Tiger mosquitos have been spotted in five different locations in Belgium, the Institute of Tropical Medicine, IMT, in Antwerp reported on Thursday. These mosquitos had not been detected in Belgium since 2016. However, researchers have now spotted them in five sites in Eastern Flanders, Hainaut, Namur and Luxembourg. They also trapped 68 specimens in different stages of development, which means the insects multiplied this summer. In the other provinces, a limited number of adult mosquitos or eggs were discovered.
In Luxembourg and Namur, eggs were found in areas near highways: the mosquito was probably brought in on cars coming from France and Germany, where it has already settled, according to the researchers.
“This is the first time this type of mosquito has been introduced into Belgium in this way,” the institute said. “Previous introductions observed by IMT researchers resulted from the importation of used tyres, through garden centres and Antwerp Port. It was always a matter of a few mosquitos coming from distant locations.”
“It’s crucial to continue this monitoring in a structured manner,” stressed Dr. Wim Van Bortel, General Coordinator of the Monitoring of Exotic Mosquitos (MEMO) project in Belgium. “If we can locate exotic mosquitos on time, we’ll be able to combat them better and ensure their non-proliferation in our country in the near future.”
“Even if the mosquitos settle here, it’s important to keep a close watch on the populations so as to be able to assess the disease-transmission risk,” Van Bortel explained.
The tiger mosquito is brought in from neighbouring countries by road and has been multiplying in Belgium’s regions for some time now. IMT researchers and their partners monitor 23 potential entry points into the country used by this and other exotic mosquitos.