Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mosquito numbers rising as Germany warms up

Deutsche Welle: Thanks to mild winters and moist air, mosquitoes are thriving in Germany. And not just the native species. Scores of exotic mosquito types are now moving here and the unwanted visitors are bringing dangerous baggage.

More and more species of exotic mosquitoes are arriving in Germany and with them the amount of dangerous infectious agents is rising, such as bacteria or viruses. Many of the mosquitoes hitch a ride on tourists or business travellers around the world before arriving in Germany.

Although they tend to survive for only a limited time and die out during the cold winter, experts say the climate in Germany will get warmer and the winters will shorten, meaning their numbers are set to continue to increase.

"The average temperature in certain regions is relatively high, and it's also getting wetter," says Sven Klimpel from the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, a group of research institutes and natural history museums in Germany which conduct research into bio- and geosciences. "Those are ideal conditions for mosquitoes."

But it's not only the exotic pests causing scientists to worry. Native mosquitoes find the change in conditions equally appealing and are producing several generations of offspring each year...

Mosquito photo by Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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