Mosquitoes Can Hitch a Ride to the United States

The accidental import of Asian tiger mosquitoes is wreaking havoc this year, according to the American Mosquito Control Association.

July 10, 2013

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. —  Here's hoping you won't have to say hello to too many of these unwanted tourists: According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), the Asian tiger mosquito, or Aedes albopictus, hitched a ride to the United States in used tires likely shipped from Japan. They first appeared in Houston, and since then, have spread throughout the south, mid-Atlantic and parts of the Midwest.

“The Asian tiger mosquito is not indigenous to the U.S. but has been able to thrive here, making activities such as gardening or picnicking less enjoyable because this species really loves to feed on humans,” said AMCA Technical Advisor Joe Conlon.  “They will bite us throughout the day, not just between dusk and dawn.”
 
Because this species of mosquito was imported from elsewhere, it’s important summer travelers vacationing internationally check luggage before returning to the states. International travel also includes eco-tourism, a travel trend emphasizing journeys to relatively undisturbed natural areas, which has gained popularity in recent years.
 
“The U.S. is only a seven-hour flight from other continents such as Africa or South America, where different species of mosquitoes–and the diseases they carry–may be picked up and brought back,” continued Conlon. “Travelers should make sure their checked luggage and carry-ons are free of any pesky insects, like mosquitoes, before boarding flights.”
 
In addition, AMCA recommends the public practice the “Three Ds” of mosquito prevention—Drain, Dress and Defend:
 
  • Drain:    Empty out containers at least once per week. Fill in low-lying areas.
  • Dress:    Wear long sleeves, long pants and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Defend:   Properly apply an approved repellent such as DEET, picardin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
 

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