We are pleased to announce a new article on Featured Creatures!

Take a sneak peek with this excerpt from the article: Anopheles gambiae is the most efficient vector of human malaria in the Afrotropical Region (CDC 2010). Thus, it is commonly called the African malaria mosquito. The Anopheles gambiae complex of sibling species (White 1974; Fanello et al. 2002; Coetzee et al. 2013) comprises eight reproductively isolated species that are almost indistinguishable morphologically: Anopheles amharicus Hunt et al. 2013, Anopheles arabiensis Patton 1905, Anopheles bwambae White 1985, Anopheles gambiae Giles 1902, Anopheles coluzzii Coetzee & Wikerson 2013, Anopheles melas Theobald 1903, and Anopheles merus Dönitz 1902. Collectively they are sometimes called Anopheles gambiae sensu lato, meaning ‘in the wider sense.’ None of these species occur in North America.


Figure 1. Female Anopheles gambiae Giles taking a blood meal. Photograph by Jim Gathany, CDC.


Available at: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/Anopheles_gambiae.htm

Authors: Sabrina A. White and Phillip E. Kaufman, University of Florida

With Memorial Day on the horizon, summer beckons us forward for food, fun, and outdoor activities.  Just remember that you may have some unwanted guests arrive at your weekend activities, particularly during the late afternoon to evening (or crepuscular) hours.

Insect Enemy #1:  Biting flies, otherwise known as deer flies, horse flies, or yellow flies (Insect Family Tabanidae) are certainly an unpleasant backyard occurrence.  In my Gainesville, Florida backyard, I have been pursued by various biting flies in the evening during the last week or so.  To read more about biting flies, check out the 2011 UF/IFAS EDIS article by Squitier.  Admittedly, I have not been wearing insect repellent and was subsequently a quite favorable subject for attack.


Insect Enemy #2:  Mosquitoes, and specifically the Asian Tiger Mosquito.  You can’t miss noticing the Asian Tiger Mosquito once you begin looking for the white coloration on the otherwise black legs.  For more information, read the 2011 Featured Creatures by Rios and Mariuniak.  From an insect vector standpoint, the Asian Tiger Mosquito could be considered more of a problem, as it can transmit eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Cache Valley virus, dengue, St. Louis and LaCrosse encephalitis viruses.  Although some reports of dengue transmission by Asian tiger mosquito exist, it should be noted that the yellow fever mosquito is considered to be the main vector of concern for dengue.


If biting flies and mosquitoes are a problem and a point of concern, the use of DEET (or diethyltoluamide) may be your most effective solution for a more pleasant outdoor evening.  If you are interested in knowing more about the proper use and application of DEET, read the UF/IFAS 2011 EDIS publication by Koehler, Pereira, and Allen.


Additional advice needed?  Don’t forget that you can contact your local county extension office with your home pest management questions.

We are pleased to announce a new article on Featured Creatures!

Take a sneak peek with this excerpt from the article: The black salt marsh mosquito, Aedes taeniorhynchus (Wiedemann), is very common in the eastern coastal areas of the Americas, and is responsible for a large part of mosquito insecticide applications in Florida (Connelly and Carlson 2009, Koehler and Castner 2008). Although it is not a primary vector of major concern, it can transmit pathogens to humans and other animals. Its characteristic emergence in large numbers after rains and flooding events as well as its aggressive biting contribute to its notoriety as a pest insect. The black salt marsh mosquito is considered a nuisance in Florida. It is sheltered from large-scale mosquito control as part of the Everglades National Park conservation program to preserve their delicate ecosystem (Day et al. 2004).


Figure 1. Bloodfeeding female Aedes taeniorhynchus. Photograph by Sean McCann, University of Florida.

Available at: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/AQUATIC/aedes_taeniorhynchus.htm

Authors: Natasha Marie Agramonte and C. Roxanne Connelly, University of Florida 

FloridaMosquitoAdvisoryMap-300x283Check out the latest information on arbovirus surveillance from the Florida Department of Health at-


Note that several counties are under mosquito-borne illness advisories including:  Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, St. Lucie, Levy, and Duval.

Martin County is under a mosquito-borne illness alert.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Concerns


Adult female Culiseta melanura. Photograph by C. Roxanne Connelly, University of Florida.

Good Morning!

Are you familiar with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)? EEE is vectored by mosquitoes and a concern for Florida residents, particularly during the summer months. The Florida Department of Health posts weekly updates regarding various arbovirus diseases of concern, and the latest report is available at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/surveillance.html

Both Levy and Hillsborough counties each have a reported human case of EEE for 2013.

If you have not heard of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, you may suspect that it affects horses and you would be correct.  EEE has a high mortality rate and attacks the brain and central nervous system.  A horse vaccine is available.

