It is next to impossible to avoid mosquito bites during the summer in Louisiana, as numerous mosquito species thrive in the wet and exceedingly humid Gulf Coast climate. More than 60 mosquito species have been documented as inhabiting Louisiana, many of which are capable of transmitting a number of diseases to humans, such as the West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, and Lacrosse encephalitis.
Louisiana is also home to two invasive mosquito species that are commonly known as yellow fever mosquitoes and Asian tiger mosquitoes. These species transmit the Zika virus, chikungunya, and dengue fever, but these three diseases have not been reported in Louisiana. In addition to the two invasive species, the native southern house mosquito is one of the primary mosquito vector species in New Orleans. Coquillettidia perturbans, more commonly known as the “cattail mosquito,” is another disease-carrying mosquito species in Louisiana, and they are unique for their unusually large size, fast flying speeds, and for their habit of readily entering homes in the middle of the night where they persistently inflict painful bites to humans.
Female cattail mosquitoes lay massive amounts of eggs in woodland marshes where emerging larvae attach themselves to the roots and stems of aquatic plants in order to remain submerged until reaching adulthood in mid June or July. While most species of mosquito larvae develop in aquatic habitats where they periodically breathe underwater through a smooth siphon (breathing tube), cattail mosquito larvae are unique for possessing a sharp siphon that is outfitted with teeth. In order to breathe while spending months entirely submerged in swamps, cattail larvae access air by using their saw-like siphon to pierce hollow plant roots and stems.
Since cattail larvae remain underwater during their larval and pupal stages, they are the only mosquitoes that avoid insecticide exposure from community-wide aerial insecticide operations. Because larvae survive community-wide mosquito control efforts, they are unusually abundant in urban, suburban and rural areas of Louisiana during the mid summer to fall months. Cattail mosquito adults are hard to miss due to their bulky, striped and “shaggy” bodies, and females collect blood meals shortly after sundown and into the early morning. They often appear in homes, especially when they are hungry, and their very painful bites are known to penetrate clothing.
Have you ever sustained painful mosquito bites in your home?Tags: mosquito control, Mosquito Exterminator