Germany: Tiger “bloodsucker” settled in the Upper Rhine Valley

Despite all the control measures taken, the Asian tiger mosquito was able to comfortably settle down on the territory of Baden-Württemberg – in the Upper Rhine valley. The birthplace of tiger mosquitoes is tropical and subtropical South Asian regions. However, in recent years, due to climate change, these aggressors feel very comfortable on the European continent as well. How dangerous is the new “resident” of Germany in reality?

“The hot summer months have clearly contributed to the spread of mosquitoes,” Xenia Augsten from the Municipal Action Group for Combating Mosquito Plague (Kabs) in Speyer said at the end of 2022. Kabs unites more than 90 municipalities in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. It can be argued that “Asian tiger mosquitoes are occupying Germany. This year, at least six generations of this aggressive exotic species were able to turn into flying insects. This is two more than in the past, ”Augsten drew attention. Moreover, the summer drought did not cause any harm to tiger mosquitoes. “They found enough breeding opportunities, for example, in drainage systems or simply “storm drains” necessary for the orderly collection of water (melting snow, rain) and its organized diversion to a clearly designated place.”

Tiger mosquito population doubled

According to Augsten, reports of the pesky bloodsucker are currently coming from 21 locations in the Kabs work area on both sides of the Rhine. “A resistant population was identified in 16 of them. This figure has more than doubled in a year.”

The tiger mosquito was fought in 11 cities and communities, such as Wiesbaden and Kehl. “And this is by no means a hopeless Sisyphean labor. Among other things, in areas such as the Rhine-Taunus or Karlsruhe, the intensive work of professionals and volunteers has been crowned with success,” said a Kabs spokeswoman.

However, at the end of the summer, the employees of this organization were forced to admit that they had reached the limit of their capabilities in terms of personnel. “If 2022 were as wet as 2021, it would be impossible to fight tiger mosquitoes as effectively,” Augsten admitted.

The risk cannot be underestimated

In the laboratories of the Friedrich Löfler Institute on the island of Reems in the Baltic Sea, where they study dangerous viruses transmitted by animals, fish and insects, they study, in particular, tiger mosquitoes – potential carriers of viruses such as chikungunya, as well as dengue fever. According to Xenia Augsten, “more and more hot summer – the result of global warming, increases the risk of these bloodsuckers settling down in Germany.” In any case, it should not be underestimated, otherwise the Asian tiger mosquito will spread further.

2022 – summer almost without mosquitoes

Speaking of 2021 and 2022, Augsten called them “years of contrasts”. “Torrential rains in 2021 resulted in a high incidence associated with bites from native mosquito species. On the other hand, in 2022 Kabs had little to do in the floodplains, as the dry summer did nothing to encourage the mass development of Rhine mosquitoes.”

Is there a way out of this situation?

Of course, the recipe for success is a policy of draining mosquito breeding sites, coupled with chemical control methods against these insects. As a result, all people living along the Rhine would have had a summer practically without mosquitoes.

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