THINGS YOU SEE ON MOUNTAIN MINT: Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus)

Asian Tiger Mosquito
Aedes albopictus

This is an insect I do NOT like… I am a mosquito MAGNET – day and night – even with bug spray… but I learned something today so I figured it might be worth sharing anyway.

So, at first, I thought this mosquito was just resting there on the flower because… you know… mosquitoes eat blood and all…

But then I noticed it was eating from the flower.

Once I came inside and started googling I found out some interesting facts I did not know before. First, the Asian Tiger Mosquito is an invasive pest that is a vector for lots of terrible diseases including West Nile Virus, EEE, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever and Chikungunya Fever. I think we all pretty much knew that. What I didn’t know was that male mosquitoes have antennae that are “plumous” (notice the feathery look in the picture) and have “mouthparts modified for nectar feeding.” Apparently they DO nectar on flowers! Apparently the male mosquitoes do not feed on blood at all so “their only food sources are nectar and other forms of sugar from plants.”

There was an article I found in entymology today about a study where scientists used butterfly bush and discovered that mosquitoes were attracted to the flowering plant. This might be something important to consider when decorating an outdoor sitting space (e.g. your deck). Apparently the females of this species actually prefer laying eggs in containers and the scientists found more eggs in containers next to the flowering butterfly bushes. SO… thinking I might (If we ever get a deck) decide NOT to have flowering plants in containers on the deck. Or especially not to have water trays under the plants – just let them drain directly out.

At any rate – if you want to read for yourself here are the three sources I found most useful.

https://entomologytoday.org/…/mosquitoes-lay-eggs-water-ne…/

http://www.epestsupply.com/mosquito-identification-mosquito…

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/asian_tiger.htm

If you’re interested in seeing other organisms I’ve photographed on my mountain mint plant check out the full project (in progress) which can be seen by clicking the link in the menu under “In the Garden” or Under “Photography – Projects.”  Or you can CLICK HERE.

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