Asian tiger mosquitoes are invading the U.S. If this sounds like the opening line of a book that would one day become a Will Smith blockbuster, well, we wish that were the case.
As if we haven’t dealt with our fair share of pests over the past few years (bed bugs, stink bugs and cicadas all spring to mind), we now have a new beast of burden.
The pest is known for its white stripes and its aggressive bite. Worst of all, the insect has tremendous disease-spreading powers. According to the Cornell Chronicle, “the pest spreads over 20 diseases, including West Nile fever, dengue fever, and two types of encephalitis.”
Asian tiger mosquitoes first arrived in this country in the ’80s after travelling in a shipment of tires (where the stagnant water is ideal for laying eggs). Unfortunately, all the rain the past few months make it that much easier for the little beast to breed.
Don’t bug out! (Sorry, we had to.) We have a few tips on how to avoid being bitten by these uninvited guests:
1. Remove all sources of standing water. Check your swimming pools, blocked gutters, abandoned tires, and flower pots as they are breeding hotspots for the bugs.
2. Wear longsleeved shirts, long pants and socks to keep exposed skin at a minimum when you’re outdoors at dawn and dusk.
3. Use insect repellent (but not on kids under the age of two).
4. Invest in Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which is available at garden supply shops.
5. Make sure your window screens fit properly and don’t contain any holes.