The black-tailed mosquito, Culiseta melanura, is the primary vector of the disease within its primary host, birds. The black-tailed mosquito does not commonly feed on humans or horses, but species such as the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus do. The Asian tiger mosquito has been shown to be a competent vector of EEE in the lab, but this has not translated to field transmission. In Rios and Maruniak’s fact sheet, they state:  Despite being featured as the ferocious tiger mosquito (ABC news 2001) it has not been found to be a significant health concern and is in fact a less efficient vector than other Aedes mosquitoes.  And in the paper cited in the fact sheet, the statement is that “The implications of these findings are that this mosquito should be monitored for disease activity, but at this time should not be considered a public health threat.”

This is a mosquito that is present in most every yard in Florida, so while we do want people to pay attention to it and do their part to reduce the habitat for this species, we don’t want people to be unduly worried about this particular mosquito as it relates to EEE.  The mosquito species is abundant and wide-spread, and EEE is not.  EEE has a unique cycle that does not include Aedes albopictus as a major vector, so we want to put the proper perspective on this species and the health concerns.

Read the Featured Creatures on the Asian tiger mosquito by Rios and Maruniak for more information: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/asian_tiger.htm

EEE is generally considered a dead-end host within humans and horses.  In other words, the viral disease usually needs birds to replicate and to further transmit the disease through mosquito feeding activity.

Check out this UF-IFAS Extension EDIS article by Rey and Connelly for more information about EEE at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in179

Other useful information and links about issues regarding mosquitos in Florida can be found through the University of Florida, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory: http://mosquito.ifas.ufl.edu/Fact_Sheets.htm .

We hope you continue to have a fun and safe summer, and enjoy the great outdoors!

Content for this UF-IFAS Pest Alert was prepared by DPM Graduate Student Eric LeVeen (eleveen@ufl.edu) and Dr. Amanda Hodges (achodges@ufl.edu). Dr. Roxanne Connelly made corrections concerning the Asian tiger mosquito.

Arbovirus Disease Series: Dengue

Photo source: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Dengue.html

Photo source: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Dengue.html

Dengue fever is the first in a series of pest alerts focusing on specific arboviral (or arthropod-borne)  diseases, as occurrences are more common during the summer months. A general arboviral disease awareness pest alert was distributed on 6/15/13.  The Center for Disease Control’s website http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/Arbor/index.htm remains an excellent source for comprehensive information.

Dengue fever is one of the mosquito transmitted arboviral diseases that is particularly common in South and Central America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, and the Pacific Islands. A current map of global distribution of dengue fever can be found at http://www.healthmap.org/dengue/index.php . Although cases of imported Dengue from arriving travelers has been common in Florida, the first reoccurring cases of locally acquired Dengue occurred in the Florida keys during 2009. Previous to 2009, locally acquired cases of Dengue fever virus outbreaks had not occurred in the continental U.S. since the 1930s.  During 2012, four cases of locally acquired Dengue occurred in Florida.  Currently in 2013, 41 cases of imported Dengue fever virus have been reported from travelers who visited sub-tropical to tropical countries.  Dengue fever virus symptoms can be quite severe, and may include a sudden fever, severe headache, shock, rashes, and muscular and joint pain.  Although a cure or vaccine for Dengue fever virus does not exist, early diagnosis may allow for the virus to be managed. More severe cases of Dengue fever virus can result in hemorrhages and death.

The June 22, 2013 Florida Department of Health weekly summary report is available at:  http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/surveillance.html

The Florida Department of Health Informational Website for Dengue virus is available at:  http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Dengue.html  .

Additional national websites describing symptoms include:  http://www.cdc.gov/Dengue/faqFacts/fact.html and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002349/

Locally acquired cases of the Dengue fever virus is Florida may represent re-introductions of the virus as the number of imported (traveler-based) cases increases.  The Asian tiger mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito are commonly found in Florida, and are the primary mosquitoes involved in vectoring the Dengue fever virus.  Check out our UF-IFAS Featured Creatures on the Asian tiger mosquito http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/asian_tiger.htm  and the yellow fever mosquito http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/aedes_aegypti.htm for more information.  Preventing or reducing exposure to mosquito bites protects you from potentially acquiring any of the arboviral diseases, including Dengue fever.  Reducing standing water on your property eliminates breeding grounds for many mosquito species.  Also, mosquito bites general increase during dawn and dusk.  Insect repellants either applied to your skin or clothing may also protect you from mosquito bites.

The University of Florida, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory has quite a bit of useful information and extension fact sheet links regarding mosquito issues in Florida http://mosquito.ifas.ufl.edu/Fact_Sheets.htm .

The Florida Department of Health also provides a good reference for prevention of mosquito borne disease prevention at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Prevention.html .

