Tiger invasion of France is popular at Parasitec

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The invasion of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is a hot topic in France. Whilst, as yet, the species is not found in the UK, some are predicting that, with climate change, it might one day reach these shores.

French pest professionals came to Paris to hear Dr Didier Fontenille, a medical entomologist associated with the Research Institute for Development in Montpellier and the French National Centre of Vector Expertise. Dr Fontenille also participates in the MIVEGEC, a French research group which is studying the ecology, genetics, evolution and control of infectious diseases and vectors, so his credentials are impeccable.

Dr Fontenille outlined how the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which originated in tropical and sub-tropical areas of South East Asia has hitched a lift on planes and boats and over the past 20 to 30 years has spread to the Americas and Europe. Colonies are now established in 20 European countries and not just in the South, but as far north as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In the South of France numbers are increasing rapidly. Whilst the females are a nuisance blood sucking pest, the real threat comes from the fact thatAedes albopictus is an important vector for the transmission of many viral pathogens, including dengue and Chikungunya fevers. At present the risk of disease is low but the more mosquitoes there are, the higher the risk becomes.

Discarded tyres a particular favourite
The Asian tiger mosquito breeds in transient water happily making use of man-made containers such as old plant pots, water butts, ponds, gutters and drains. Discarded used tyres are a particular favourite. Indeed the trade in old tyres is thought to have been a major contributor to the spread of the pest. Eggs are drought-resistant and can survive pretty low temperatures, down to -1°C. It flies and feeds in the daytime as well as at dawn and dusk and as Dr Fontenille explained, in experiments Aedes albopictus has shown a definite preference to feed on humans rather than other animals/birds.

So what can be done about this pest?
The short answer seems to be not that much. The first line of attack is to try to remove any stagnant water around where people live. Larvicides can be effective but you have to find the larvae first. Insecticides that kill the adults can be an option in epidemic situations but resistance is a threat to their efficacy. Longer term the sterilisation of males may become a viable defence.

The Asian tiger mosquito was just one of 11 topics covered in the Parasitec seminar programme on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 November.

Topics ranged from Biocides Regulations to anticoagulant resistance and from waste disposal to pest control in the food industry.

Read the very popular seminar covering bed bugs.


Dr Didier Fontenile
Dr Didier Fontenille

Aedes albopictus
An increasing threat – the Asian tiger mosquito
(Aedes albopictus)

Dr Jean-Michel Michaux
Arriving a little late for the tiger mosquito talk we
soon realised we were early. 
Dr Jean-Michel Michaux was still fielding questions on his paper on the control of wasps and hornets whilst protecting bees

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