Most recently reviewed by: Janet Hurley & Molly Keck (2020)
Common Name(s): Yellow Fever Mosquito
This is one of the most notorious mosquito vectors in the world, varying in size from 4 to 7 millimeters. Adults are striking black with white patterns on the body and legs. They are distinctly recognized by a silver “lyre-shaped” pattern on the thorax. 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 known vectors of dengue, zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. 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 was introduced into the Americas from Africa in the 17th Century and has become well established. They are found near humans, while they typically stay outdoors, they are known to seek a blood meal inside and can survive winters indoors amongst potted plants. They are found in tropical, subtropical, and some temperate climates, ranging from southern Florida to the West Coast up to Virginia. They have been found throughout most parts of Texas except for the northern half of the Panhandle.
Habitat & Hosts
Yellow Fever Mosquito preferred hosts are humans, with occasional feeding on cats, dogs, and rodents. They are known to bite during the daytime, starting at dawn and feeding throughout dusk, choosing to rest at night. This is generally an outdoor species, with eggs being laid in artificial containers. Artificial containers range from tires, bird baths, buckets, toys, pools, and wheelbarrows to gutters and trash. The adults are found close to buildings hiding amongst the vegetation and around trees.
Aedes aegypti undergo complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult). Females acquire blood prior to producing a batch of eggs that is subsequently placed in multiple artificial containers. Eggs will 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 the water for 5 to 7 days before molting into pupae. The pupae stage is non-feeding and will last 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 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