According to researchers from University of Florida, two new tropical disease carrying mosquitoes have been discovered in the state of Florida for the first time.
Many entomologists (AKA the experts in insects) did not expect to find the two species — known as Aedeomyia squamipennis and Culex panocossa — in Homestead as well as in Florida City, but did just that during a research trip back in October. What does finding these new mosquitoes mean though?
For starters, it is a clear sign that the south eastern part of the nation is now becoming more conducive to more tropical mosquitoes, especially as they are found near the mainland in Florida. As the Atlanta mosquito control experts, we want to ensure our readers stay alert to these type of issues. Here’s everything you should know about these recent mosquito discoveries:
Exploring the Mosquito Species
Both species of the newly found mosquitoes in Florida are believed (by many) to be able to transmit viruses to humans and lay their eggs on weeds that float in drainage waters and canals.
While native to South and Central America, these species likely arrived via plants and subsequently spread across South Florida ponds and canals. Unfortunately, these mosquitoes are expected to grow in numbers soon.
This spike in mosquito activity could speak to some broader environmental changes that have lead Florida to become more accessible or hospitable to tropical mosquitoes, mainly due to global warming. Apart from climate change, however, global trade and increased tourism have probably made Florida a good destination for the exotic species.
Mosquito Weary South Florida
The mosquito discovery couldn’t have come at a worse time for South Florida, as a Zika virus outbreak hit populated areas like Wynwood and Miami Beach over the summer, extending into fall. The outbreak, with over 1,200 cases (local and travel) documented statewide, is caused by the mosquito species known as the Aedes aegypti.
While cool, dry weather coupled with aggressive control measures has aided in containing the spread of mosquitoes a bit, Zika is fully expected to make a return by springtime.
Zika Virus Crisis
Severe birth defects in different regions of the world have spearheaded a full-blown Zika crisis. The virus takes the form of, what is known as, microcephaly in both kids and babies, a defect characterized by smaller-than-usual heads.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have issued numerous health and travel recommendations for people who are at the most risk for contracting the virus and its dangers, including pregnant women in particular.
While no vaccine for Zika currently exists, researchers have identified seven key proteins within the virus itself which may have been crucial in the extent of the outbreak’s damage.
The two new species in Florida also carry viruses and can easily conquer a densely populated area..There are a number of differences between the two species, however: the Aedeomyia mosquito feeds primarily on birds, which transmit the Eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile and other viruses, while the Culex panocossa is a confirmed carrier of the Venezuelan equine encephalitis, which poses a deadly threat to both children and the elderly.
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