Treasure Coast Dengue Mosquitoes – Morphed from Pest to Danger.
As a Vero Beach tile contractor who often works in homes open to the outdoors, I have become something of an expert on the behavior of Treasure Coast mosquitoes. I recently read an article written by an authority on Dengue Fever describing the behavior of the mosquitoes that carries that disease. They are the same gals that I have to deal with regularly. These mosquitoes are really smart and fast. They hide from the light, tend to hit still targets, and attack and bite quickly and then go back to hiding.
Now, locally acquired cases of dengue fever are being reported in Florida for the first time in more than 75 years. The Florida Department of Health is urging Indian River, Saint Lucie and Martin County residents to take precautions against mosquito-borne illness. Dengue Fever is a disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses transmitted to humans through certain species of mosquitoes that live in tropical and subtropical regions, including the southeastern United States.
Dengue Fever is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Two types of mosquitoes – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – are known transmitters of the dengue viruses and are found in large number in Martin and St. Lucie counties. The mosquito linked to the dengue outbreak in Martin and St. Lucie counties is Aedes aegypti, a daytime biter.
Under optimal conditions, the egg of an Aedes mosquito can hatch into a larva in less than a day. The larva then takes about four days to develop into a pupa, from which an adult mosquito will emerge after two days. Three days after the mosquito has bitten a person and taken in blood, it will lay eggs, and the cycle begins again.
Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zica too.
“It’s up to you,” said a 1945 public service announced aimed at Americans. Find “one of man’s worst enemies” and “destroy their foxholes.”
The video came from the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). And it was talking about a particular species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti — the very same mosquito in the news now. Back then, public health officials were mostly worried about dengue and yellow fevers.
70 years later, we are still trying to reduce populations of the same mosquito. The message is much the same — dump out containers of standing water, cover cisterns and rain barrels, and try to keep from being bitten.
Did you know?
1. Only the female mosquito bites as it needs the protein in blood to develop its eggs.
2. The mosquito becomes infective approximately seven days after it has bitten a person carrying the virus. This is the extrinsic incubation period, during which time the virus replicates in the mosquito and reaches the salivary glands.
3. Peak biting is at dawn and dusk.
4. The average lifespan of an Aedes mosquito in Nature is two weeks
5. The mosquito can lay eggs about three times in its lifetime, and about 100 eggs are produced each time.
6. The eggs can lie dormant in dry conditions for up to about nine months, after which they can hatch if exposed to favorably conditions, i.e. water and food.
7. The Aedes mosquito has spread the viral disease Chikungunya (CHIKV), throughout Haiti.
8. The mosquito-borne virus could become a major public health problem in Florida.
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