As the weather heats up, the Riviera is getting ready for the arrival of some particularly unwanted visitors – the tiger mosquitoes. Efforts to eradicate the potentially dangerous insects are already gaining momentum as authorities in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var wage war.
The French Health Ministry has been monitoring the activity of tiger mosquitoes across the whole of the south of France since the 1st May in a bid to learn more about them, with a particularly vigilant health watch in the Côte d’Azur – a department plagued by the tiger mosquitoes in recent years.
The Prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes is continuing to launch a series of public health campaigns and to intensify surveillance of the tiger mosquito, which is capable of spreading infectious diseases such as dengue and chikungunya fevers.
Over the past month, there has been tighter control at the region’s ports, airports and some 50 highways to prevent the insects from entering in cargo, containers, lorries and foreign merchandise. And, if necessary additional control operations will be conducted in Nice, Villeneuve Loubet, Menton and Saint Laurent du Var.
The President of the Alpes Maritimes, Eric Ciotti, unveiled on the 8th June two new state-of-the-art pick-up trucks, equipped with high pressure pumps, various thermo-nebulisers (to neutralise the air), and a bazooka-looking device.
A series of trap nests have also been put in place in Vésubie and la Tinée valleys to determine what altitude the tiger mosquitoes can nest themselves.
Authorities advise residents that the best way to reduce the chances of tiger mosquitoes harbouring on their properties or neighbourhoods is to each follow some of the following safety precautions:
- Remove any stagnant water, particularly in old plant pots in the garden, on terraces and balconies.
- When watering the garden, gently sprinkle water to avoid leaving too much sodden water in the soil.
- Empty saucers under flower pots, vases and buckets at least once a week.
- Cover water supplies (barrels, irrigation tanks and rain collectors) with a net or a cloth.
- Maintain ponds regularly. You could also put goldfish into the water to help prevent mosquitoes from nesting in the water.
- Maintain pools regularly.
- Make sure gutters and drains are maintained as often as possible to ensure that there is a smooth flow of water.
The Var General Council particularly recommends removing stagnant water, a stomping ground for tiger mosquitoes to lay their eggs – which according to health officials can be up to 200 at a time.