Against that tiger mozzie it’s war

 … and no holds barred

We’ve written before about the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). This undesirable immigrant from Asia is twice as nasty as his native cousins. Why? Unlike them, who only usually bother us at night, this fellow is active round the clock and could attack you at breakfast or over lunch. As some readers may know, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion this species of mosquito has been found to spread the disagreeable disease chikungunya. So far there’s no evidence that they carry the infection locally, but, experts say there is a high risk of that changing – last year there was an epidemic of chikungunya in Italy.

The authorities are taking the presence of Aedes albopictus very seriously. There’s an interdepartmental committee devoted to the problem. You can call them and they’ll check your property, exterminate larvae and advise you. Their slogan is Soyez secs avec les moustiques (in other words, “Don’t be wet with the mozzies”). These nasty creatures thrive in stagnant water – a quarter inch depth is enough for them to lay eggs in – so make sure any container for rain water is covered with a mosquito net; where feasible put goldfish in the water (they eat the larvae) and empty away any small quantities of water that have accumulated. As to the use of repellents, the Ministry of Health had identified only three as being really effective: DDT, Icaridine, and IR 3535. It is essential to follow the instructions carefully when using these products. For information (in French) call 0 800 740 606.   

From Riviera Reporter Issue 128: Aug/Sept 2008