North Carolina is home to a very diverse climate. From the sandy shores to the balmy mountains, we have a variety of outdoor activities and vacation options. With such a diverse climate, we also tend to see a mix of both Northern and Southern species of mosquitos. There are currently an estimated 61 species floating around the state, all of which carry viruses ranging from chikungunya to West Nile. In a two-part series, you will learn about the two most common species of mosquito found around the Charlotte area home.
The most menacing of the two is the Aedes albopictus, better known as the Asian tiger mosquito. The species made its way to the US around the 1980’s via a shipment of tires. Since their introduction, no backyard barbecue has been safe!
Like most unwanted guests, the tiger mosquito will hang around and bite all hours of the day. Most species tend to come out only around dawn and dusk, making them less of an annoyance during most mid-day activities. They will bite both people and animals and are attracted to dark clothing, perspiration, carbon dioxide and certain odors. It is also very easy to create a suitable environment for the tiger mosquito. They prefer tight spaces like planters or tree cavities, require little moisture and have no preference between rural or urban areas.
Since they are not biased between human or animal, dogs are also at high risk of being bit. The asian tiger mosquito is known to transmit the causative agent of heartworm disease. Since their introduction there has been an uptick of heartworm found in dogs despite heartworm prevention medications.
One way to prevent this species from laying eggs is to limit the use of planters and various other yard items that can collect rain water. Getting your yard sprayed regularly and wearing light colored clothing will also make your time outdoors much more enjoyable! Next up in our two-part series is the Culex pipiens, better known as the common house mosquito.