Lots of sun in spring: Germany is facing an extreme mosquito plague in 2017

Lots of sun in spring: Germany is facing an extreme mosquito plague in 2017

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Good weather conditions: experts fear massive mosquito infestation
Ideal weather conditions for mosquitoes have prevailed in the past weeks. The little pests are therefore much earlier this year. In 2017, there could even be a real mosquito plague. Experts have tips on what helps against annoying mosquitoes.

Ideal weather for mosquitoes
If the year stays sunny and warm and there is enough rainfall, 2017 could be a good year for mosquitoes. Already now, two to three weeks earlier than normal, the blood-sucking pests swarmed out, explained the biologist Dr. Doreen Walther, mosquito expert at the Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (Zalf) in Munich's Müncheberg in a message from the news agency dpa. If there is no sudden cold snap, this is ideal for the more than 50 mosquito species in Germany, says Walther.

Spread of exotic mosquitoes
"It will be exciting. If the conditions are right, there could be many generations of mosquitoes in 2017 - to the detriment of humans, ”said the scientist.

Around 3,500 mosquito species are known worldwide, and there are about 50 species in Germany alone. Experts are concerned about the increasing spread of exotic mosquitoes such as the Asian tiger mosquito in Germany, which can transmit numerous pathogens such as viruses, unicellular organisms and roundworms.

Infectious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever or Zika are transmitted by mosquitoes, but according to many experts, the risk of getting a disease from a bite is negligible.

Sparse knowledge of native species
But: "While there is reasonably good knowledge about the biological properties of tropical mosquito species, which are known in their homeland as carriers of pathogens, knowledge about the native species is very sparse", says the portal "Mosquito Atlas", where the Zalf works with the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (Federal Research Institute for Animal Health).

And further: "u.a. there is no data on whether native mosquitoes could transmit introduced tropical pathogens. "

Newly hatched specimens on the way
Mosquitoes that are already flying around would have wintered in cellars or in attics. According to Walther, specimens that have just hatched are also on the move, especially in southern Germany.

"However, only the females suck blood because they need the protein to form their eggs," says the scientist, according to the dpa.

In addition, the bloodsuckers include black mosquitoes and the midges, the season of which usually begins in May.

To the former, Walther said: "For example, there are enough larvae in the Oder, so that they could appear on a large scale as long as it doesn't suddenly become cool and rainy."

Black mosquitoes are particularly troublesome because they crawl under people's clothing and leave large, itchy sores that heal poorly.

And, according to the expert, Gnitzen has already been caught in traps: "The pests, which are only two millimeters in size, are mainly on the move at dusk and prefer to prick people's hairline."

Protect yourself from itchy bites
You cannot escape the pests completely. At least you can often protect yourself against itchy bites - among other things with so-called all-in-one sprays, which should also protect against ticks, grass mites and other insects.

In addition to such means, there are many other things that help against annoying mosquitoes. So you can keep insects away from mosquito nets at home or in the tent and protect yourself from bites outdoors with bright, skin-covering clothing.

According to various studies, the bloodsuckers are attracted to bad odors such as sweat or smelly socks. So this should be avoided. As a home remedy for mosquitoes, smells such as garlic or cabbage are among the options. (ad)

Author and source information

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