The infestations of invasive mosquitoes increases viral threats, such as Zika and dengue fever, in Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County, Calif. – Vector control officials are warning Los Angeles County residents about potentially dangerous, invasive mosquitoes that have spread rapidly in the past five years. The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) advises residents to take steps now to prevent the mosquitoes from establishing in their neighborhood.
The first major infestation of Aedes mosquitoes was discovered in 2011. There are now more than 20 communities experiencing Aedes mosquito infestations in GLACVCD’s approximate 1340 square-mile service area alone – up from seven communities since the beginning of 2014.
Much of the fight against these six-legged invaders occurs in the backyard. Invasive Aedes are able to lay eggs on the sides of small containers, including buckets, plant saucers, and even in recyclables that can hold standing water. Their ability to adapt to urban environments makes these mosquitoes extremely difficult to control in cities around the world.
The presence of invasive Aedes mosquitoes increases the risk of residents being exposed to diseases such as Zika, dengue fever, Chikungunya, and yellow fever. These viruses are currently not transmitting locally.
“We’re at a higher risk of experiencing a localized outbreak compared to years before,” says Susanne Kluh, Scientific-Technical Services director for GLACVCD. “It takes just one traveler infected with Zika or dengue fever to be bitten by the invasive mosquitoes in L.A. County, in order to start local transmission.”
Vector control officials actively monitor and control invasive species wherever they are found through a comprehensive invasive Aedes control program. This includes grassroots door-to-door inspections, source reduction, mosquito control techniques, and education programs. Year-round population monitoring yields crucial data necessary to determine the best control options.
“Our focus is to suppress the populations of these mosquitoes wherever they are detected and to limit their expansion into surrounding cities,” says Kluh. “It’s critical we utilize all the tools and resources available to us – from traditional management techniques to the latest, highly-targeted technology – to combat this urban threat.”
Vector control is calling upon all residents to do their part by following these steps:
- TIP AND TOSS all containers holding water inside and around around your home. Eliminate plant saucers and other unnecessary containers and thoroughly scrub outdoor pet water dishes weekly to remove eggs.
- DO NOT transport or share plant stems rooted in water. Do not keep outdoor buckets full of water.
- USE INSECT REPELLENT containing EPA-registered active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to avoid bites.
- REPORT any sightings of small, black-and-white mosquitoes, or if you are being bitten by mosquitoes during the day! Residents can contact GLACVCD at 562-944-9656 or online at www.ReportMosquitoes.org.