Please be safe and continue to practice good disease prevention as you enjoy the many outdoor activities that Florida has to offer!

Content for this UF-IFAS Pest Alert was prepared by DPM Graduate Student Eric LeVeen (eleveen@ufl.edu ) and Dr. Amanda Hodges (achodges@ufl.edu ).

Arboviral Disease Awareness


Black-tailed mosquito Credit: Dr. Roxanne Connelly, University of Florida

As the summer rains in Florida create breeding grounds for mosquitos and other arthropods, the public should remain aware of the potential danger of diseases transmitted by arthropods.

Arboviral diseases are viruses that are arthropod-borne, and are maintained in nature by transmission from one host to the next by arthropods such as mosquitos and ticks that feed on blood http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/Arbor/index.htm . Encephalitis diseases are important diseases of humans and domesticated animals, and are often compatible with a variety of hosts and transmitted by a variety of blood feeding arthropods. You can track the most up to date cases of these diseases in the United States with maps provided by USGS http://diseasemaps.usgs.gov/index.html . This EDIS publication describes some of the important mosquito pests that are responsible for arboviral disease transmission http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in851 .  There are also floodwater mosquitos and standing-water mosquitos as described in this EDIS publication: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in535 .

Whether you are planning to go hiking, horseback riding, or simply backyard gardening during the rainy summer and hurricane season here in Florida, remember to regularly check the USGS disease maps for arboviral disease cases and go out with full clothing cover and insect repellant.

The Florida Department of Health Weekly Arbovirus Reports are available at:  http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Weekly-Summary.html

According to the latest report (June 8, 2013 http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Weekly-Summary.html ), no locally acquired cases of dengue have occurred in 2013.  Forty cases of imported dengue and twenty-one cases of imported Malaria have occurred.  Two human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis have occurred.

Content for this UF-IFAS Pest Alert was prepared by DPM Graduate Student Eric LeVeen (eleveen@ufl.edu ).

Florida Arbovirus Surveillance Reports

Photo source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in179

Photo source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in179

Mosquitoes and mosquito-vectored diseases continue to be an issue within Florida.  The first locally acquired human case of dengue for 2012 was reported in Miami-Dade County, Florida last week.

The full Florida Department of Health Weekly Report can be downloaded at:  http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/pdfs/2012/2012Week39ArbovirusReport_09-29-2012.pdf

For more information about mosquitoes, visit the Florida Medical Entomology laboratory’s mosquito information website- http://mosquito.ifas.ufl.edu/Fact_Sheets.htm

To-date Eastern Equine Encephalitis activity has been reported from 23 counties, including one positive report of a human case.

In terms of West Nile Virus, activity has been reported from 33 counties, including 45 human cases.

For 2012, St. Louis Encephalitis Virus has been reported from 7 counties, but no human cases have been reported to-date.

Highlands J virus has been reported from 8 counties, but no human cases have been reported.

Sixty-nine cases of imported (not acquired in Florida) cases of dengue have occurred.

Fifty-two cases of imported malaria have occurred.

Individuals in the following counties are officially under mosquito-borne illness alerts:  Duval, Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa

Individuals in the following counties are officially under mosquito-borne illness advisories:  Alachua, Bay, Gadsden, Hillsborough, Holmes, Indian River, Jefferson, Leon, Miami-Dade, St. John’s, Walton, and Washington.


Photograph by C. Roxanne Connelly, University of Florida.

The black-tailed mosquito, Culiseta melanura (Coquillett, 1902), belongs to the family Culicidae. This species of mosquito is considered unusual because it overwinters as larvae while most mosquito species overwinter as either adults or eggs. Culiseta melanura is important because of its role in the transmission cycle of eastern equine encephalitis virus and potentially West Nile virus.

Want to know more?  Visit the September 2012 Featured Creatures – Black-tailed mosquito, Culiseta melanura (Coquillett) by Eva Buckner, Angelique Showman, and C. Roxanne Connelly, University of Florida.


Dr. Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman gillett@ufl.edu  is the coordinator for UF-IFAS Featured Creatures.  Black-tailed mosquito is UF/IFAS publication number EENY-536.

Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman for submitting this to UF-IFAS Pest Alert!

Florida Arbovirus Summary, July 7, 2012

Having trouble with mosquitoes in your backyard?  At least in my yard in Gainesville, we seemed to have an excessive population towards the end of June and beginning of July.  I would still prefer to have fewer mosquitoes, but I suppose it is the season for it.

As of the July 7, 2012 Florida Arbovirus Summary report, Florida has had 17 imported dengue and 34 imported malaria cases.

There was one equine case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus in Holmes county.

St. John’s County was the only county under a mosquito borne illness advisory alert.

The full report is available at:  http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/arboviral/pdfs/2012/2012Week27ArbovirusReport_07-07-2012.pdf