Asian tiger mosquitoes have blood-lust for humans

(CBS News) There's a nasty mosquito invading the U.S. that is sure to take a bite out of your outdoor summer plans. The insect is called the Asian tiger mosquito, and it has a blood-lust for humans but will also attack dogs, cats, birds and other animals.

Unlike other mosquitoes that tend to only come out at certain times, the Asian-tiger variety will bite all day long, making it hard to avoid the bug. Their eggs are also much stronger than the average mosquito and are tough enough to survive the cold winter.

Get ready for invading Asian tiger mosquitoes

The black-and-white striped bug was brought to Texas 30 years ago in a tire shipment. Since then, it has spread to 27 states.

"It's a beautiful mosquito because it's very well adapted to what it does," said entomologist Joseph Conlon, a technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association. "If you look at it, it's a very intensely black mosquito with white striping on it. It's very pretty."

The insect is particularly effective at spreading illness, and Conlon said that these bugs are known to be infected with as many as 30 known diseases in a laboratory, including West Nile virus and Dengue fever. They have been found to spread six-to-seven diseases worldwide and transmit five within the United Sates.

In fact, this insect has a history of causing epidemics and is blamed for causing the Chikungunya epidemic on the French Island of La Reunion between 2005 to 2006. Two-hundred-sixty-six thousand people became infected with the virus, and 254 of them died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers in the U.S. are concerned about the likelihood of a similar epidemic on American soil as the bugs populate.

While these bugs may seem invincible, there are many things that can be done to prevent the spread and to keep from being bitten.

Scientists recommend keeping your property free of debris and potential mosquito breeding areas to keep these creepy insects away from your home and yard. Conlon said that consumers should make sure to drain all containers immediately because he's seen these bugs breed in a soda bottle cap.

Conlon also recommends dressing in light-colored clothing and to wear pants because this type of mosquito favors ankles and knees.

There are also repellants that are much more effective against these bugs than others. Conlon says to make sure to use a Environmental-Protection-Agency-registered repellent and recommends anything with DEET in it as it's the most reliable at keeping the mosquitoes away.

For Joseph Conlon's full interview, watch the video in the player above.

  • Shoshana Davis

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