Common mosquito and tiger mosquito

The arrival of spring and the rise in temperatures is the period conducive to the spread of mosquitoes. However, a consequence of global warming is milder winters spent in the company of these insects.

To find out more about the mosquito, its role, its behaviour and why we attract them, here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions on this subject. You will also find our section on the tiger mosquito, its differences and the dangers it brings with it.

Do you have questions about the Qista trap and its operation? Go to our FAQ on Qista mosquito traps.

General questions

What is the mosquito’s role?

Is the mosquito really a useful insect within our ecosystems? The mosquito's role in nature may not be clear as we tend to think only of the unpleasantness with which it is synonymous (bites, itching, humming in flight), however it is essential to biodiversity as we know it. As a link in the food chain, mosquitoes in different forms are prey to many predators: fish or aquatic animals such as water stick insects feed on mosquito larvae when they form on the surface of the water, and birds or flying animals such as bats are formidable predators of adult mosquitoes. Did you know that a bat can hunt up to 600 mosquitoes an hour?

The mosquito’s role in plant pollination is also observed and little known. When the female mosquitoes don’t find any animal or human prey, they forage to compensate for the lack of protein required to develop their eggs. The male mosquitoes play a more significant role in pollination as they never bite, however the importance of mosquitoes here is not highlighted as no plant is dependent on the mosquito for survival.

Why does the mosquito bite?

Firstly, only the female mosquito bites. After mating with the male, she looks for a protein source in order to bring her recently fertilised eggs to maturity. Not all species of mosquito bite humans: other species are attracted by some mammals, birds or even cold-blooded animals such as frogs and snakes.
Otherwise, the normal mosquito diet is made up of nectar from plants which also makes them great pollinators.

Can a mosquito bite several times?

Yes, but it prefers to bite only once if undisturbed. We tend to chase a mosquito away when we notice it: if it's meal is interrupted then there’s a good chance it will come back to finish it.

For example, tiger mosquito bites are more painful. Humans tend to chase the mosquito away quickly with their arm and it comes back to bite them and finish their meal.

Which colours attract mosquitoes?

It has been observed that the mosquito is more often attracted by dark colours such as black or dark blue. This would suggest that dark skin tends to attract more mosquitoes than pale skin. It is therefore recommended to wear light clothes, even if visual factors only come into play late in the mosquito hunt when it is fairly close to its prey (around 1.5 metres).

Are some people more prone to mosquito bites?

Yes, we have found that a link exists with those in blood group O+. The mosquito also finds pregnant women more attractive as their metabolism is higher than average so they give off more CO2. Genetics also has its role: those who naturally give off more CO2 or more human smells that attract the mosquito will get bitten more.

The mosquito also considers the behaviour of its prey: children and the elderly are less reactive and are less likely to chase flying insects which suits the mosquito as it has more chance of finishing its meal in one go.

Why does a mosquito bite itch?

This is because mosquito saliva is allergenic. When it bites, the female injects her saliva and an anti-coagulant: your body's immune response will be histamine release, a neurotransmitter responsible for unpleasant itching.

This itching starts within 30 to 60 seconds and will disappear after around 10 minutes. This is why you shouldn’t scratch a mosquito spot when you've just been bitten (easier said than done?).

Does the mosquito die after it has bitten?

No, the female only bites for food and to ensure her eggs reach maturity. It doesn’t die after biting unlike the bee that stings to defend itself and inevitably dies after losing its sting.

Are there mosquitoes in winter?

Unfortunately, yes. Mosquitoes can hibernate and this is called the diapause. When temperatures fall, the mosquito looks for a warm enough place to ensure it survival and spend winter in a lethargic state (its metabolism is completely at rest) until spring and an upturn in temperatures. In a larva state, mosquitoes can’t develop at a low temperature and remain on the surface of the water until temperatures are conducive to development.

However, the Culex pipiens, the most widespread species in France, seeks refuge in our houses. If there is stagnant water, it can even reproduce and live (and bite you!) in winter in your house. Moreover, global warming is bringing us ever milder winters which means that the mosquitoes don’t hibernate and can reproduce all year round.

What are the mosquito’s predators?

As an adult, the mosquito becomes spider food, insects such as dragonflies, birds such as swallows, lizards, or even bats. Bats are excellent mosquito hunters: a bat can hunt up to 600 mosquitoes an hour, that’s 5,000 a night! Installing a bat box means that the animal can be re-established in urban areas and the mosquito population can be controlled without using any insecticides.

