A tiger mosquito. | Archives

Itching, scratching, suffering. According to experts, the current mosquito plague in Mallorca is expected to last until at least the end of October. And what is worse for some, cockroaches are also spreading more and more due to the hot and humid climate on the island.

"Both types of insects are currently multiplying due to the torrential rains over the past few days, which have led to water pooling in gardens, balconies and terraces. This is where snakes and cockroaches hatch their eggs," explained zoology professor Miguel Ángel Miranda at the Balearic University. "The rapid reproduction of the animals is reinforced by the persistently high temperatures, the "perfect breeding conditions for insects", said the expert.

But Miranda rules out the possibility that this year's plague is a special event. "Every year in late summer or autumn there is a proliferation of mosquitoes and cockroaches throughout the Mediterranean. There is nothing special about that."

As soon as the temperatures drop in winter, however, the pests get their act together. "Their life cycle is barely a month anyway. If they cannot provide enough offspring during this time, insect populations shrink drastically and in a relatively short time," says the professor.

In order to protect against the spread of mosquitoes in one's own house, Miranda recommends above all the removal of possible places where rainwater can collect or remain for a longer period of time. This includes, above all, flowerpot shelters on balconies and terraces.

The tiger mosquito

The tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is a species of nematocarid dipteran belonging to the family Culicidae. It is characterised by its black colouration with white ornamentation on the thorax and abdomen, black and white banded legs and a conspicuous central longitudinal white line on the thorax and head. It is about 5 to 10 mm (millimetres) long. Like other mosquito species, the female has a thin, elongated proboscis, which, like a stiletto, it uses to bite and extract blood from vertebrates, especially mammals and birds, which it uses to develop eggs as protein. It uses small filaments (whiskers) on the sides of the proboscis to detect carbon dioxide (CO2) from animals (including humans) to stalk. In its bites, it uses an anticoagulant substance to extract and store blood from its host. Male mosquitoes, like other mosquitoes, feed on nectar. It is listed as one of the 100 most harmful invasive alien species in the world by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.