A group of mosquitoes’ is known as a ‘scourge’, which on World Malaria Day is an appropriate name for them. As some species transmit the life-threatening disease malaria (through infected bites) particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although malaria is also present in over 90 countries and territories worldwide. Which is why it is important to recognise the significant impact that mosquitoes have on the spread of diseases. Also to raise awareness of steps you can take to avoid mosquito bites and the efforts being made to control and eliminate mosquito-borne diseases.
Mosquitoes in the UK
The UK is not typically thought of as a high-risk area for malaria transmission, however it’s still important to be aware of the potential irritation and discomfort caused from mosquito bites. There are around 30 different species of mosquito in the UK. The most common species being Culex molestus and Culex pipiens (common house mosquito). While these species don’t transmit malaria, they can bite albeit it is only the females that bite, as they need a blood feed in order to produce eggs.
These insects prefer warm, yet damp conditions so with the UK’s variable weather mosquitoes can be prevalent from warm spring showers in April through to damp, but mild conditions in October. They are most active during dawn and dusk. Like other mosquito species, the Culex larvae are aquatic and can develop anywhere that water has collected. They are mostly found near stagnant water, such as ponds, lakes, and marshes. Yet can as easily breed around properties in excess water in garden containers, paddling pools, water butts, flower pot saucers, clogged gutters and drains.
Top tips for avoiding mosquito bites
Use insect repellent: Apply insect repellent with at least 20% DEET to exposed skin to help prevent mosquito bites.
Wear protective clothing: Cover your arms and legs with long-sleeved tops and trousers, especially during dawn and dusk when UK mosquitoes are most active.
Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so eliminating any sources of standing water around your property can help reduce the opportunity for mosquitoes to breed.
While the risk of malaria transmission in the UK is low, it is still important to be aware of the potential for mosquito bites and take appropriate precautions. By using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and eliminating standing water, you can really help to reduce your risk of mosquito bites.