Home » These mosquitoes 'prefer to bite people.' The West Coast’s invasive insects

These mosquitoes 'prefer to bite people.' The West Coast’s invasive insects

by Lester Blair
An Aedes mosquito, with its distinct white strips, feeding on human blood.
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Horror movies like “Jaws” “Anaconda” and “The Birds” became cult classics with the ability to show how scary animals can be when around humans. While larger creatures can cause fear, smaller animals are capable of creating nightmares.

Meet the invasive Aedes mosquito, an insect that really wants to bite you. 

According to Los Angeles Times, Aedes mosquito, originally from Asia, arrived in California via a cargo of bamboo shipped from China in 2001. Now, the population of the mosquito has grown so rapidly that numerous counties in the state are trying to control the population rather than eradicate it.

These mosquitoes are more frightening than other species because they prefer to bite people. Their preference for biting humans.

Levy Sun, director of communications for the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District, said most mosquitoes prefer to feed on birds, but with Aedes mosquitoes, it’s a whole difference interest.

“With these Aedes mosquitoes, they don’t care about birds or other mammals, they prefer to bite people,” Sun told USA TODAY. To get blood, they will continuously bite people for several minutes. It is possible that you have five bites from one Aedes mosquito.

These differences are not the only ones. The Aedes mosquito is more active, can bite outdoors or indoors and are known to be aggressive. They are more active in fall, when they can be found outside, than most other mosquitoes that stop active by October. 

Luz Maria Robles, public information officer for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District, said they even found these mosquitoes living in May this year.

We didn’t realise we would be able to find them early,” she explained. The season for this mosquito seems to be extending.”

Aedes mosquitoes can also carry viruses. West Nile virus is the most known virus mosquitoes can carry, but these critters can carry a lot more, such as Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya, among others. According to Sun’s agency, the mosquitoes were responsible for Zika outbreaks in Florida, Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Continue reading: EEE virus is potentially lethal in mosquitoes.

Fact check:No, vitamin B1 supplements do not repel mosquitoes

So far, the mosquitoes have been found in 310 cities across 22 counties in California, according to state data, as well as in Utah. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017 estimated the mosquitoes were present in nearly all southwest and southeast states. 

Robles said what makes it so hard to contain the mosquitoes is how they breed. Typically, mosquitoes lay their eggs in large bodies of standing water, whereas Aedes eggs “look like a very small speck of dirt,” and the insects can lay them in a bottle cap of water and on things such as toys, buckets and plants.

She said that eggs in dry forms can last for several months so it’s not impossible.

How small Aedes mosquito eggs are on a plant.

Sun also stated that Aedes mosquitoes thrive because they “take advantage” of the people who create conditions to allow them to live. Because they don’t fly very far, most of their travels are from one yard to the next.

“These mosquitoes originate from tropical climates. By creating microclimates for them in Southern California’s yard, we let them thrive,” said he. You will find them in urban settings in big cities.

One way to get rid of the mosquitoes is to have more native plants and vegetation in your area and get rid of all stagnant water — even in drink containers as well as communicating with neighbors about doing the same thing. 

Robles stated, “You absolutely have to do you part as a resident.”

Sun added doing those things is a much better solution than just using pesticides.

“They can be much more resistant than native mosquitoes in this area to some of the pesticides that we have put out in our backyard,” he stated. Our fear is that this resistance could become so strong it will make the pesticides less effective.

Luz said that the best protection for your body is to use repellent and cover up as much as you can. The mosquitoes are black with distinctive white stripes, and if they are spotted, people are urged to call their local mosquito and vector control department.

Follow Jordan Mendoza Twitter @jordan_mendoza5



Source: USAToday.com

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