SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, California – According to the Santa Barbara County’s Mosquito and Vector Management District, Santa Barbara first caught an invasive species of mosquito previously discovered in Ventura County.
The alien mosquito Aedes aegypti can be recognized by the white stripes on its back and legs and can spread dangerous diseases such as zika, yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunyaand.
The CDC said the mosquito was recently caught by a resident of the Hope neighborhood of Santa Barbara near the intersection of N. La Cumbre Road and Foothill Road.
The resident submitted pictures of the insect in the county’s mosquito quarter, which later confirmed it was an invasive species.
The mosquito district staff are currently setting up additional traps in the area, conducting property inspections and distributing informational brochures to the surrounding neighborhood.
The district said the Aedes aegypti is native to Africa but has spread to many regions of the world. This mosquito was first discovered in California in 2013 and has since spread throughout Southern California and the Central Valley.
The mosquito was last discovered and captured in various parts of Ventura County.
The Aedes mosquito bites both during the day and at night and has been referred to as “knuckle-biteers” by many locals as they tend to bite around this part of the body.
The district said Aedes aegypti prefers to feed on people and often stay close to human habitation.
The beetles lay their eggs in anything that contains stagnant water, including buckets, tires, bird baths, containers of all kinds, and plates under potted plants. To minimize their reproduction, residents are asked to locate, drain, and dispose of containers of standing water near their homes. Even small containers should be carefully monitored, as the mosquito larvae can complete their development in the amount of water that would fill a bottle cap.
Fortunately, experts explain that while these mosquitoes can be a nuisance, the diseases that are known to be transmitted are not common in California.
Right now, residents can protect themselves from bites by using Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellants, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, closing open doors, and making sure their windows are completely screened.
If you suspect you may have been bitten by these mosquitos you should contact the Santa Barbara County Mosquito District immediately via www.mvmdistrict.org or by calling (805) 969-5050.
More information about the Aedes aegypti mosquito can be found on the CDC website here.