Which virus-bearing mosquitoes live near you? Check these maps

mosquitoes summer
CC BY 2.0 Bob Satterfield depicts the personification of summer relaxing in her hammock, as she is approached by her ardent suitors (1904)

The CDC has updated its US range maps to show the which mosquitoes are moving where.

The mosquitoes are here! Oh dear. While mosquitoes have obviously been Public Enemy No. 1 in other parts of the world, here in the United States they used to be little more than an irksome summer nuisance for most. But now, nuisance has slipped into problematic as the number of Americans sickened each year by bites from infected mosquitoes (and ticks or fleas) has tripled from 2004 through 2016, according to the CDC. In 2016, the agency reports, the number exploded to 96,000 of reported cases – with the agency noting that the real case numbers were undoubtedly far larger. Much of the spike comes courtesy of mosquito-transmitted Zika virus.

Whether thanks to climate change with its increased temperatures and shorter winters or increased jet travel (and/or other factors), we've got more mosquitoes in more places, and they present some real risks. Especially for pregnant women, who the CDC advises not to travel to areas with risk of Zika. It's not a horror movie kind of scenario for everyone yet, but we all should at least be aware of what we're facing and what we can to protect ourselves.

To that end, the CDC has updated their estimated range maps for two especially vexing vectors: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The maps were created on models using county-level records, historical records, and suitable climate variables to predict the likelihood (very low, low, moderate, or high) that these mosquitoes could "survive and reproduce if introduced to an area during the months when mosquitoes are locally active." The agency notes that maps are not meant to represent risk for spread of any specific disease – just where the mosquitoes are or have been previously found

Aedes aegypti

Also known as the yellow fever mosquito, Ae. aegypti is a small, dark mosquito with white lyre shaped markings and banded legs. These day biters are most active for around two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset, but they will also bite at night in well lit areas (another strike against light pollution). They look like this; note that lyre!

The CDC notes that:
• These mosquitoes live in tropical, subtropical, and in some temperate climates.
• They are the main type of mosquito that spread Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and other viruses.
• Because Ae. aegypti mosquitoes live near and prefer to feed on people, they are more likely to spread these viruses than other types of mosquitoes.

Aedes albopictus

Also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, these small, dark mosquitos are recognizable by their striped bodies and banded legs. Described as very aggressive daytime biters, their peak feeding times are during the early morning and late afternoon. They feed on mammals, with humans being their favorite, alas. They look like this, note the tiger stripes.

The CDC notes that:

• These mosquitoes live in tropical, subtropical, and in some temperate climates.
• They are the main type of mosquito that spread Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and other viruses.
• Because Ae. aegypti mosquitoes live near and prefer to feed on people, they are more likely to spread these viruses than other types of mosquitoes.

Prevention

The best way to avoid Zika and other viruses spread through mosquitos is to avoid being bitten in the first place. Here is an informative guide to prevention in PDF form.

You can read more about the maps here and see our related stories below for lots more.

Which virus-bearing mosquitoes live near you? Check these maps
The CDC has updated its US range maps to show the which mosquitoes are moving where.

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