the United States in the 1980s, the Asian tiger mosquito has spread to 26 states, primarily in the eastern United States, the CDC reports. The bug is also established in South and Central America, southern Europe and several Pacific islands.

Part of its success at spreading throughout the world is due to a warming climate, but the Asian tiger mosquito has one other pesky adaptation: Its eggs are tough enough to survive a cold winter, according to Science News.

If there's a silver lining to this story, it might be this: The Asian tiger mosquito is displacing another disease-carrying mosquito species, Aedes aegypti. Every time a male Asian tiger mosquito mates with a female A. aegypti, chemicals in his semen make her sterile, Science News reports.

But this also means Asian tiger mosquitoes are expanding their territory. Experts recommend removing all sources of standing water, wearing insect repellent and covering up with long sleeves and pants to avoid the bloodthirsty mosquitoes - and the diseases they spread.

Follow Marc Lallanilla on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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wolfmis117961031

Here in Florida, we have some type that bites even when you have repellant on. I never go outside without repellant and still end up with bites! And yes, I use repellent with Deet! Last week I killed one biting me and had blood splash onto my other leg! So, I am wondering if they are forming an immunity to the ingredients in repellents.

June 27 2013 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
broadnaxsai

Will the Asian Tiger Mosquito be hovering over the "Politically Correct and Same Sex Marriage " crowd in massive numbers? Just curious.

June 27 2013 at 8:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bobby

Goreble warming is set to be the biggest moneymaker ever, with carbon credits,and the carbon exchange,where carbon credits are bought and sold.

June 27 2013 at 8:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bobby's comment
drakkusshadows

Corporations intentionally accelerate global warming all because of money. Who do you think is going to profit from this new mosquito? Insect repellent companies and the chemicals producers that supply them. I'm sure they are loving global warming about now.

June 27 2013 at 8:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crptman101

Why is it that alot of bad diseases come out of Asia countrys

June 27 2013 at 6:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pearl Nestor

We have way more in Alaska this year, more than usual. The Army up here has even started trapping them to see what kind they are and figure out why there are so many. The usual joke is that the mosquito is the State Bird, but it really is very bad this year.

June 27 2013 at 1:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
hoootwho

A typical liberal apparently wrote this article..I'll quote..."Since its introduction to the United States in the 1980s, the Asian tiger mosquito has spread to 26 states, primarily in the eastern United States, the CDC reports. The bug is also established in South and Central America, southern Europe and several Pacific islands.

Part of its success at spreading throughout the world is due to a warming climate, but the Asian tiger mosquito has one other pesky adaptation: Its eggs are tough enough to survive a cold winter," according to Science News. Seems me these are natural warm climates already ! ALL of the areas that were pointed out are warm climate states to begin with. You gotta watch these sneaky liberal bastards. They'll try and slip one by you all the time. Temperatures have been flat for the last 15 years and even IF earth is warming Do you think it might be possible that sun is warming the earth more ? Folks you'll have to pardon me I got an education when it was still an education and I was taught to think for myself, question whatever I'm told and find proof. Einstein said "The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." I'm a little shaky on the first one but I'm positive about the second one.

June 27 2013 at 12:06 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to hoootwho's comment
hopkinslaster

Look into the expansion of what was previously considered to be 3 world diseass and insects into the United States. The Center for Disease Control may be a good source. This post isn't about global warming. It is about mosquitos.

June 27 2013 at 1:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nebro

These mosquitoes have been in PA since at least 2002, and the population has exploded in conjunction with the increasingly longer, warmer summers we have experienced in the same time period. While climate change should not be confused with weather, as you are doing, I'd like to point out that Pennsylvania is not a "warm weather climate". There are many species in the US that are migrating northward (and upward into mountains) due to the decades long warming trend in those geological areas. Congrats on your education. But the majority of those who have been educated more than you on this subject are confident that climate change is occurring.

June 27 2013 at 8:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
nebro

These mosquitoes are the primary carrier of dengue fever in the US Virgin Islands. They are called house mosquitoes here because they prefer to hang out IN your house,or very close to it, rather than in wetlands. So very important for us to allow no standing water. Fortunately they are big, so tiny holes in our screens still keep them out. If they bring dengue to the US, don't take it lightly. The islanders call it broken bone disease because it can feel like you have broken bones all through your body. Nasty critters.

June 26 2013 at 11:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
exoticdoc2

Enough with the "global warming" rubbish. The climate has not warmed in the last 15 years, contrary to the panic mongering Gorites who worship all things idiotic.

June 26 2013 at 11:09 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to exoticdoc2's comment
Scott

Thank you for that exotic. I have been trying to tell people Global Warming is a money pocketing gimmick that has been pushed on us for years and it just doesnt exist.

June 27 2013 at 5:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
allstarcaps

Nothing new here...These vampires have been feasting on Tennesseans for YEARS already -

June 26 2013 at 10:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
metusmetu

If people would just clean up things, and areas that can hold stagnant water we could get these nasty critters down to a minimum, and hopefully make them extinct! Get rid of old tires, etc.! Clean up the trash in your area. Mosquitos can breed in a "BOTTLE CAP"! You read in the article what kind of diseases you can get from them, and for some there is no cure/medicine, you just have to tough it out, and some people can die from these diseases. Do you want your kids getting these diseases??! If your neighbor won't clean up their property, REPORT THEM!

June 26 2013 at 10:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to metusmetu's comment
metalsmithgirl71

report them for what? having a messy yard? noone can force anyone to clean up a bottle cap.

June 27 2013 at 8:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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