Water sitting in tires and oil drums outside Red Top Cab’s offices. The Asian tiger mosquito only breeds in standing water, not in swamps and ponds like other mosquitoes.
Photo by Eden Brown.
A few weeks ago, the first of the Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) starting biting. Arlington County ‘s Public Health Division had already distributed a notice about “tossing and tipping (and covering)” any standing water from garbage cans, house gutters, downspout extenders, pool covers, flower pots, coolers, or any other containers or objects where rainwater or hose water could collect. They specifically suggested tossing old tires, drums, bottles, cans, broken appliances or other items outside that aren’t being used, in order to stop the Asian tiger mosquitoes from living and multiplying around homes and businesses.
A concerned Arlington resident, Jake McGuire, reported the stash of used tires at the Red Top Cab parking lot behind the Liberty Tavern to a Connection journalist on May 30. “Yesterday I drove down the alley behind Liberty Tavern in Clarendon and saw that Red Top cab had a large pile of discarded tires outdoors hidden between a couple of buildings .... if the people in all those new condos in Clarendon knew they were in for a terrible summer of getting eaten alive because of this ...”, McGuire said.
Red Top Cab was contacted on June 2 and 3: in one phone call they indicated they were not aware of tires on their lot; a second call was not returned. The tires remained on the lot, full of water, as of June 12. A call on June 12 to follow up was answered more proactively. Red Top Shop Manager Andy Chao said they had called a removal company to take the tires away “sometime by the end of this week.”
Asian tiger mosquitoes can carry the Zika virus, as well as other harmful mosquito-born diseases such as West Nile Virus. Twenty-five Virginians have now contracted the Zika virus, the Virginia Department of Health reported on its website in early June, up from 20 reported cases the previous week. Fourteen of those cases were in Northern Virginia.
For more information see firstname.lastname@example.org and www.ZikaVA.org