Each year, I define the beginning of summer by my first Tiger Mosquito bite. This year, for example, we only had two days of Spring. Two days between the last really cold day of winter and my first bite from that band of vicious insects that are invading every country across the globe with the velocity of Global Warming itself.
Actually, I should call them ‘bitches’, since only the females bite. They use our blood as a driving source of protein through the reproductive phase. They really suck too. They hoover between 2 and 6 millilitres of blood per bite – that’s over a teaspoon! By then end of the summer they will have gotten more than they take when I donate blood!
The kicker is that, if everyone pitched in, we could probably eliminate them.
Of course, this would take convincing my small-town Italian neighbors to not water their gardens so frequently, perhaps purchase native plants that require less water, and (God forbid) refrain from using sottovase (tray under vases).
Ever since West Nile popped up in the US, these guys have been getting more media coverage. But humid Emilia has been dealing with them since the 90’s.
If you’re curious about what you can do to reduce the populations of Tiger Mosquitos in your neighborhood, check out these tips:
1. Do not leave standing water ANYWHERE.
They will still find drops in crevices of plants and trees, and you can’t do much about that. But you don’t have to throw them a welcoming party, either.
2. Don’t over-water your garden,
and chose plants that are native or adapted to the summer rain cycle of Italy.
3. Be aware of their feeding cycles.
Remember more of our blood means more of their eggs. Females reproduce just after a meal. Protect your dog as well – they can carry heart-worm! Here are some links to learn more about these little suckers:
4. Save the planet. Prevent Global Warming.
Oh yeah. And please save the planet, while you’re at it. Global warming means more of these heat-loving pests. Even if you don’t care about the planet, please consider the effect it could have on your outdoor summer social life.