Summertime is a time for outdoor BBQs, hikes, and other fun family activities. But with 85 identified species of mosquitoes in the state of Texas, it can be hard to enjoy the summer weather without a certain level of wariness. After all, mosquitoes are a year-round threat in our mild climate and are known to carry and transmit diseases such as the Zika virus, Malaria, West Nile virus, and heartworm.
There are many ways to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home, but knowing which species of mosquito you’re dealing with can help you determine the best way to handle the issue.
Aedes Aegypti (Yellow Fever Mosquito)
Another mosquito with black and white markings, the Aedes aegypti or Yellow Fever Mosquito is most easily recognized by a lyre-like marking on its thorax. These mosquitoes seek out a host by tracking the natural chemical compounds emitted by mammals such as:
Lactic acid; and
Because they tend to live near and prefer to feed on people the Aedes aegypti mosquito is more likely to transmit viruses than other species. Yellow Fever mosquitoes are the main carriers of:
Fun fact: Amazingly, a 2019 study found that the song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex was effective in delaying host attack, reducing blood feeding, and disrupting the mating of the insect.
Culex Quinquefasciatus (Southern Mosquito)
There are approximately 19 different species of mosquitoes under the Culex genus, but the Culex quinquefasciatus or Southern Mosquito is one of the most common in our area. After mating, female mosquitoes will seek out blood as a nutrition source. This is because blood is a necessary part of egg development. When females are ready to breed they can lay up to five rafts of eggs—one raft can contain thousands of eggs depending on climate conditions.
Southern mosquitoes are known to carry the following diseases:
Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger Mosquito)
This mosquito is named for it’s distinctive black and white markings as well as the tell-tale white stripe that runs down its body. Unlike many species of mosquitoes, Asian Tiger mosquitoes typically bite during daylight hours. The females will lay eggs in any receptacle or container that can hold at least half an inch of water.
Asian Tiger mosquitoes are known to carry the following diseases:
West Nile virus
Chikungunya virus (a virus similar to dengue fever)