France, Camembert country, wine, baguette … but now also a tiger mosquito. Nature enthusiasts only talk about it in a hexagon. Tiger mosquitoes are "permanently installed" in 51 departments in 2018 against 42 a year earlier, said on Monday, the Ministry of Health updated the map of its implementation since its inception in continental France in 2004.
However, some wards, where a tiger mosquito is located, are very close to Belgium. Including Aisne. Will this tropical species permanently settle in our country?
For François Verheggen, professor at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (ULiège), the tiger mosquito "will definitely continue to break through": "It is a species that has been expanding rapidly worldwide for decades," he explains. -t her. “Transporting and storing old tires with standing water is one of the main vectors of this extension. In Europe it has been present since the 1980s, populations are present and able to multiply. "
In Belgium, a tiger mosquito is occasionally observed. Between May and September 2018, scientists at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMT) placed tiger mosquitoes in five locations in four provinces: East Flanders, Hainaut, Namur and Luxembourg.
It should be noted that LMI scientists are monitoring 23 risky sites across the country, where there is a good chance that alien species can get there.
"He was one of our PhD students who discovered tiger mosquitoes in Antwerp in the field of tire storage in 2013," added François Verheggen. “This process is simple. Imported water contains larvae. When he arrives at the site in a few days, the larva becomes a mosquito. "
Global warming and the multiplication of international exchanges help to expand the territory of this insect. But for François Verheggen, winter in Belgium is too harsh for this species. "We have a climate that does not allow tiger mosquitoes to hold for twelve months a year," he says. “But people can come from areas to the south. And if they arrive at the right time, they may be able to generate one or two generations of mosquitoes. "
If a tiger mosquito is scary, it is because it is capable of transmitting tropical diseases such as dengue or zika.
"To be an epidemic, we need a vector, but also a pathogen," explains François Verheggen. “It is therefore essential that the patient return from tropical areas with this disease, that a tiger mosquito is present in the patient's area and then transfer the virus to another person. I'm not saying this will not happen in southern Europe where tiger mosquito populations are more important. However, in Belgium, the probabilities are very small. "