Mosquitoes: Real-Life Fiction—With a Bite

San Francisco had the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Tippi Hedren was attacked by The Birds in Bodega Bay. But those horror stories were just that—stories.

Right now, there’s a real-life invasion happening in Southern California—Aedes mosquitoes have moved in—and they’re not ready to leave.

Two to watch for: Aedes albopictus, or the Asian tiger mosquito (top), and Aedes aegypti, or the yellow fever mosquito (bottom).

Officials reported a 330% spike in mosquitoes over the past year in Orange County. Los Angeles County and San Diego Counties have been invaded as well. The Aedes species has spread across a large part of Southern California; this map from the California Department of Public Health shows where the majority of the populations are located.

The Aedes species is not native to Southern California—they came into the state by hitching rides with travelers and on trade vessels. Although they first appeared in small numbers in the Central Valley in 2013, their population has grown significantly. But there are other species—the yellow fever and striped Asian tiger—causing trouble and carrying disease as well.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District says there are three main things to know about mosquitoes:

In July, scientists working on Project Debug Fresno released 20 million sterile male mosquitoes, hoping that they will mate with wild female mosquitoes. The effect? The females will continue to lay eggs, but they won’t hatch, which scientists hope will decrease the population significantly.

What can you do to protect yourself from being bitten and help break the cycle of breeding in your area of the state? Before deciding to try a DIY pest control session or hiring a licensed pest control company to do it for you, why not try a few simple things first such as removing water and other mosquito breeding invitations from your home and yard? Take a look at this video from the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District:

Although Southern California has experienced the largest population increase, mosquitoes can be found up and down the state. If you see standing water or potential breeding places, report them to your local vector control district immediately.


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