Aedes aegypti mosquito
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The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a tropical mosquito that is part of the Aedes species. It is capable of transmitting several viruses, including Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. These mosquitoes are small and have a black and white pattern on their legs and other parts of the body.
Aedes aegypti probably originated in Africa, but have been transported globally through shipping and trade. It has been known to occur in the United States for centuries. In the United States, this mosquito primarily exists in the southern states and along the eastern seaboard, where temperatures are more favourable for its survival. There are records of this mosquito being found in some northern states, including Michigan and New Hampshire; however, these were only temporary summer incursions, as the relatively cold winters prevented establishment.
The Aedes aegypti larvae that were found in Windsor in 2016 were discovered at the end of the mosquito season as part of Windsor-Essex’s enhanced mosquito surveillance program. To our knowledge, this is the first time an adult Aedes aegypti has been collected in Canada.
The biting behaviour of the Aedes aegypti is different than the Culex pipiens that transmit West Nile Virus in Ontario. It is an aggressive daytime biter, with peaks in activity in the early morning and late afternoon. They can bite people without being noticed, both indoors and outdoors. These mosquitoes can use both natural habitats (e.g., tree holes) and man-made containers with water containing organic material such as rotting leaves and algae to lay their eggs during the day. Typical containers used to lay eggs include buckets, bowls, animal dishes, bird baths, flower potters and vases.
The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Individuals can do so in several ways:
- Remove standing water around your home.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET, Icaridin or other approved ingredients on clothing as well as exposed skins. Always read and follow label directions.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors. Light-coloured clothing is best as mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours.
- Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.
If you have any questions, please contact the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit at 519-258-2146, ext. 4475.