Invasive Aedes Mosquito Found in Santa Barbara County for the First Time

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito taking a blood meal. title=
A close-up photo of a female Aedes aegypti mosquito that has landed on a person's skin and has inserted it's mouthparts to begin feeding. The abdomen of the mosquito is starting to fill up with bright red blood.
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Source: Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County

The Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County has confirmed the presence of the non-native Aedes aegypti mosquito in Santa Barbara County. Photos of a suspect mosquito caught at a home in the Hope neighborhood in Santa Barbara were submitted to the District’s website by an alert resident.  The suspect mosquito specimens were collected from the residence located near the intersection of N. La Cumbre Rd. and Foothill Rd. and tentatively identified as Aedes aegypti at the District laboratory. An additional specimen was collected from a trap set up at the residence where the mosquitoes were found and it was positively identified as Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. Mosquito district staff currently are setting up additional traps, conducting property inspections, and passing out informational brochures in the surrounding neighborhood. 

Aedes aegypti is native to Africa but has spread throughout many regions of the world. This mosquito was first detected in California in 2013 and since then has spread throughout southern California and the Central Valley. Aedes aegypti can transmit viruses such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya and the virus that causes yellow fever but, fortunately, these diseases are not locally transmitted in California. However, this mosquito can be extremely bothersome, biting both during the day and at night and can be found both indoors and outdoors. Residents in areas where the mosquito has become well established call them “ankle biters” due to their habit of biting around the ankles. Aedes aegypti prefer feeding on humans and stay close to human dwellings where they will lay their eggs in practically anything that contains stagnant water including buckets, tires, birdbaths, containers of all kinds, and plates under potted plants. They can even develop in water held in plants, such as bromeliads. Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae can complete their development in the amount of water that would fill a bottle cap. Residents are urged to remove all sources of stagnant water both inside and outside of the home and scrub the sides of the containers because the eggs can survive without water for many months.

“Public awareness of Aedes aegypti will be very important in slowing its spread and reducing the problems these mosquitoes cause,” says Mosquito District General Manager Brian Cabrera. “Local residents can help “fight the bite” by eliminating the sources of water where they lay their eggs and develop as well as contacting the District if they suspect they are being bitten by these mosquitoes”. 

Residents can protect themselves from biting by using repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, closing open doors, and making sure their windows are fully-screened. 

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

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a-1601754906 Oct 03, 2020 12:55 PM
Invasive Aedes Mosquito Found in Santa Barbara County for the First Time

These things are visited on us by our own lack of discipline. Almost all the alien species of plants and insects and animals that are brought here where they have little competition and can survive over native flora/fauna, come in with people who smuggle stuff through customs. They often want to bring some item from the "home country" or provide something nostalgic to their family. Better social responsibility is probably not to be attained but maybe better enforcement is possible.

SBTownie Oct 03, 2020 04:15 PM
Invasive Aedes Mosquito Found in Santa Barbara County for the First Time

Horrible. We were eaten alive by these after an evening sitting outside at a friend's home in Pasadena earlier this year. I had miserable, swollen bites for a week. I was shocked and our friend explained that they had invaded the area in the last few years. It's horrible not to be able to enjoy your own backyard.

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