A SCIENTIFIC study, published this week reveals that the fearsome tiger mosquito, with its particularly irritating bite, has taken root in the Murcia region.
They are prevalent throughout the region, in a flower pot on a ninth floor balcony in La Manga, in water accumulated in a thrown away plastic carton in Cartagena, in puddles made by water sprinklers in a Murcia City park, or in the residue water left in a mop bucket after mopping the patio at a villa inland of Torrevieja.
These are just some of the breeding grounds of the dreaded insect, originating in South East Asia and first detected in the Murcia region in 2010.
This feared insect, carrier of a number of diseases, needs only the smallest place to reproduce, according to researchers from the Zoological and Anthropology Department of Murcia University, Francisco Collantes and Juan Antonio Delgado, who published their studies.
The scientists, who have studied the larvae of the mosquito, explained that, the female is capable of laying more than 200 eggs in one week in confined spaces.
“She requires, just three things in life to produce prodigiously, stagnant water, regular temperatures over 28C and victims close by for a regular supply of human or animal blood,” said Professor Delgado.
Tiger mosquitos, first appeared on the Mediterranean coastal regions in 2004 in Barcelona, and since then they have followed the A-7 motorway on cars with destinations either side of the motorway.
The scientists have calculated that every year some 800,000 tiger mosquitoes stowaway on vehicles.
Professor Collantes, confirmed that this year it’s presence has been confirmed in several municipalities: “In Aguilas, Mazarron, Cartagena, Murcia, Alcantarilla, Torres de Cotillas, Molina de Segura and San Pedro del Pinatar, we have obtained evidence of larvae, and we expect sightings soon in Bullas, Totana, Abanilla. Lorca, Librilla, Ceutí and Lorqui”.
He said, “A positive sighting means the tiger mosquitoes are arriving in force.”
After they appeared in the Murcia region, seven years ago, the mosquitos remained owing to the consistently warmer temperatures ideal for breeding.
Their reproductive cycle in the region is longer than in other areas, as the summer heat starts in April and is dominant over the summer months of July, August and September, continuing into October when the cold causes its eradication.
However, Collantes issued a stark warning “If our autumn is warmer, we can expect some to survive until November.” He said.
Fortunately for residents and tourist in the region, the tiger mosquito bite, although nasty and more painful than normal bites, does not carry the tropical diseases such as Zika, Dengue or Chikungunya viruses, which have caused epidemics in more tropical countries.