People who have had a safe little garden grill or an early evening stroll in the park have likely battled dreaded mosquitos. It seems that there have been more mosquitos this year. They spread all kinds of diseases. On Wednesday, Orange County announced its first death of the year from the West Nile virus. An elderly patient died in South LA last month. What’s going on with all the mosquitos this year?
Lila Higgins, senior manager of community science at the Los Angeles County’s Natural History Museum, says she hasn’t seen mosquitos until recently living in Koreatown.
She says LA actually got new types of mosquitoes around 2011. “We have the Asian tiger mosquito, the yellow fever mosquito and the Australian backyard mosquito. All three are not originally from the Los Angeles area. And they are here now. Their number has increased in recent years. And one of their common names is Knuckle Biters. “
She makes it clear that only female mosquitoes bite people. “You’re looking for a blood meal. And they need this blood meal so that they can lay eggs. So it’s the women who bite us. The males actually only eat nectar. ”
She continues, “As you are ready to suck up some blood, some of your saliva will go in. And the proteins in this saliva cause mild immune reactions in us. So this is where the redness and swelling – the little bumps – come from every mosquito bite. “