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Aedes Aegypti Mosquito Identification & Control

an aedes aegypti mosquito

It’s not hard to know when you have mosquitoes around. They definitely have a way of announcing themselves. But, what kind of mosquito are you dealing with? There are several common species. Some bite during the day, some at night and some will bite whenever they can. Knowing what kind you’re dealing with can help you fight back. What’s more, different species carry different diseases. Knowing what kind of mosquito is biting you might also help your doctor diagnose the cause if you come down with symptoms after a mosquito bite.

Why You Should Know the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito

Yellow fever isn’t commonly known in the U.S. The few cases seen each year in the US are typically travelers from Africa or South America. That might lead you to think the yellow fever mosquito isn’t a major concern here. The reality is that while Aedes aegypti is the most common vector for getting yellow fever in the tropics, the species is extremely common in the southern states, where it carries a host of other viruses.

All told, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry 54 viruses and two parasites that cause malaria. If you have yellow fever mosquitoes where you live, here are a few of the more serious illnesses that should be on your radar:

  • Chikungunya is a virus you’ll often hear mentioned around the topic of mosquito-borne illnesses. This virus was on the decline for many years thanks to mosquito control programs, but in the last 20 years or so it has spread throughout temperate and tropical areas of the globe. Aedes mosquitoes are responsible for this spread. Chikungunya causes fever, joint pain and rash, though many people experience no symptoms. It’s rarely fatal but can be painful.
  • The yellow fever mosquito remains the primary vector for the spread of the dengue virus. Dengue became a reportable disease to the CDC in 2010, and in 2022, there were nearly 1,200 cases of dengue reported in the U.S.
  • Zika virus is related to the dengue virus and is generally spread by Aedes mosquitoes. The symptoms are similar. There is no vaccine, nor is there a treatment.
  • West Nile virus is more commonly spread by the common house mosquito than Aedes, but both do spread it. There were over a thousand cases in the US in 2022, with 71% of victims developing encephalitis or meningitis.

Unfortunately, there are no vaccines for many of the diseases carried by yellow fever mosquitoes. There are no cures for many of those diseases, either. Even a disease that is often asymptomatic can present life-threatening symptoms in immune-compromised people. Contacting a pest control professional is the best way to keep mosquitoes in check. They can also provide you with advice on how to repel mosquitoes.

How Aedes Aegypti Identify Us

You might know that only female mosquitoes bite people or animals. They need the protein from animal blood to grow their eggs. Females are attracted to animals by chemical scents.

Many people wonder if mosquitoes can smell blood. In reality, they smell the carbon dioxide we exhale. They’re also attracted to the smell of ammonia. We don’t normally smell like ammonia, but small amounts of ammonia can come out in our sweat after a workout. Kidney disease can also lead to an ammonia odor.

Those workouts also cause us to put out lactic acid in our sweat, and that’s another scent the female mosquitoes can hone in on. Lactic acid is the chemical that builds up in our muscles as we work out and can lead to muscle cramps if the body doesn’t get rid of it.

ABC Home & Commercial Services uses In2Care Mosquito Control, which involves installing devices that use some of these scents to attract female mosquitoes. Rather than trapping the mosquitoes drawn into the device, it treats them with an insect growth regulator that prevents eggs from developing. When the mosquito lays her eggs in water, the growth regulator affects the entire pool, preventing any eggs in it from developing. This system uses mosquitoes to treat the important bodies of water around your home without pesticides.

How To Identify Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes

Identifying the specific mosquito you’re dealing with can be difficult. It’s virtually impossible to identify them while they’re flying around you, and it can be even more difficult to identify them once you’ve slapped them.

Yellow fever mosquitoes are about the same size as common house mosquitoes (about a third of an inch), but they have bolder markings. Aedes aegypti have distinct black and white markings on their legs and the long part of their body. The closest relative you’re likely to run into is the Asian tiger mosquito. Asian tiger mosquitoes are quite a bit larger, about half an inch, and they bite very hard. Yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes share black and white markings on their legs and abdomens. However, yellow fever mosquitoes have a white circle on their thorax, while Asian tiger mosquitoes have a single stripe running down theirs. If you can spot that difference, you can tell your pest control professional exactly what you’re facing.

a crane fly

Bugs That Look Like Mosquitoes

There are several insects that people confuse with mosquitoes. Some look a lot like mosquitoes; others are rare enough that many people’s best guess is that they’re mosquitoes. Some are harmless; some are not.

