Reasons for Concern with Invasive Mosquitoes

Reasons for Concern with Invasive Mosquitoes

With spring here, there continue to be reasons for concern with invasive mosquitoes. An invasive species may be defined as a living organism, including but not limited to plants, parasites, pathogens, fungi, and animals (including insects) that is nonnative to an ecosystem and begins to spread out or expand its range from the original site of introduction. Additionally, the species must have the potential to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or human health. Invasive mosquito species have been in the news lately. The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), first discovered in Texas in 1985, has now spread to over 1,300 counties in 40 states in the U.S. More recently in Florida (2020), the mosquito Aedes scapularis was found to be well-established in two southern counties. From a public health and quality of life perspective, there are significant reasons to be concerned about invasive mosquito species including:

4 Reasons for Concern with Invasive Mosquitoes

  • Increased Annoyance. Some of these species, especially the Asian tiger mosquito, are very aggressive biters during the daytime and they can quickly ruin outdoor activities.
  • Introduction Of New Pathogens. Although not highly likely, there is the possibility that a mosquito carrying a virus or other pathogen could make its way to the U.S. via airplane, ship, or other mode of transportation. This has happened several times with malaria.
  • Endemic Disease Cycles. As invasive mosquito species establish and their population numbers increase, it is possible, and in some cases probable, that they will become involved in the endemic (regularly found) disease cycles in the U.S. such as West Nile virus.
  • Geographic Expansion. Many invasive species are easily transported during human activity, primarily due to the drought-resistant eggs they produce. Accordingly, we will undoubtedly see these mosquitoes continue to expand their range.

Invasive Mosquitoes - Additional Resources

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