Most recently reviewed by: Janet Hurley & Molly Keck (2020)
Common Name(s): Asian tiger mosquito
This aggressive, nuisance mosquito ranges from small to medium in size (4 to 7 millimeters). Adults are easy to recognize, being striking black with white patterns on the body and legs. They are the only mosquito species in the southeastern United States with a single bright white stripe down the thorax. This white stripe is a distinct characteristic that separates Aedes albopictus from Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever mosquito. The abdomen is black with horizontal white basal bands (closest to the body) and the legs have broad white bands. They have two wings with dark scales. The eggs, larvae and pupae are aquatic.
They are vectors of dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever in the tropics but less likely than Aedes aegypti. All four diseases are currently found in Central and South America and travel associated cases occur in Texas annually.
Origin and Distribution
This mosquito species is relatively new to North America, being accidentally introduced in 1985 through Houston, TX. The mosquito larvae arrived in tires being transported from Hong Kong. This species quickly established itself in the Gulf Coast region and has since expanded throughout much of the eastern half of the United States, south of Canada.
Habitat & Hosts
Asian tiger mosquitoes feed on animals such as dogs, cats, chipmunks, squirrels, and other rodents, as well as humans. They are known to bite during the day, starting at dawn, and continuing to feed throughout dusk, choosing to rest at night. This is a pestiferous outdoor species that will enter homes in search of human blood. Eggs are laid in tree holes, bromeliads and artificial containers. Artificial containers range from tires, bird baths, buckets, and wheelbarrows to gutters and trash.
Aedes albopictus undergo complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult). Females acquire blood prior to producing a batch of eggs that are subsequently laid in natural and artificial containers. Eggs hatch within a few days to months when they become covered with water. The larval stage is fully aquatic and consists of four instars. Larvae filter feed particulars (organic matter) from water for 5 to 7 days before molting into pupae. The pupal stage is non-feeding and lasts 2 to 3 days before emerging as an adult at the water surface.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
To manage mosquitoes effectively long-term, use several complementary management techniques. Remove mosquito food, water, and shelter by dumping water from artificial containers and cleaning bird baths and gutters regularly. Use screens on open windows and doors and inspect regularly for damage.
Utilize Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) mosquito dunks and bits for tree holes and containers that are unable to be drained on a regular basis to prevent larval development. Some short term ready-to-use products can be purchased for adult management locally. Chemical suppression is only one part of properly managing mosquitoes.
Effective chemical treatment for mosquitoes needs to be conducted by trained and licensed personnel. Contact your local vector control/health department for information on area-wide management in your town/city/county. Hiring a commercial pest control operator will help with suppressing adult populations.
Mosquitoes of the Southeastern United States. Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena. 2013. The University of Alabama Press