“Mosquito that withstands cold weather could soon invade Malta”

A cold-weathered mosquito is spreading rapidly in Italy and may hit our island in the coming months.

The mosquito, Aedes koreicus, was first seen in Italy in 2011 in the town of Belluno in the Veneto region, and more recently in Northern Italy, particularly the Lombardy region which it has currently invaded.

Asked by tvm.com.mt if this mosquito has been documented in Malta, pest researcher Arnold Sciberras said that it appears that we do not have it yet but estimated that in another two years we would have it even on our shores.

Mr Sciberras explained that this mosquito belongs to the same family of the Asian tiger mosquito, which also invaded our country from Italy years ago and today is considered one of the most invasive species we have in the Maltese islands.

The pest researcher explained that this mosquito, which is large in size, is peculiar because, among other things, it can withstand the cold. That said, mosquitoes usually live in warm places and usually do not withstand low temperatures.

The sting of an Aedes koreicus, if infected, can lead to an infection in the brain (Japanese encephalitis) as well as heart disease in animals.

Aedes koreicus was first noted in Japan, Northeast China, South Korea and parts of Russia. Recently, however, it has since been found in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Switzerland and Kazakhstan.