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Spain’s Lockdown Boosts Costa del Sol Mosquito Population Spain News

Experts have warned that Malaga and the Costa del Sol will see an increase in mosquitos numbers this Summer which has been fueled by the recent Coronavirus lockdown.

Raimundo Leal, Professor of Zoology at Malaga University has warned that the mosquito population has multiplied in the Malaga region due to the recent confinement period, the absence of human activity and a wet spring, all of which have created optimal conditions for their reproduction.

In an interview with Malaga Hoy, Professor Leal warned that there are three main species which are most commonly found in the region. These are the common Culex, the Marsh mosquito and the aggressive Tiger mosquito.

According to Leal, the species that is set to see the biggest increase is the common mosquito or Culex which are those that get into our homes and bite us while we are sleeping.

Leal believes that the boom has been aided by the accumulation of water, a result of the overly wet spring. Standing water allows the mosquitos to breed and because of the lockdown, fewer people have been tending their gardens and other areas.

Any container that was previously emptied has served so that mosquitos have been able to proliferate in their aquatic phase”, said Leal.

However, the professor explained that mosquitos are a part of our ecosystem and that we have to live with them. Although they can transmit diseases, none are associated with pathologies that exist in Spain. Unless you have an allergy, it does not create any major problems he clarified.

However, in contrast, the Tiger mosquito can be “potentially dangerous”, which we have discussed in previous articles published here on our site.

Of Asian origin, the Tiger mosquito has inhabited Spain for around a decade after being imported from the eastern Mediterranean along with nursery plants.

Leal believes that the Tiger population has also boomed in recent years and is something that the authorities really need to address. The Tiger’s bite is more painful than the common mosquito and in some cases may require medical treatment.

Tigers are prevalent in urban areas and rarely enter the home. They usually attack during the day and as they fly close to the ground they will often bite legs, feet and ankles.

Their reproduction cycle is much faster than other species at under a week and is commonly attracted to standing water left in plant pots and similar containers.

Their presence is usually felt during the spring, Leal says they started appearing in late winter. He also stressed that their growth was already being seen prior to the lockdown, although this has only served to exacerbate the problem.

Although we can all agree that mosquitos are a menace, Leal believes that we must be careful when intervening. He said, “If insecticides are used, you are attacking the entire ecosystem and you kill other insects, such as bees and butterflies that are necessary”.

"You have to study them well, know where they are, what their life cycle is here and maybe they can be fought with something specific that only affects them," he says.

Professor Leal believes that the best way to combat the Tiger mosquito is prevention.

"The first thing is not to let them reproduce, you have to make sure that they don't find those little containers with water."

Potentially, any container that holds water for seven days becomes a breeding ground for tiger mosquitos.

Another common species of mosquito seen in the Malaga region is the Marsh mosquito. However, this particular species has seen a decline in recent years. They usually proliferate in the Guadalmar or Sacaba area’s and are usually found in large dense swarms.

They create great alarm among the population; people run away to flee from them”, said Leal.