24.hu reports that there are mostly 50 different species of mosquitoes native to Hungary that are about to retire into hibernation for the winter, but there are three new additions from abroad. These latter three are causing a lot of concern, as they might be the start of a new epidemic, bringing viruses like the Zika.
The 50 native mosquitoes are harmless, according to scientists. However, the three newcomers – the Korean mosquito, the Asian tiger mosquito and the Asian bush mosquito – are not only invasive subspecies but also pose a serious threat concerning viruses.
The issue is that the larvae of these invasive species can survive almost anything up to 2-3 years, ranging from the heatwaves all the way to the freezing colds of wintertime.
The reason why tropical diseases did not reach the temperate climate zones is that the mosquitoes able to transfer such diseases could not survive the changing climate. Due to climate change and global warming, these species are able to adapt to new climates, once they are brought in accidentally through travelling and trade.
There is no way of telling for sure which species will hatch in the spring, as Hungary lacks a monitoring, surveillance and adept filtering system. Scientists at the University of Pécs are researching this area, but even they do not know where and in what number are these three new species settled.
The University of Pécs researched the behaviour of these mosquitoes, concluding that:
- the Korean mosquito prefers cities and their surroundings; they like to be as close to human activity as possible.
- the other two Asian mosquitoes opt rather for roadside stops and cemeteries (both in Southern Hungary and abroad).
Further investigation of the issue is needed to get a full comprehension of the situation and to come up with a permanent or at least long-lasting solution and to be prepared for what the mosquitoes have in store for Hungary, but for this to continue, funding is of crucial importance.
The other option that we have is to employ mosquitocides, but Gábor Kemenesi, professor and researcher at the University of Pécs, argues that
the chemical clearing of mosquitoes will kill other harmless flying insects too.
Furthermore, this is not effective enough; it will only ‘ease the symptoms’. Biological clearing, on the other hand, would be more effective and less expensive.
On top of all this, clearing in other European countries is in 99% biological and only in 1% chemical. In Hungary the reverse is true.
featured image: wikicommons – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library