As we head into a long weekend full of sun, fun, and outdoor activities, there’s a new invasive species Michiganders need to protect themselves from.
TAYLOR, MI — Michiganders from the U.P. to the southern border will be turning grillmaster fantasies into reality this Fourth of July weekend. Whether your plans include close friends and family for a socially responsible gathering or some alone time with nature, take caution against Michigan’s latest invader: Asian tiger mosquitos.
“Although we have not had any illnesses associated with these species of mosquitoes in Michigan, it is important to take precautions since other mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to people,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”
Be on the Lookout
The Asian tiger mosquito has a silvery stripe on its back, white rings around its legs, and is known to be an aggressive biter, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The species tends to breed in containers where water collects, like old tires, gutters, and flowerpots.
How to Stay Protected
The MDHHS recommends that Michiganders take the following precautions to prevent the spread of viruses and disease by these mosquitos:
- Eliminating sources of standing water such as wading pools, old tires, buckets, and containers by dumping water to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching or larvae from developing into biting adults
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors
- Applying an EPA-registered insect repellent according to label instructions
- Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens
Scientists first observed the mosquitos in an industrial area of Livonia in 2017. They reappeared in a Romulus industrial area the following year and have been discovered in a Taylor industrial area this year.
The warming climate trends are supporting the spread of these mosquitoes that can transmit dengue, chikungunya, and Zika into more northern regions like Michigan, MDHHS said.
Concerned Michiganders can learn more about mosquito-borne viruses and MDHHS’s mosquito surveillance in Michigan at Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.