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Grenoble seeks pest control as tiger mosquitoes surge

A surge in the numbers of ‘tiger mosquitoes’ near Grenoble (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) has forced many communes in the area to call in pest control experts.

Sales of anti-mosquito products from pharmacies are at an all-time high in the area, according to a report from news outlet France3, with the number of so-called ‘tiger mosquitoes’ said to have grown significantly over the summer.

‘Tiger mosquitoes’ -  named because of their distinctive black and white markings - are smaller than the usual mosquitoes seen in summer, and can often prove more irritating to humans, as they make a higher-pitched buzzing sound, and usually bite several times before moving on.

Originally from Asia, the bugs were first seen in France in 2004, and as of this year were confirmed to be present in 17 departments across the country. 

They have also been shown to carry disease, and in 2010 were connected to two cases of dengue fever and two of chikungunya in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var. Despite this, there is no suggestion the insects near Grenoble are dangerous.

Some communes in the area, such as Saint-Martin-d'Hères, have called in the interdepartmental agency for pest control (l'Entente Interdépartementale de Démoustication) for extra advice on how to manage the infestation, as well as prevent it.

The region has published advice on how to avoid the bugs, and is mainly focused on reducing the amount of standing water and rubbish in the area.

The warnings include:

  • Removing any rubbish or abandoned containers - such as coffee cups - which could attract the insects
  • Emptying domestic receptacles of water at least once a week (such as flower vases, buckets or rubbish bins)
  • Filling flower trays or saucers with wet sand, to discourage the bugs
  • Checking that gutters and wastewater systems are draining water properly
  • Ensuring that all water tanks are properly covered
  • Maintaining gardens well, including disposing of all fallen fruit, rotten vegetables or excess vegetation
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