Free traps against tiger mosquitoes distributed in south-west France

500 kits will be given to residents to limit spread of pests

Tiger mosquitoes transmit viruses like Dengue fever
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A mairie in south-west France is to hand out hundreds of free traps against tiger mosquitoes in an attempt to curb the growing population of the pests in the area.

Residents in the 8th and 9th quarters of Toulouse will be able to apply for a free kit via the mairie’s website – although the application form is not yet live – with the 500 kits provided on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

The trial will cost the mairie around €15,000, but advocates see it as cheaper than the alternatives, which can include CO2 diffusion spots in schools and crèches, and the manual monitoring of the insects’ reproduction points.

Other communes in the Haute-Garonne and Gironde departments have trialled similar schemes and provided traps at discounted rates, but this is the first time the traps will be handed out for free on such a scale. 

Tiger mosquitoes, which are now present across all French regions, are dangerous as they can occasionally spread serious viruses, such as dengue fever, Zika, and chikungunya.

Read more: Tiger mosquitoes now in Normandy, last region of France to escape them

How do the kits work?

Kits will only be available to people who live in houses or the ground floor of blocks of flats as the mosquitoes cannot fly high above ground level. 

They will also have to be returned to the mairie at the end of mosquito season (around November).

Once the traps have been returned, the mairie will decide whether the measure was effective and is to be repeated in 2025. 

Water is added to the trap – which looks like a container – that attracts female mosquitoes, which lay eggs in stagnant water. 

A net covers the water, however, preventing the females from laying their eggs, and the surface of the trap is covered with glue that prevents the mosquitoes from escaping.

Mosquito population rapidly grows

Tiger mosquitoes have been active in France since 2004, and are now confirmed to be present in 72 departments across mainland France and Corsica. 

Read more: MAP: Where tiger mosquitoes have spread to in France

Compared to domestic mosquitoes, they are more aggressive, often feeding in the day as well as night, and can be vectors of serious tropical diseases, including dengue fever.

They are more numerous in the south of France, where warm summer temperatures help them increase their numbers.

In 2023, thousands of cases of dengue fever were recorded in France, with the number of ‘domestic cases’ (those where a person has not recently travelled to a country where the disease is common) rising sharply. 

Read more: 1,347 cases of dengue fever registered in France

They are particularly attracted to watery areas (marshes, swamps, streams), and females lay their eggs in still or stagnant water.

Tips on how to avoid the mosquitoes on your property include: 

  • Regularly empty or remove any stagnant water, including the cups under flower pots, vases, etc., or fill them with sand in order to maintain humidity without stagnant water

  • Store buckets, gardening equipment, toys, and other containers away from the rain

  • Cover water collection containers with mosquito netting or fabric

  • Clean gutters to allow proper drainage