What is the Aedes mosquito that’s spreading in California?


LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Los Angeles County authorities are warning residents that an invasive species of tropical mosquito is becoming more prevalent in the region.

The Aedes mosquitos are more aggressive against humans than other species in the area, and they’re difficult to get rid of because of their ability to reproduce exponentially, experts say. They’ve also triggered a warning in the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County.

Vector control officials set up traps in neighborhoods around L.A. County to monitor the insects, and so far this year, they’ve trapped the most in Sunland and Sun Valley.

People aren’t imagining it when they say they’re getting bitten more this year, said Susanne Kluh, director of scientific and technical services for the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District.

The species has been in the region since 2011, but “depending on where you live, it might have just started really building up this year,” Kluh said.

Experts say residents are getting bitten more often because these types of mosquitoes are more aggressive about targeting humans than other species.

While other species prefer birds, “these new mosquitoes prefer to bite people,” Kluh said. “And they are daytime biters, so in the shade and people’s backyards they bite people all day long.”

The Aedes are also very difficult to get rid of because they can lay hundreds of eggs in quantities of standing water as small as a bottle cap, Kluh said.

The insects are also capable of transmitting viruses such as dengue and yellow fever, but so far, there’s been no evidence of such activity in L.A. County, officials said.

Kluh said the vector control district plans to release sterile male mosquitoes into the population. Their offspring would not be viable, driving down the population.

Experts advise residents to check their property for any standing water, which can include something as small as a saucer beneath a plant.

The region can expect to get some relief from the mosquitoes once temperatures are consistently cool, which should come around November.

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