19 April 2018

Climate conditions clear the way for mosquitoes in the UK

Press release | PestAware

Spring marks the start of the flying insect season in the UK and current weather patterns could see numbers soar, according to a national trade body.

London Underground Mosquito

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) says the recent spate of wet weather caused by heavy rainfall, coupled with a rise in spring temperatures, provides a fertile environment for insects such as mosquitoes to flourish.

BPCA is now urging the public to be pest aware and maintain environments at home and work that prevent mosquitoes from thriving.

The UK is home to more than 30 types of native mosquito species, some of which bite and create a general nuisance. The commonest species indoors, often misidentified as a Gnat, is Culex pipiens. It does not bite but is almost indistinguishable from Culex molestus which does.

The public can take steps to reduce the opportunities for mosquitoes in general to take hold. Simple, corrective measures include removing still, standing water from areas such as blocked guttering, wheelbarrows and birdbaths. Water butts can also provide ideal breeding sites for the insects so should be cleaned out regularly.

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager

BPCA is particularly concerned about one type of invasive species – the Asian Tiger mosquito - taking hold in the country.  The eggs and lava of this mosquito variety have already been discovered in two sites in the south-east of England in 2016 and 2017.

The Asian Tiger mosquito is a small black and white daytime biting insect, which was accidentally introduced to Europe in the 1970s.  It has spread through much of southern Europe and has been gradually pushing northwards.

Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host

Dee added:

"In terms of the Asian Tiger mosquito, it is particularly important that this pest does not get a toe-hold in the UK as it is a species of concern.  They can transmit debilitating and even deadly viruses, including Chikungunya and Dengue fever. 

 “When it comes to the Asian Tiger mosquito, professional pest control is the first line of defence in protecting the general public, both in identifying the spread of this invasive species and controlling the potentially deadly insect if it gains a foothold in the UK.

 “Anybody who does come across this insect should contact a professional pest controller, and the GB Non-native Species Secretariat.

 “While we recognise that there is no immediate danger to the public, as an industry we need to prepare to deal with this and any other invasive species that threaten public health.

 "BPCA members are well-placed to address these issues, supported by the public being vigilant to the situation and being pest aware.”

 For more detail about pests in the UK, including invasive species, visit BPCA’s A-Z of pests.

Source: PestAware

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