Invasive Aedes Mosquito First present in Santa Barbara County

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Source: Santa Barbara County’s Mosquito and Vector Management District

The Santa Barbara County’s Mosquito and Vector Management District has confirmed the presence of the alien Aedes aegypti mosquito in Santa Barbara County. Photos of a suspicious mosquito caught in a home in the Hope neighborhood of Santa Barbara have been submitted to the district’s website by an attentive resident. The suspicious mosquito samples were collected at the residence near the intersection of N. La Cumbre Rd. and Foothill Rd. and tentatively identified as Aedes aegypti in the district laboratory. An additional sample was taken from a trap placed in the residence where the mosquitoes were found and it was clearly identified as Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. The mosquito district staff is currently setting up additional traps, conducting property inspections and distributing informational brochures in the area.

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. Aedes aegypti can transmit viruses like dengue, zika, and chikungunya, as well as the virus that causes yellow fever, but luckily, these diseases are not locally transmitted in California. However, this mosquito can be extremely bothersome, biting both day and night, and can be found both indoors and outdoors. Residents of areas where the mosquito is well established call them “knuckle-biters” because they have a habit of biting their ankles. Aedes aegypti prefer to feed on humans and stay near human habitation, where they lay their eggs in virtually anything that contains stagnant water, including buckets, hoops, bird baths, containers of all kinds, and plates under potted plants. They can even develop in water found in plants like bromeliads. Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae can complete their development in the amount of water that would fill a bottle cap. Residents are encouraged to remove any standing water sources both inside and outside the home and to scrub the sides of the containers as the eggs can survive for many months without water.

“Public awareness of Aedes aegypti will be very important in slowing the spread and reducing the problems these mosquitoes cause,” said Brian Cabrera, general manager of the Mosquito District. “Local residents can help fight the bite by removing the water sources where they lay their eggs and develop and contact the district if they suspect they might be bitten by these mosquitoes.”

Residents can protect themselves from the bite 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.

Information on Aedes aegypti and other mosquitoes can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/about/life-cycles/aedes.html

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