LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District is alerting residents about an invasive mosquito detected in a Lancaster neighborhood.
Aedes aegypti, also known as the Yellow Fever mosquito, can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus. The invasive mosquito was identified in a sample collected near Avenue J and Foxton Avenue in Lancaster, according to entomologist Karen Mellor. Aedes aegypti was first discovered in the Antelope Valley in October of 2018, but this is the first time it has resurfaced in the 2019 mosquito season. Invasive Aedes mosquitoes are small (about ¼ inch), black and white, and feed almost exclusively on humans, biting aggressively all day long.
“Aedes aegypti is a very aggressive day-time biter, which is different from our usual mosquitoes, which bite during dusk and dawn,” said District Manager Cei Kratz.
Female Aedes mosquitoes will lay eggs in small containers, just above the water line. The eggs can dry up and survive for six or more months, waiting for the container to re-flood so they can hatch.
AVMVCD personnel have increased mosquito surveillance in the area and will continue to place traps that are designed to attract egg-laying Aedes mosquitoes. Once trapped, the mosquitoes are contaminated with larvicide. When they leave the trap, they spread larvicide to several breeding sites around the trap. This targets larvae in small and hard to find breeding sources. The adult mosquito also gets infected with a mosquito-specific fungus that kills her before she can spread disease.
In addition to increased surveillance efforts, residents in the surrounding area will be informed about the proximity of this invasive mosquito and will be advised to do their part to eliminate this mosquito.
All possible sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs, such as buckets, tires, and plant saucers, should be emptied of standing water. Scrubbing the insides of containers is also recommended, as this can dislodge eggs deposited above the water line.
The District urges residents to do their part to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these recommendations:
Wear EPA registered ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the
Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active.
Be sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
Inspect yards for standing water sources and drain water that may have collected under potted plants, in bird baths, discarded tires, and any other items that could collect water.
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).
Report any day-time biting mosquitoes to the AVMVCD at 661-942-2917.
To stay up-to-date on any mosquito-related information, visit www.avmosquito.org or call 661-942-2917.