Watch out for “ankle biters” mosquitoes

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Invasive yellow fever mosquitoes, also known as “ankle-bites” for their ankle-biting habit, were first spotted in Santa Barbara, the county Mosquito and Vector Management District said this week.

Suspicious specimens collected at a residence near the intersection of North La Cumbre and Foothill Streets have been confirmed as Aedes aegypti in the district laboratory. The county employees are now setting traps, conducting property inspections and distributing informational brochures in the surrounding Hope neighborhood. said a spokesman.

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Aedes aegypti is native to Africa, but has spread to many regions of the world. It was first discovered in California in 2013 and has since been found throughout Southern California and the Central Valley. The mosquito can transmit viruses like dengue, zika, and chikungunya, as well as the virus that causes yellow fever, but these diseases are not locally transmitted in California, the district said. However, the species can be extremely disruptive, biting both day and night, and can be found both indoors and outdoors.

Like other species of mosquito, yellow fever mosquitoes lay their eggs in virtually anything that contains stagnant water, including buckets, pots, tires, bird baths, and even water held by certain plants such as bromeliads.

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