In recent years, exotic mosquitoes have increasingly arrived in Germany and have been able to settle in some places. These include the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which can already be found in parts of southern Germany and in Berlin. It has not yet been discovered in Hamburg, but there is a risk of it being introduced, as there is an international exchange of goods with all continents in the port of Hamburg. Particularly via the import of old car tyres or plants, but also in other freight containers, mosquitoes can enter Hamburg as "stowaways".
In order to detect the occurrence of exotic mosquito species as early as possible, the HU started a new monitoring project at the beginning of August 2023. It will initially run until the end of October 2023. For this purpose, the HU has set up mosquito traps at four strategic points in the port, which will be emptied regularly. The trapped animals are then examined at the BNITM. The aim is to determine the mosquito species and to detect possible pathogens in the mosquitoes.
The new monitoring project is not the first of its kind in Hamburg. Mosquito traps were already set up in the harbour area in 2012 and 2013. In both years, only native species were caught. During the monitoring in 2016 and 2018, the trapping radius was expanded: Mosquito traps were set up not only in the port area, but also in the cargo holds of container ships. Most of the mosquito species identified were of the genus Culex, which are native to our region. During the voyage, mosquitoes of the genera Aedes and Anopheles were detected in the traps on a ship that came to Hamburg from South America via the west coast of Africa. It is therefore possible that exotic mosquitoes are introduced by ships.