Asian Tiger insects, those elegant little mosquitoes that appear with stripes, are everywhere in NJ and these critters are described by residents as extremely aggressive and obnoxious.
More common insects come out at dusk, suck your blood for a while, make it impossible to get to sleep with their infernal whine, and sometimes give you a fleeting moment of intense, murderous pleasure when you squished one in mid-bite. Then they generally leave you alone until the next evening.
The Asian tiger mosquito, known more properly as Aedes albopictus, is named for its distinctive black-and-white striped legs and body markings.
And this species has no compunction about attacking when you least expect it, zooming in for a meal as you get into the car for your morning commute, for example.
“The Asian tiger mosquito is an extremely aggressive insect that has largely supplanted japonicus since 2008, especially in urban and suburban areas,” Eric Green, the mosquito control officer for Passaic County, told The Record.
The japonicus mosquito, he explained, is an insect that feeds primarily on birds and is known to spread disease among its hosts.
The Asian tiger mosquito could be “a more efficient disease vector, especially for West Nile virus,” he said, because “it bites in daytime and could put more people at risk.”
Pete Rendine, chief inspector with the mosquito control division of the Bergen County Public Works Department, said Asian tiger mosquitoes “are the worst, nuisance-wise, because they are adapting to our climate. They are here to stay.”
This is an extremely obnoxious nuisance mosquito,’ said Claudia O’Malley, a biologist for the state’s mosquito control division.
“It is impossible to control without concerted efforts by homeowners in eliminating the breeding habitat,” she said.
Not only is it aggressive, but the Asian tiger mosquito is a known vector for some serious viral diseases around the world, including West Nile virus, dengue fever, eastern equine encephalitis and chikungunya fever, experts say.
Among those diseases, the only ones that are of real concern in northern climates like that of New Jersey are equine encephalitis, which affects horses, and West Nile, which affects people.