  • We’ve already discussed the Asian tiger mosquito, which is a close relative of Aedes aegypti, only slightly larger. The crane fly, pictured above, also looks a lot like a mosquito, but it’s much larger. Crane flies are harmless, but their three-inch leg span makes them look scary.
  • Female dobsonflies are sometimes confused with giant mosquitoes. They’re even larger than crane flies, at four to five inches in length. Males aren’t confused with mosquitoes because they have intimidating inch-long pincers on their mouths.
  • Fungus gnats are found almost exclusively inside the home. They resemble mosquitoes, but they’re tiny–about an eighth of an inch long. While mosquitoes can visit the inside of your home, fungus gnats can happily live inside your home.
  • Kissing bugs can be found throughout the southern states but seem to be most prevalent in Texas. Kissing bugs can carry Chagas. This disease may present few (if any) symptoms immediately following the bite, but if left untreated, the parasite can cause heart disease and even heart failure as much as 30 years later.
  • Leafcutter ants can show up around your porch light just about any warm evening, especially right after a good rain. The majority of leafcutter ants can’t fly, but leafcutter queens and the males do fly when she’s establishing a new colony. During that flying phase, leafcutter ants can be mistaken for mosquitoes. The biggest difference is their abdomens, which are round instead of cigar-shaped. If you see leafcutters, contact a pest control professional. Leafcutter nests can be 30 feet across and nearly 20 feet deep. They can strip the leaves from a tree in a day and remove enough dirt under roadways to cause the pavement to collapse. They also have a painful bite.

a mosquito on a person's skin

How To Kill Mosquitoes in Standing Water

It’s next to impossible for a homeowner to eradicate mosquitoes in an area with an optimal habitat for them. Mosquitoes have come to rely on urban areas as events like deforestation and warming temperatures mean fewer suitable pools of water in the wild. It takes the tools of a pest control professional to make a serious dent in a large mosquito population. However, you can do some things to dissuade them from laying eggs around your home.

  • Eliminate any pools of standing water. Mosquitoes don’t lay eggs in streams; they want still water. Aedes aegypti seek out water with bacteria which her offspring will eat. If a pool is too clean, they’ll move on.
  • For bodies of water you want or need to keep, like birdbaths, clean them weekly. That will wash out any eggs and larvae. You can also talk to a mosquito control professional about putting mosquito dunks in your birdbath. This won’t harm the birds, but will help prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
  • Adding things like dish soap will not deter mosquitoes from laying eggs in something like a bird bath. Any home remedies for things you could add to a small pool to deter mosquitoes would either be toxic to birds or ineffective.
  • Cover any openings or gaps around pipes with a window screen if you have cisterns or rain barrels. If mosquitoes can fit through a gap to reach water, they absolutely will.
  • In the house, if you have floor drains that rarely see water (like in a laundry room floor), pour a cap full of bleach down them once in a while. The stagnant water in neglected floor drains is a perfect habitat for drain flies, fungus gnats and mosquitoes. A tiny bit of bleach will not only kill any eggs or larvae in the trap, but it will also kill the bacteria those larvae live on, making it unsuitable for quite some time.

Most DIY methods of mosquito control, like mosquito bracelets, are of little value. All the measures listed above can help reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes in and around the house. None of them, though, are a final solution.

Using a pest control professional is the best way to control these pests. Plus, they can do a far better job of decreasing the mosquitoes you encounter. Contact a pest control specialist today so you can enjoy being outside any time of year.

ABC Can Reduce Mosquito Populations on Your Property

If you’re ready for relief from mosquitoes, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our professionals will create a customized mosquito control plan. This way, you and your family members can feel more at ease in your outside space again.

Russell Jenkins

Russell Jenkins is the Chief Communications Officer for ABC Home and Commercial Services in North Texas. Russell has been working as part of the ABC Family since he was 12 years old under the direction of his father, Owner Dennis Jenkins, and has since held several leadership roles at ABC. Russell holds a degree in Agricultural Leadership from Texas A&M University, and is a Food Safety Specialist. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and two children, playing tennis, and gaming.

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