As warmer temperatures start and summer approaches in the Antelope Valley, residents are reminded that the change in the weather also means the beginning of mosquito season.
Of particular concern is an invasive species known to carry tropical diseases, a population that saw a tenfold increase in the Antelope Valley, last year, according to Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District officials.
The Aedes mosquito is not native to the area but was first found here, in October 2018. The mosquitos are known to carry different diseases than our native mosquitos, including yellow fever (they are sometimes known as yellow fever mosquitos), dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus, according to officials.
None of these diseases have yet been found in the Antelope Valley or California.
These mosquitos are black-and-white and are closely associated with human dwellings.
Unlike other mosquitos in the area, which generally bite at dusk and dawn, Aedes mosquitos actively pursue people throughout the day. They tend to bite below the knees.
The native Culex mosquitos, while less aggressive, are known to carry West Nile virus, the most prevalent and serious mosquito-borne disease in California. There is no human vaccine for West Nile virus, which can cause debilitating cases of meningitis, encephalitis and even death.
As potential disease-carriers, mosquitos pose a public health threat. Although instances of tropical diseases have not yet been found in the local Aedes population, the potential remains for these diseases to make their way into the population through biting infected travelers, District officials said.
Residents are asked to report any daytime biting mosquitos to the District at 661-942-2917 or www.avmosquito.org/submit-a-tip
The District monitors traps for mosquitos — the native Culex and invasive Aedes species. Once the District finds a hot spot, technicians visit the area and look for potential water sources for breeding and help eliminate them.
The Aedes mosquitos can breed in the smallest of wet areas — as small as a bottle cap — so it is important to be vigilant about keeping all areas dry and removing anything that may trap water.
This includes checking and emptying items such as buckets, tires, toys, plant saucers and the like. Scrubbing the insides of the containers is also recommended, as this will dislodge eggs that are stuck to the container.
The District urges residents to do their part to protect themselves by following these recommendations:
• Be sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
• Clean clutter in the yard.
• Check rain gutters and lawn drains to make sure they aren’t holding water and debris.
• Clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes, weekly.
• Check indoor plants that are kept in standing water for mosquito activity (i.e. Bamboo and Philodendron).
• Wear EPA registered insect repellents with ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to exposed skin (as directed by the product label) when mosquitoes are present.
Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active.