Following the emergence of West Nile virus in North America, concern is being expressed over the emergence of mosquito-borne viruses in new geographic locations and in particular, the UK.
In addition to our endemic mosquito fauna, the possibility exists for the importation of exotic mosquitoes that could cause a greater biting nuisance and may become involved in the transmission of infectious diseases. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is one of a number of mosquitoes that has managed to travel the world by laying its drought-resistant eggs in old tyres that are subsequently exported.
Survival & seasonal activity modelling carried out by PHE have shown that the UK’s mild winter temperatures may allow Aedes albopictus to overwinter with possible activity occurring during the summer months. Ae albopictus is a prolific man-biter and quite at home in urban situations thus promoting its ability for transmitting infectious diseases.
Public Health England (PHE) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health are seeking a better understanding of the incidence of mosquitoes biting humans in the UK and have developed MOSQUITO WATCH - a dedicated database to record the incidences of mosquitoes nationally.
Environmental Health Practitioners are requested to assist in development of this database by reporting incidences of biting and nuisance mosquitoes that may occur throughout the UK.
A report form is available for download requesting the following information:
- Date of collection
- Specific location (postal address, grid reference)
- General location (nearest town/village)
- Land use (e.g. nature reserve)
- Local habitat (woodland, marsh, lake etc.)
- Contact details of individual submitting record
This report form together with the mosquito specimen (which should be placed in a crushproof container) should be sent to Killgerm Chemicals Limited, PO Box 2, Ossett, West Yorkshire, WF5 9NA.
Members of the public, if they are troubled by a persistent biting nuisance by mosquitoes or other insects, should contact their local authority environmental health department. If you find a mosquito in your home or garden that you believe may be an exotic species, please send it to the address above, together with the completed report form. A factsheet entitled Controlling mosquitoes in your garden can be found on the PHE website.
All mosquitoes collected will then be identified to assist with developing picture of nuisance biting mosquitoes in the UK and will be displayed on the map of the UK, which will be regularly updated. Please note that we can only identify actual specimens. We cannot accurately identify a specimen from a description.