French town latest to install tiger mosquito traps

Awareness of the invasive mosquito is spreading as residents have been installing their own traps

Residents near Toulouse (Occitanie) have become the latest in France to set up homemade traps designed to attract tiger mosquitoes, as awareness of the persistent insects grows.

It comes as one local resident told news source FranceInfo that she had set up a anti-tiger mosquito “collective” for her neighbours, after seeing a high rate of success in catching the insects in her garden. 

Blagnac resident Yvonne Calsou, from the “Tiger brigade” group, has installed mosquito traps that are set close to the ground, in a shady area near some stagnant water. When installed correctly, these traps can catch up to 40 insects per hour, she said.

The mosquito trap used by Yvonne Calsou

The garden had been “invaded” by the mosquitoes previously, she said.

Ms Calsou explained: “Two years ago, we could not go outside without being bitten. I could no longer hang out my washing, we couldn’t eat outside, and it was becoming unbearable.”

The traps have a small opening in the top, and emit a scent that - to the mosquitoes - smells human. This attracts the insects, which are then sucked in by a gentle vacuum, leading them to become stuck and later collected and disposed of in a bag.

The system works alongside other garden measures, including keeping tree branches cut short, not leaving containers or vases out with stagnant water inside, and emptying and hanging up watering cans when they are not in use.

Almost 70 people have already bought a trap from the collective, Ms Calsou said, after it campaigned to spread awareness of the methods in the neighbourhood.

She added: “Word-of-mouth has worked enormously well.”

The campaign comes as the town of Blagnac has also launched an official push against the insects. It plans to install over 200 traps that are designed to catch female mosquitoes by replicating the attraction of stagnant water, with a liquid that attracts them further.

The females then become trapped and drop their eggs into the trap, thereby catching future insects before they can spread.

Tiger mosquitoes have been confirmed across France, especially in the south, with numbers confirmed as having “doubled in the past two years”, according to health authority La Direction Générale de la Santé (DGS).

The insect has previously been described as particularly invasive, and a vector for serious diseases, including dengue fever and viral infections chikungunya, and zika.

Anyone who sees a tiger mosquito, especially in a department that has not yet been officially declared as affected, should send a photo to Vigilance-moustiques.com, ou Signalement-moustique.fr, to allow authorities to track its spread.

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