© AVSA 2011-2023 Version 19.1.07 20/01/2023


Mosquitos The summer of 2015 was a particulary bad year, infested with mosquitoes in the Sierra and in other parts of Altea. Mosquitoes can make life unpleasant. Constantly having to track down that high-pitched whine can be a nusance, and when you’ve found the culprit there always seems to be another one waiting nearby. So why is your home or business particularly attractive to mosquitoes and how can you be sure of mosquito identification? Mosquitoes often make that all-too-familiar high pitched whine. Bites are an obvious result, ranging from mildly irritating to intensely inflamed with swelling. Only the female mosquito bites humans, the males will feed off nectar and other sweet things. The red bumps and itching caused by a mosquito bite are caused by an allergic reaction to the mosquito's saliva. The adults are attracted to standing water including water butts, water trays from house plants and water bowls, where they lay their eggs. You might spot them walking upside down on ceilings and glass surfaces. Mosquitoes travel a long way so if there’s standing water within a two kilometers of your home it may be the source of your problems. Mosquitoes might be attracted to your lawn or shrubbery, if it is well watered. Mosquitoes get a bad press, but to be honest they deserve it. There are few things more annoying when you’re trying to get to sleep than the high-pitched whine of mosquitoes in your room. You just know that they will bite you at some point in the night. Mosquitoes can be a real nuisance, leaving you with nasty itchy bites. Those bites all come from the female. The male mosquito prefers to feed on nectar and other sweet things. How do you get rid of mosquitoes in your home for good? If the infestation is small then the first thing you should try proprietary insecticides that can be found in most shops and stores. These are highly effective when the problem isn’t too bad, but if it gets worse or keeps coming back the there maybe a water source close by where they are breeding. Search your garden for any standing water. A water tray under a plant pot with a couple of millimeters of water is enough for mosquitos to breed. Any standing water must be eliminated to stop them breeding. Look outside of your property especially at unoccupied premises that has an untreated swimming pool or has a garden that is heavily irrigated with a watering system. This can be a prime source for breeding mosquitos. Unfortunately erradication of mosquitos is not possible since the banning of DDT many years ago, though there is a lot of research into the subject. We can only do what we can to eliminate as much of the mosquitos breeding area as possible and that is standing water. There are many different types of mosquito but generally in Spain they are all under a single name as a Black Mosquito with the exception of the Tiger mosquito.
The Black Mosquito has a breeding cycle on average between 10 to 14 days. Unfortunately they can fly up to 2 kilometers from their breeding site to feed. Here is detail on the life cycle from the (AMCA).   There is a great deal of information from the AMCA on mosquitoes and control of these pests.    The Tiger Mosquito is not native to Spain and is a relative newcomer to the country via Catalonia but has reached Denia. These can carry deseases (including chikungunya and dengue fever). These spread much more slowly as they keep within 100 meters of their breeding ground to feed. So far none of these types of mosquitoes have been reported in the Altea region.   Tips How to Avoid Mosquito Bites There is a greater risk of bites when you are outdoors and from dusk into night when many biting insects are most active. Luckily, there are ways you can keep safe when you are out and about. Avoid bright colours - Do not wear bright colours or use strong scents such as perfumes and deodorants as these attract insects. Reduce exposed skin - Wear long sleeves, trousers, footwear and hats. Use insect repellent sprays - On exposed skin and repelling products or candles when sitting. Avoid areas with water - Keep clear of slow moving or still / stagnant water. Tuck trousers into socks - When hiking through brush or rough grass and avoid brushing through long grass or bushes. Treatments for Mosquito Bites It is rare for mosquitoes or biting insects to transmit disease in this area. The main risk from mosquito bites is the potential skin irritation. Reaction to bites will vary from person to person. Symptoms that develop are just our immune systems response to their saliva. Mosquitoes do not actually inject anything into us when they bite. Advice: Clean the wound - this is the most important treatment for a mosquito or midge bite. Remove the sting - if any insect debris has been left in the wound, remove carefully with fingernails or tweezers. Then clean the bite using soap and water or alcohol wipes. Use a cold compress - swelling can be reduced immediately after a bite by covering it with a cold compress such as ice in a cloth (but never hold ice directly on the skin). It may take more than a week to go down and may remain itchy for several days. Take anti-histamines - itchiness and swelling can be relieved with anti-histamine creams for bites and stings. Oral anti-histamine can also help, especially if you have multiple bites. Consult the farmacia. Do not scratch - avoid scratching as this will increase the itch and could lead to the bite becoming infected with bacteria. Are you worried about your reaction to a bite? Young children and those with repeated bites are more likely to develop a severe reaction. Consult a doctor if: ·	The swelling or pain is so severe that it prevents movement or sleeping.  ·	The swelling continues to worsen more than a day after the bite.  ·	The bite appears to be infected.  Call an ambulance immediately if a bite causes swelling to the throat, mouth or tongue that restricts breathing. Tips to Keep Mosquitos at Bay Keep windows closed - After dark, keep windows and doors closed or block out the light with curtains. Insect screens - Fit fly screens to windows. Clear up - Clear up dead mosquitoes, as they provide a tasty snack for other pests such as carpet beetles. Cover water - Cover water butts with well fitted lids to prevent mosquito larvae in the water. No standing water - Do not leave standing water (in watering cans for example) as this gives mosquitoes a good place to breed. Natural predators - If you have a garden pond, think about getting some goldfish as they will eat mosquito larvae. Natural repellents - Try natural repellents such as citronella, neem oil, peppermint oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, witch hazel, garlic, lavender and vanilla extract. Other repellents and sprays - Consult the Farmacia. Products containing DEET for personal protection. Arpon destroyer for garden spraying. Keep any swimming pool properly sanitised.
The Valencian Generalitat has produced information documents on mosquitoes which can be read here.