General information

The family of mosquitoes (Culicidae) belongs to the class of insects (Insecta), the order Diptera and the suborder of insects Diptera (Nematocera). At present, more than 3,500 species of mosquito have been described in the literature, including 33 species reported in Belgium.
The lifespan of a mosquito depends on various environmental factors. They are cold-blooded animals, which means that temperature has a major influence on their development. In cold weather, larvae take longer to develop than in warm weather.
Both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar and other sources of sugars. Only females also need to feed on blood to develop their eggs. Females generally live longer than males. While males live only to find one or more partners in order to reproduce, females follow a more complex life cycle. As well as mating, they must also find a Host An organism that can carry a Pathogen Micro-organism capable of causing disease. . In the context of mosquito ecology, for example a human or animal host, this term refers to the organism from which the mosquito seeks to feed. for their blood meal and a suitable place to lay their eggs.
Different species of mosquito choose different hosts to feed on: some species prefer birds, others amphibians or mammals (animals and/or humans).

Why are mosquitoes a problem ?

Some species have aggressive biting behaviour and can become a nuisance, such as the common Belgian species Aedes vexans, Aedes sticticus and Anopheles plumbeus, as well as the Exotic species Species that is deliberately introduced or becomes established accidentally in a place other than its place of origin. Note that an exotic species is not necessarily an Invasive species An exotic species that is becoming harmful to local biodiversity. . Aedes albopictus (the tiger mosquito).
Of the known species, around a hundred can transmit pathogens to humans. In various parts of the world, diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as malaria, dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya, claim many victims. Because of its role in the transmission of these diseases, the mosquito is often referred to as "the deadliest animal on the planet".

Are exotic mosquitoes a danger in Belgium ?

Certain species of mosquito that do not originate in Belgium, more commonly known as exotic mosquitoes (whereas those originating in Belgium are known as indigenous mosquitoes), can act as vectors for pathogens that are not present on the continent.
In Belgium, two species of exotic mosquitoes have become established over the last few decades: the Asian forest mosquito (Aedes japonicus) and the Aedes koreicus species. In recent years, the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has also entered our country through the trade in used tyres and "Lucky bamboo", and recently also through cars and lorries from neighbouring countries where it is established. The tiger mosquito has not yet become established in Belgium, but given the various pathogens it can transmit to humans, such as the dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses, it is important to keep a close eye on it.