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Mosquitoes in Ohio

Each summer, mosquitoes are a familiar biting pest in backyards, parks and campgrounds.  Most are merely a nuisance and not major vectors of disease.  In fact, only a few of the 59 species of mosquitoes in Ohio can transmit disease.  However, the diseases these mosquitoes can carry are very serious ones, such as encephalitis and malaria in humans and heartworm in dogs.  Therefore, it is always advisable to take preventive measures to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites.


Asian tiger mosquitoAsian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus

Name:  Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).

Distribution:  Throughout the eastern United States.  In Ohio, it has been found in nearly all of the southern Ohio counties, but likely occurs in others.

Habitat:  Outdoors in vegetation.  Lays eggs in both natural and artificial containers including used tires, plastic containers, tree holes and clogged gutters.

Hosts:  Opportunistic blood feeder on a variety of animals and humans.Distribution map: Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, in Ohio

Transmits:  Potential to transmit chikungunya, dengue and Zika viruses.

Active:  Most active during the day in shady conditions.

Comments:  Aggressive biter.  Asian tiger mosquitoes were imported into the United States in the 1980s.  They have spread throughout the United States and become established because of their ability to survive temperate climate.


Eastern treehole mosquito

Name:  Eastern treehole mosquito (Aedes triseriatus).

Distribution:  Throughout Ohio.Eastern treehole mosquito, Aedes triseriatus

Habitat:  Wooded areas, parks.  Lays eggs in artificial containers in trash dumps or backyards and the natural tree holes of silver maple, oak and beech trees.

Hosts:  Maintained in a cycle with small mammals such as chipmunks and squirrels.  Humans are dead-end hosts (i.e., they do not circulate enough virus in their blood to infect feeding mosquitoes).

Transmits:  La Crosse virus.

Active:  Most active during the day in shady conditions.  Keeps near wooded areas to lay eggs in deciduous forests.

Comments:  Ohio has reported more cases of La Crosse virus disease than any other state in the United States, averaging about 20 cases per year.


Malaria mosquitoesCommon malaria mosquito, Anopheles quadrimaculatus

Name:  Common malaria mosquito (Anopheles quadrimaculatus), woodland malaria mosquito (Anopheles punctipennis).

Distribution:  Throughout Ohio.

Habitat:  Lays eggs in permanent and semi-permanent bodies of water with vegetation such as ponds, marshes and ditches.  The woodland malaria mosquito may also lay eggs in slow-moving streams with vegetation.

Transmits:  Potential to transmit Plasmodium species parasites that cause malaria.

Active:  Most active at dusk and dawn and during the night.

Comments:  Malaria was eliminated from the United States in the early 1950s.  However, the potential for malaria to be transmitted in the United States still exists.


Northern house mosquitoNorthern house mosquito, Culex pipiens

Name:  Northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens).

Distribution:  Widespread throughout Ohio.

Habitat:  Weeds, shrubs, tall grass.  Lays eggs in catch basins, stagnant water in ditches and containers of water with high organic matter (e.g., flowerpot saucers, clogged rain gutters).

Hosts:  Maintained in a cycle with birds.  Humans and horses are dead-end hosts (i.e., they do not circulate enough virus in their blood to infect feeding mosquitoes).

Transmits:  St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile viruses.

Active:  Most active at dusk and dawn.

Comments:  West Nile virus was first identified in Ohio in 2001, and it is now established where cases occur each year and seasonal epidemics can flare up under certain conditions in the summer and continue into the fall.


Yellow fever mosquitoYellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti

Name:  Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti).

Distribution:  Tropical and subtropical climates.  Found in the United States primarily in southern tier states.

Habitat:  Urban areas near and inside homes.  Lays eggs in man-made containers, pools of fresh rainwater.

Hosts:  Humans.

Transmits:  Chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever and Zika viruses.

Active:  Most active during the day.

Comments:  This species is not established in Ohio.  It cannot survive below freezing temperatures.  However, it has rarely been collected in Ohio during the summer where it was likely transported by people in containers, such as used tires, plant pots, etc.


What time of year are you more likely to encounter mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are active in Ohio during the warmest months, usually May through October.  Mosquito activity will cease after the first hard frost in the fall.


Additional resources

Websites:

Educational material:


Contact information

Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Infectious Diseases
Zoonotic Disease Program
246 N. High St.
Columbus, OH  43215
Phone: (614) 752-1029
Fax: (614) 564-2437
E-mail: Zoonoses@odh.ohio.gov

 

Page Updated:  05/31/2018

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