Are there mosquitoes in the UK?

Stop mosquitoes getting into your home

If you were to ask someone where they would typically find mosquitoes, they would probably suggest tropical climates, humid jungles, or warm evenings on the mediterranean. However, the reality is that mosquitoes are much more widespread than that. In this blog, we’ll be exploring mosquitoes, where to find them and how to keep safe.

Are there mosquitoes in the UK?

Yes! Contrary to the belief that they’re only found in hot climates, mosquitoes can be found on every continent except Antarctica. While the United Kingdom isn’t a hotspot for mosquitoes, they are present across the country.

Where can mosquitoes be found in the UK?

Mosquitoes reside all over the country, but mostly in wet rural areas such as rivers and lakes, salt-marsh, and damp woodlands. Moving to a waterside property? Visit our coastal and waterside living page to read up on how to protect your home from water-borne insects.

Mosquito species in the UK

The UK is home to over 30 different species of mosquitoes. While this might come as a bit of a surprise, the majority of these species don’t pose a significant threat to human health. The mosquitoes in the UK are less likely to transmit serious diseases compared to their counterparts in other parts of the world. See below the three most common species of mosquito in the UK:

What are the most common mosquito species in the UK?

Culex pipiens: Known as the ‘common house mosquito’, this species is the UK’s largest in population and is typically found in urban areas. Culex pipiens is more likely to bite birds than humans, which reduces its potential to spread human diseases.

Anopheles plumbeus: This species is notable because it can transmit malaria – though, cases of malaria in the UK are extremely rare and usually related to travel. Anopheles plumbeus prefers tree holes for breeding but can be found in garden water butts and other standing water.

Aedes detritus: A saltmarsh mosquito often found in coastal regions. Do you usually come back from seaside trips with bites on your arms and legs? This species is known for its painful bite, but it does not typically carry diseases dangerous to humans in the UK.

How does climate change affect the mosquito population?

Historically, the UK’s temperate climate has limited the growth of the mosquito population. However, with the continuous changes in global climate, warmer temperatures and wetter conditions are becoming more common, potentially creating a more hospitable environment for mosquitoes. This has raised concerns about the possibility of non-native mosquito species establishing themselves in the UK.

In recent years, there have been occasional reports of invasive mosquito species being found in the UK. Most notably, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which is known for spreading diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus. This species has begun establishing itself across many areas of Europe, including Italy, Germany, and France. The presence of this mosquito in the UK is not yet widespread, but the potential for its establishment is being closely monitored by health authorities. Read more about the Asian tiger mosquito in this recent BBC News article.

What are the health risks of mosquito-borne diseases?

While the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases in the UK is currently low, it’s worth being cautious. Transmission of diseases like malaria in the UK is incredibly rare, with most cases being imported from travellers returning from regions where the disease is widespread.

West Nile Virus

One of the potential threats is the West Nile virus, which can be carried by common house mosquitoes. The virus is prevalent in many parts of the world, including North America and parts of Europe. While there have been no significant outbreaks in the UK, the changing climate and increased international travel mean that it remains a concern for public health officials.

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes

Though the risk of serious mosquito-borne diseases is low in the UK, the presence of mosquitoes in the home is unhygienic and can be unsettling to those with a fear of creepy crawlies. Not to mention their bites can be an itchy nuisance! Here are some tips to keep mosquitoes away:

  • Use insect repellent: Apply a DEET-based insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing when spending time outdoors, especially during the evening and early morning when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear protective clothing: It’s hard to notice you’ve been bitten until hours later or even the next day when the itchiness sets in. Be sure to wear long sleeves and trousers to reduce the amount of skin exposed to mosquitoes.
  • Install screens: Fit insect screens to your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes, flies, wasps, spiders and more out of your home. This will allow you to have the doors and windows open to remove hot, stuffy air and control the temperature. Screens are an essential part of everyday living across many parts of the world, and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. By installing screens, you can let fresh air flow through your home without letting mosquitos in – and may even help you save on air condition bills!
  • Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes breed in standing water that you might find in your garden. Regularly check gutters, buckets, plant saucers, and bird baths, and remove the standing water to stop mosquitoes laying eggs there.

So, should you be worried about mosquitoes in the UK?

While the mosquitoes in the UK are generally less dangerous than those found in tropical regions, they can still be a pain. The presence of over 30 species of mosquitoes means that managing these insects is important, particularly as the climate changes and the risk of invasive species increases. Protect yourself and others by taking simple precautions and you can enjoy the outdoors without letting mosquitoes ruin your time. The UK might not be a mosquito hotspot just yet, but it’s always wise to be prepared.

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