10 May, 2024 @ 13:25
2 mins read

Three ‘dangerous’ breeds of mosquitoes that can carry nasty diseases are being monitored on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Mosquitos have arrived earlier than usual this year

‘DANGEROUS’ mosquito breeds are being monitored on the Costa del Sol for carrying multiple diseases. 

Malaga port will become the epicentre of a new fight against disease carrying mosquitoes. 

Part of a research project due to take place between July 1 2024 and November 30 2026, worth some €644,000. 

The study will look into the evolution of species and behaviour, as well as detecting viruses and insecticide resistance. 

READ MORE: Mosquitos are found embedded into mushrooms bought at hugely popular supermarket on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Tiger mosquitoes were first detected in Spain in 2004.
Photo: Cordon Press

It is thought the exotic species being monitored could carry diseases Zika Virus, Chikungunya Virus and West Nile Virus as well as dengue fever. 

Led by the Ministry of Health, the research will monitor the following species: tiger and yellow fever mosquitoes. 

Although not invasive, it will also follow culex erraticus and native mosquitoes, which can still carry diseases. 

The research is part of a national strategy to combat the critters, the most common of which are 

culex pipiens, or ‘common house mosquitoes’.

These are the typical bugs which make a buzzing sound, wake you up in the night and can carry West Nile Virus. 

Speaking to SUR, Professor of Zoology at Malaga University, Raimundo Real, explained: “Species able to transfer viral diseases to humans are appearing in areas where they weren’t before. 

“This is due to a number of factors including the rise of average temperatures, the growth of international trade and ecosystem change related to the increase of suburban areas. It’s also down to the movement of people around the world.”

READ MORE: How to prevent the pests attacking you at night – as they arrive extra early in southern Spain this year

He also highlighted that infectious diseases are spreading to places never seen before. 

Now, the National Plan for Prevention, Vigilance and Control of Illnesses Transmitted by Mosquitoes, approved on the 27 of April, 2023, will tackle this issue. 

The research will detect species in airports, including Madrid Barajas, Barcelona El Prat, Palma de Mallorca and Zaragoza alongside military bases such as Torrejon de Ardoz, Zaragoza.

Studies will also be carried out in ports including Valencia, Barcelona, Mallorca, Malaga and Algeciras. 

It will follow the annual cycle of tiger mosquitoes. 

The critters are ‘very annoying’ because they bite during the day and are hard to detect due to their low flight and lack of noise. 

Feral cats and some insects can help to control the species, as well as salamanders and lizards. 

Real said: “The research is good. If we try to eliminate mosquitoes with chemicals, it will only kill part of the population, we will get only the weakest. That means the strongest remain, so we could actually be making the species more resistant.”

READ MORE: West Nile Virus is found in 50,000 mosquitoes in Spain’s Andalucia – these are the most at risk areas

Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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