Mosquitoes belong to the order Diptera. Main genera are Culex, Aedes and Anopheles. Numerous species belonging to all three genera are particularly widespread in Greece.
Mosquitoes are aquatic, meaning they need water to complete their life cycle. They are holometabolous (they undergo complete metamorphosis), that is, their developmental stages are egg-larva-pupa-bloom. Of these stages, only the mature is not aquatic – at the same time, this is also the stage that is blood-sucking (females only). Therefore, mosquitoes are found and thrive in areas with even minimal water.
Among the known species of this genus that have been recorded in our country is C. Pipiens, which is particularly abundant in many regions of Greece. It transmits, among other things, the West Nile Virus, while the female deposits hundreds of eggs on water surfaces in a short period of time. The duration of its biological cycle varies according to the prevailing conditions but usually, during the warm period of the year, it does not exceed one month. The bloom is active during the night.
This genus includes many species, some of which are vectors of malaria. Its biology is similar to that of Culex. In general, Anopheles can grow with particular ease in water with organic matter (“crust”) on the surface.
This genus also includes the well-known “tiger mosquito”, A. albopictus, which transmits various diseases, including West Nile Virus, as well as other encephalitis. The bloom is active during the day (especially in the early morning or late afternoon) and is often found in brackish waters. It usually spawns on surfaces where there will be water.
This is a group of insects of great importance to humans, responsible for a large number of deaths. In general, mosquitoes are considered the greatest animal threat to humans, causing far more deaths than other animal species. In addition to malaria, which threatens much of the planet, many mosquito species are potential vectors of other serious diseases, such as West Nile Virus, yellow fever and dengue fever. The treatment for these diseases is quite difficult and often very painful.
Still, apart from their importance for public health, mosquitoes play an important role in the residential and touristic development of many areas, as the nuisance they often cause is prohibitive even to visit some areas.
Modes of Management
Prevention: There should be no openings (eg open windows) and areas with particularly high mosquito activity should be avoided.
Monitoring: There are various traps, based on various attractants such as the use of carbon dioxide, light stimulus, etc., that can be used for this purpose.
Also, water sampling with a special sampler should take place at regular intervals to mark the presence of larvae and other incomplete stages. Finally, there are also specialized traps (e.g. spawning) for certain species, e.g. for the “tiger-mosquito”.
Treatment: Basically, mosquito control is larvicide, i.e. it consists of applying approved insecticides to the water, or even the proper management of the spaces and areas where there is water (drainage, etc.). In the event that it will be necessary to apply anti-thriving, this should be done with special care and only in certain cases. In addition to the localized application (e.g. in hotels, etc.), in our country there are also combat programs at the level of Municipalities and Regions. In such widespread applications, it is necessary to map growth foci and highlight population variation. Finally, there are personal protection preparations (coils, repellants, etc.).
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