Mosquitoes are also hunted in larva state. As they develop on the water’s surface, they become prey for aquatic invertebrates or larvivorous fish.

What diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes?

In addition to being the deadliest, mosquitoes transmit more diseases than any other animal on the planet. Depending on the species, the mosquito can transmit Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya or even Palu (parasite). Visit our page on health risks linked to mosquitoes to find out more.

Which species look like mosquitoes and bite humans and transmit diseases?

Arabis (simulium and culicoides) are small flies similar to mosquitoes. The females are also hematophagous (blood-sucking) and can bite us. However, they are less dangerous than female mosquitoes even though they can transmit bluetongue from sheep.

Does the mosquito travel? Over what distance?

Most species have a flight range between 1 and 5 kilometres. As for the tiger mosquito, it prefers to move in a range of around 100 metres. Despite itself, the mosquito can move over a much bigger distance depending on several factors such as the wind, travel by car, train, plane, etc.

The tiger mosquito can settle in many types of environment and is one of the most invasive species in the world: its eggs can withstand drying (dehydration) and low temperatures. Ever-increasing commercial transactions are often responsible for the movement of mosquito species. Tiger mosquitoes are particularly fond of tyre transportation where stagnant water helps them spread.

How to get rid of mosquitoes?

The fight against mosquitoes encompasses the science of vector control action. The chemical method (use of insecticides) is the most widespread but also the most criticised for its impact on the environment and ecosystems.

The biological method (aerial application using BTI) targets the mosquito but also impacts chironomids, a cousin of the mosquito. The entire food chain is impacted by killing this species as its predators can no long feed themselves.

The Qista method remains the most effective ecological and environmentally friendly solution at present. By breaking reproductive cycles and removing larvae, the mosquitoes are captured and the females no longer reproduced in a specific area. Other species continue to play their role in the ecosystems and there is no environmental or human risk.

How to fight mosquitoes outdoors or in my garden?

The Qista method remains the most effective ecological and environmentally friendly solution at present. Qista traps remain the most effective way to get rid of mosquitoes outdoors while protecting your family. The Qista solution is eco-friendly and only captures female mosquitoes. You can also apply 10 eco-friendly gestures to reduce the spread of mosquitoes in your garden.

Are repellent products and bracelets effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay?

No. Phone apps claiming to keep mosquitoes at bay using ultrasound are just gadgets and do not work. Be aware that some of these apps do charge despite their lack of proven effectiveness. Repellent bracelets, creams and other scented candles can disturb mosquitoes but their action radius and effectiveness is often limited.

The tiger mosquito

What is the difference between the common and tiger mosquito?

The common mosquito is the species generally found in Europe and is home-grown. Conversely, the tiger mosquito is of Asian origin and is extremely invasive. After being imported, it has spread quickly across the continent.

Here are a few points to help you differentiate between them:

  • The tiger mosquito has a black body with white stripes, its feet are also striped, it has a white line on the thorax and its wings are black. As for the common mosquito, it has a brown body with bands and transparent wings.
  • Unlike the common mosquito which lives and bites mainly at night, the tiger mosquito is diurnal: it operates mostly in the day.
  • The tiger mosquito is slower making it an easier insect to hunt. The common mosquito is quicker and makes a recognisable humming noise in flight.

Is the tiger mosquito dangerous?

Yes, it carries several dangerous viral diseases. In particular, it can carry the Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika viruses. These diseases are transmitted by tiger mosquito bites and can often be debilitating for several months: they are manifested by various symptoms such as fever, joint pain, headaches or even skin rashes.

Why is the tiger mosquito even more dangerous for pregnant women, babies and young children?

Pregnant women and young children have a more fragile immune system. If a pregnant woman is bitten by a mosquito carrying a virus then the embryo can suffer serious consequences. Newborns are just as vulnerable and the consequences can go as far as causing infant death.

Protection is fundamental in case of exposure to risk areas where tiger mosquitoes have been documented. The Qista mosquito trap protects you and your family from this health risk, providing increased safety and comfort in your outdoor spaces. This eco-friendly solution is suitable for younger ones, compared to certain strong repellent sprays or creams that are contraindicated for pregnant women, babies and young children.

How do I know if my district is affected by the tiger mosquito?

You can view the tiger mosquito map (Aedes albopictus) for mainland France on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health website.

Do you have questions about the Qista trap and its operation? Go to our FAQ on Qista mosquito traps.

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