Disease-spreading invasive Asian tiger mosquito found in Wayne County

The first instance of the invasive Asian tiger mosquito in Michigan this year has been identified in Wayne County.

The mosquito was first identified in the state when it was found in an industrial area of Livonia, which is in Wayne County, in 2017. It was again found in the county in 2018 and 2020.

Asian tiger mosquitoes can spread dengue, chikungunya, and Zika to humans.

"Although we have not had any illnesses associated with these species of mosquitoes in Michigan, it is important to take precautions since other mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to people," said Dr. Mary Grace Stobierski, MDHHS Emerging & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases manager. "Recent heavy rainfall and flooding has led to a general increase in mosquito activity throughout the state, so we urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors."

Michigan's winters are typically too harsh for the insects to survive, but the warming climate is allowing for them to spread to more northern states.

The Asian tiger mosquito can live in areas with climates ranging from tropical to temperate. They are considered established in many midwestern states, such as Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Occasionally, they travel in commercial products shipped from other states. This is likely how the mosquitoes have made it to Michigan, health officials said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has partnered with 24 counties to monitor for the Asian tiger mosquito and yellow fever mosquito, another type of mosquito that can spread illnesses.

Officials provided tips for protecting yourself from mosquitos:

  • Eliminate sources of standing water such as wading pools, old tires, buckets, and containers by dumping water to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching or larvae from developing into biting adults.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent according to label instructions.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
  • Use a licensed mosquito-control company.