First we had a global pandemic. Then it was firenados and gigafires. Now, a dangerous new mosquito species is spreading through Northern California.
The Aedes aegypti, also known as the Yellow Fever Mosquito, is not native to California, which is why it’s concerning that it’s beginning to pop up around NorCal. This species has now been seen in Stanislaus, Sacramento, Sutter, Butte, Placer and Shasta Counties, and vector control has been attempting to rid the species from NorCal by setting up traps in targeted areas. The areas of note that have seen the mosquitoes recently are Arden-Arcade in Sacramento, Winters in Yolo County and Yuba City in Sutter County.
These mosquitoes are small, dark and lay eggs above water in small artificial containers like flower pots, pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers commonly found in backyards. The species is known to be aggressive and can carry Zika and other dangerous diseases.
“Even a bottle cap of water is enough to breed these mosquitos. What makes them different is they lay their eggs on the edge of containers and their eggs can survive in a dry form for months,” said Luz Marie Robles, Public Information Officer for Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District.
Here are some ways to identify the mosquito:
- Small black and white striped mosquitoes (about 1/4 inch long)
- Most likely, they traveled to California as dormant eggs in imported tires, or as eggs, larvae or adult mosquitoes hitch-hiking rides on planes, ships, cars, trucks, shipping containers or other vehicles
- They are aggressive day biting mosquitoes
- Eggs are laid in ornamental water fountains, potted plants, pet water dishes, or plastic and metal containers in piles of garbage
- Even if the mosquito eggs dry out, the eggs can survive for many months and will hatch when coming into contact with water once again
- They will breed inside homes or offices in containers of water such as pet dishes, potted plants and saucers and indoor fountains
- The eggs of these mosquitoes will look like small black seeds or specks
Here are ways to stop the spread of the species:
1) Call your local mosquito and vector control district if you see or are bitten by small black and white mosquitoes during the day! They are very sneaky and aggressive, and will easily follow you indoors. Many people will recognize them as something new!
2) Drain and Dump all standing and stagnant water around your home and property. Get rid of any unnecessary items that could hold water. Keep pet dishes, bird baths and kiddy pools scrubbed, clean and fresh. These mosquitoes are capable of laying thousands of eggs in just one container in your yard that holds water! They commonly lay their eggs in saucers placed under potted plants (fill saucers with sand), clogged rain gutters, standing water under houses, rain barrels and buckets, around leaky faucets, abandoned swimming pools and hot tubs, ornamental ponds, fish ponds, unsealed septic tanks and even trash piles. Keep your windows and doors properly screened.
3) Use Insect Repellents containing EPA registered active ingredients like DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to avoid all mosquito bites.
4) Do Not Transport or share plant stems that have been rooted in water, as these containers could be contaminated with mosquito eggs – example: lucky bamboo. Do not transport potted plants and the saucers used with them as these may also be contaminated with mosquito eggs.