From a long-distance threat to the invasion front: a review of the invasive Aedes mosquito species in Belgium between 2007 and 2020
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Invasive mosquito species (IMS) and their associated mosquito-borne diseases are emerging in Europe. In Belgium, the first detection of Aedes albopictus (Skuse 1894) occurred in 2000 and of Aedes japonicus japonicus (Theobald 1901) in 2002. Early detection and control of these IMS at points of entry (PoEs) are of paramount importance to slow down any possible establishment. This article reviews the introductions and establishments recorded of three IMS in Belgium based on published (2007-2014) and unpublished (2015-2020) data collected during several surveillance projects. In total, 52 PoEs were monitored at least once for the presence of IMS between 2007 and 2020. These included used tyre and lucky bamboo import companies, airports, ports, parking lots along highways, shelters for imported cutting plants, wholesale markets, industrial areas, recycling areas, cemeteries and an allotment garden at the country border with colonised areas. In general, monitoring was performed between April and November. Mosquitoes were captured with adult and oviposition traps as well as by larval sampling. Aedes albopictus was detected at ten PoEs, Ae. japonicus at three PoEs and Aedes koreicus (Edwards 1917) at two PoEs. The latter two species have established overwintering populations. The percentage of PoEs positive for Ae. albopictus increased significantly over years. Aedes albopictus is currently entering Belgium through lucky bamboo and used tyre trade and passive ground transport, while Ae. japonicus through used tyre trade and probably passive ground transport. In Belgium, the import through passive ground transport was first recorded in 2018 and its importance seems to be growing. Belgium is currently at the invasion front of Ae. albopictus and Ae. japonicus. The surveillance and control management actions at well-known PoEs associated to long-distance introductions are more straightforward than at less-defined PoEs associated with short-distance introductions from colonised areas. These latter PoEs represent a new challenge for IMS management in Belgium in the coming years. Aedes albopictus is expected to become established in Belgium in the coming years, hence increasing the likelihood of local arbovirus transmission. The implementation of a sustainable, structured and long-term IMS management programme, integrating active and passive entomological surveillance, vector control and Public Health surveillance is therefore pivotal.