Tiger mosquitoes have been spotted at three motorway parking stations in Wallonia and Flanders, researchers from the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine confirm.
A total of 200 eggs and three larvae of tiger mosquitoes were discovered in three motorway parking areas in Namur, Sprimont and Marke.
“This is the first time that the tiger mosquito has appeared so far inland. The closest regions where the species is established are the Aisne area in France and the federal state of Baden-Würtemberg in Germany,” Dr. Isra Deblauwe, the scientist responsible for the project that monitors mosquitoes in Belgium, explains in a press release.
These recent sightings support researchers’ suspicions reported this summer that the mosquito is hitch-hiking to Belgium on cars or other vehicles travelling on motorways, and are coming from countries where the species is common, such as from France or Germany.
The mosquito originally comes from Southeast Asia, but due to the transport of primarily second-hand tyres and lucky bamboo, it is spreading around the world.
Over time, the tiger mosquito, which can transmit zika, dengue and chikungunya, has been establishing itself in Europe, particularly in the southern part of the continent.
Although the mosquito species has not yet survived a winter in Belgium, “it is only a matter of time before [it] becomes established in our country,” said Dr. Wim Van Bortel, general coordinator of the project that monitors exotic mosquitoes in Belgium.
The Brussels Times