Asian Tiger Mosquitoes
Vector Services & Information
Asian Tiger Mosquito
Why is it a threat?
Unlike the mosquitoes that we are familiar with in Southern California, the Asian tiger mosquito is an invasive pest that has the potential to transmit debilitating viruses such as dengue and chikungunya. Both of these diseases have not been reported in LA County and have not been transmitted locally. However, if a person with the virus spends time in an area where Asian tiger mosquitoes are found, there is an increased chance of an outbreak occuring in Los Angeles County. Currently, many cities across the country are reporting many chikungunya cases from travelers coming back to the U.S.
About the mosquito species
The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is native to Southeast Asia and is currently established in the south and southeastern United States. This aggressive, day-time biting mosquito can potentially transmit the viruses that cause dengue, chikungunya, encephalitis, and canine heartworm. Asian tiger mosquitoes are responsible for recent outbreaks of dengue virus in Florida, Hawaii, and Texas.
Click here to download the Asian Tiger Mosquito Brochure
Description: The Asian tiger mosquito is approximately ¼ inch long with distinctive black and white stripes on its thorax, abdomen, and legs.
Breeding habits: This mosquito will lay eggs in buckets, flower pots, old tires, and even flowering plants such as bromeliads. It is known as a “container breeder” and prefers to lay its eggs inside water-filled containers or on stems of aquatic plants. When flooded, the eggs hatch and larvae mature to biting adults in 7 to 12 days.
2001 Infestation in California: In 2001, vector control officials discovered that Asian tiger mosquitoes were being imported in shipments of “Lucky Bamboo” from China. The mosquito was eradicated with extensive measures employed in California which included monitoring imports of plants and plant containers at the ports and an embargo on shipments of aquatic plants in water.
2004 Introduction in Orange County: In 2004, the Orange County Vector Control District found Asian tiger mosquitoes that arrived in California in a boat that was shipped from Hawaii. The mosquitoes were eradicated by an aggressive door-to-door campaign in the neighborhood where they were found.
Current infestation timeline
In September 2011, a resident of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (SGVMVCD) complained about being bitten by mosquitoes during the day at a mobile home park in the city of El Monte. A further investigation confirmed that Asian tiger mosquitoes were present. Neighboring agencies and the California Department of Public Health were notified and surveillance and education measures began. Shortly after the initial discovery, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) also discovered Asian tiger mosquitoes within its jurisdiction in the city of South El Monte. Over the next few weeks, both Districts conducted extensive door-to-door campaigns to raise awareness and provide property inspections to residents.
Throughout October, both Districts conducted surveillance with mosquito traps and joint door-to-door campaigns to survey the affected area and attempt to establish the scope of the infestation. Attempts to control the mosquitoes were made whenever they were found. Both Districts also treated the extensive network of underground storm drains in the infestation area.
On November 8, 2011, the two Districts organized a multi-agency door-to-door campaign with volunteers from vector control agencies throughout Southern California. They distributed educational material and visited residents in portions of North Whittier, La Puente, West Covina, Covina, Baldwin Park, Duarte, Arcadia, Temple City, Rosemead, Montebello, and Pico Rivera. Asian tiger mosquitoes were found in a portion of unincorporated Los Angeles County near the city of Duarte.
The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District continued to identify Asian tiger mosquito activity in the city of El Monte through the end of December 2011.
The area in the San Gabriel Valley which is known to be infested is approximately 6 miles north to south by 3 miles east to west. This 18 square mile area includes in the cities of South El Monte, El Monte, and portions of unincorporated Los Angeles County. Approximately 180,500 residents live within this infestation zone.
Control and eradication efforts
Districts throughout Southern California continue surveillance for Asian tiger mosquitoes in their respective jurisdictions.
The SGVMVCD and GLACVCD have implemented intensive procedures to monitor and control Asian tiger mosquitoes when they are found. On-going outreach and education includes distributing multi-language and low-English literacy material. Both Districts are coordinating with city officials, community organizations, and schools to increase awareness of this mosquito and encourage inspecting personal property and eliminating potential sources which can breed mosquitoes.
What residents can do to help stop the infestation
• Residents should dump and drain any standing water around their home
• Put away or throw away all containers where water can collect in yards. Even trash, chip bags, and wrappers are good places for these mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
• Remove all water dishes from beneath potted plants
• Drill drain holes in the bottom of all plant pots
• Clean out rain gutters and lawn drains to ensure water does not collect
• Empty bird baths and small fountains completely or clean them thoroughly every 3 days.
• Report any daytime mosquito bites or activity by calling (562)944-9656 or submitting a service request through the GLACVCD website.
Click here to download the Asian tiger mosquito multi-language flyer.
Residents should talk to their neighbors about preventing mosquitoes from breeding and help stop this dangerous invader from calling California home!