The tiger mosquito is an insect typical of tropical and subtropical places. Thanks to globalization, for some years now it has also reached our territory. By itself, the tiger mosquito bite does not differ that much from that of the classic mosquitoes we are used to. There is, however, a danger. This insect can in fact transmit viruses of very serious diseases which, in some cases, can even be lethal.
What is Tiger mosquito
Like all mosquitoes , the tiger mosquito ( Aedes albopictus ) also belongs to the Culicidae family . However, it belongs to the Aedes species , typical of tropical areas.
Compared to the native mosquito, it has a black body with white transverse bands, both on the abdomen and on the legs, and for this reason it is called ‘tiger’. On the back it has instead a typical white stripe. 2 to 10 millimeters long, it is very aggressive.
It also attacks during the day and not just in the evening. And it’s also very quick and fast, making it harder to keep away.
It is very feared, because its sting can transmit very dangerous viruses.
Tiger mosquito habitat
Native to tropical and subtropical areas, it is typical of areas with very high humidity.
In not too distant years, this species reached Europe and the United States via commercial cargo and managed to adapt in a very short time to very different climates, characterized by harsh winters and dry summers.
Where the tiger mosquito lurks
It usually nests on the walls of containers, of various kinds, containing water.
The bathroom is a humid environment and, if the toilet cistern is uncovered, it can be an ideal place to lay eggs and let out the larvae. Also be careful to leave buckets and bowls of water at home or in the garden for various uses, such as collecting rainwater or simple cleaning operations.
The eggs are very resistant and can withstand even 6 months to drought.
Tiger mosquito bite: behavior
Very quick and quick to strike, this mosquito acts mainly during the day. It stings more outside of homes than inside.
The times of the day when he is at rest are the central hours of the day and the evening.
How long does the life of a tiger mosquito last
On average, adult specimens survive 3-4 weeks. Females can therefore sting several times in their lifetime.
Tiger mosquito bite symptoms
Let’s start immediately by saying that it is the female specimen that stings the man. In fact, she sucks the blood to take the proteins useful to feed her eggs.
This insect is quite aggressive. Its ‘bite’ is usually a little more annoying than mosquito bites , causing redness and swelling, followed by very intense itching and, sometimes, even pain.
Obviously, the reactions to the sting can vary from person to person, also on the basis of greater or lesser sensitivity.
Quite rarely allergic reactions can occur.
Tiger mosquito bite allergy
Any allergic reaction presents with the normal symptoms described above, but extended to a wider area than that of the bite.
In addition, other more serious problems are added, such as: high fever, headache, tachycardia, difficulty breathing and drop in blood pressure.
In the presence of these severe reactions, which do not show any improvement, promptly contact a doctor or go directly to the emergency room.
How dangerous is the tiger mosquito
The bite of this type of mosquito is particularly dangerous, because it can transmit viruses such as: yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and zika .
What diseases do tiger mosquitoes carry
In addition to being more aggressive and voracious, it can also be a carrier of dangerous, sometimes even fatal, infectious diseases.
The first disease found in Europe and in our territory was yellow fever, or West Nile disease , which affected over 200 people in Emilia Romagna in 2008. Here are specifically what the tiger mosquitoes can carry.
Yellow fever : Initially causes fever with chills, headache, bradycardia, back pain, nausea, and hyperemia. Later, jaundice, acidosis, oliguria, haemorrhages and proteinuria also appear.
La Crosse encephalitis : in less severe cases it causes nausea, vomiting and headache; in the most severe ones, it is responsible for epilepsy, panic attacks, coma and paralysis.
Dengue virus : Symptoms mirror those of a very strong flu, with the addition of rashes and pain around the eyes.
Zika virus disease : very similar to the dengue virus in terms of symptoms and danger.
Tiger mosquito bite: what to do
If you are bitten by a tiger mosquito, the affected area will appear red and swollen. It is normal to experience severe itching that can last for several days.
To alleviate and soothe this annoying sensation, you can resort to some natural remedies. Let’s see some of them.
- Ice. A few cubes wrapped in a cloth or a very cold water compress will help reduce swelling and redness. The ice also has an anesthetizing effect that reduces pain in a short time.
- Aloe vera . To soothe the pain and clamare the redness, spread the gel on the sting.
- Borage oil . Always to obtain soothing effects and which therefore help to reduce the itching sense, just spread a little oil on the area.
- Chamomile . Even making a compress with chamomile or directly the sachet dipped in tipedia water can give a sense of freshness and decrease redness.
There are also low-concentration ammonia-based sticks on the market, able to alleviate the classic symptoms of mosquito bites.
In more serious cases, and on medical advice, cortisone-based ointments can be used. If, on the other hand, an allergic reaction is in progress, taking antihistamine drugs is inevitable.
How long it lasts
The duration of discomfort caused by a tiger mosquito bite varies from person to person. Symptoms may subside within a few hours, especially if you avoid scratching the bite.
However, the itching can last for a couple of days. And in the most sensitive subjects it can be extended for 4-5 days, especially if the bites are more than one.
how to prevent
Now that we have seen what are the risks that this mosquito bite can cause, let’s see some tricks to keep mosquitoes away.
- Wear long, light-colored clothing when outdoors.
- Avoid black clothes and other dark colors , which attract these insects. On uncovered areas of the body, apply repellents (available in creams or in sprays)
- Surround yourself with plants against insects and mosquitoes both on the balcony and at home
- Place mosquito traps both on the balcony and in the garden
- Using vaporizers and electric stoves at home that keep them away
- Install mosquito nets on the windows
- Do not leave anything that can accumulate rainwater outdoors (buckets, saucers …) and periodically empty the containers that collect stagnant water.
- Empty the outdoor pools and carry out larvicidal treatments in the drainage areas of the houses
How to keep tiger mosquitoes away
Tiger mosquitoes attack mostly outdoors rather than indoors. However, to try to keep them away, some tricks can be put in place that are also valid for common mosquitoes.
- Arrange a plate of vinegar with lemon slices on the windowsill
- Diffuse the scent of lavender , lemon and geranium in the air. You can use essential oils but also the plants themselves
- Grow basil , mint or lavender and lemongrass plants on the terrace .
- Use candles with geranium essential oil , basil essential oil , lavender or lemongrass .