Invasive Aedes mosquitoes introduce new threats
Invasive Aedes mosquitoes are rapidly spreading throughout California and can currently be found in more than 130 cities from as far north as Hayward all the way to the Mexican border. In addition to Zika, these mosquitoes are also capable of transmitting many other viruses like dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. As of November 2016, invasive Aedes mosquitoes in California are not carrying Zika or any other diseases. Most of the Zika cases reported in California are the result of travel to places where Zika is being transmitted.
Since invasive Aedes can now be found in much of Los Angeles County, a local outbreak of Zika is possible. A local outbreak would most likely occur if an infected traveler transmits the virus to a local mosquito. To keep Zika out, residents must help reduce the population of mosquitoes and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, especially when traveling to or from areas where Zika is found.
Since invasive Aedes can now be found in much of Los Angeles County, a local outbreak of Zika is possible.
Invasive Aedes are very different from our common mosquitoes and have traits that make them very difficult to manage. Their eggs are extremely resilient and are laid in small containers of standing water. Traditional pesticide treatments provide just short term relief. The only way to effectively reduce the population is to eliminate the sources of water where they lay their eggs and grow. These mosquitoes prefer to live close to humans in urban areas and lay their eggs in man-made containers most commonly found in backyards. This means that every member of the community must remove or manage containers on their property that hold water. Containers can be as common as a bucket, as small as a bottle cap or as unconventional as chip bag or soda can.
The only way to minimize Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases is to address the threat together as a community. Managing invasive Aedes is a shared responsibility.
A BIG Thank You!
Los Angeles County Mosquito and Vector Control Districts along with local leaders would like to thank all of the residents who have already made the effort to remove containers, change their landscapes and their habits to help reduce the populations of invasive Aedes.
“I would like to thank all of the residents who have made the effort to remove containers and alter landscaping that are conducive to breeding invasive mosquitoes." - Congressmember Judy Chu (CA-27)
“Addressing invasive mosquitoes will require a community-wide effort. I would like to thank those residents who are leading the way and have already cleared their properties of potential breeding sources." - Janice Nelson, M.D., SGVMVCD Board of Trustees
“Protecting the health of Californian’s is a top priority and a shared responsibility to protect against invasive mosquitoes. I want to thank all of the residents who are already doing their part by preventing mosquitoes from breeding on their properties.” - Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D. (SD-22)
“The District and I want to thank all of the residents who have gone above and beyond to help share information with their own communities about invasive Aedes.- Kenn Fujioka, District Manager SGVMVCD
Winter Scrub Down - Eliminate next year’s mosquitoes today
As temperatures drop, the mosquitoes may be gone, but there could be thousands of eggs in your backyard right now waiting to hatch when warm temperatures return in 2017. Remember, eggs of invasive Aedes mosquitoes are extremely resilient and can sit, dry and dormant, for years waiting for the right conditions. Simply removing the water from a container will not destroy the eggs that are sticking to it. Invasive Aedes glue their eggs individually on the inside edges of containers and on the stems of plants submerged in water. When water is removed or the temperature gets too cold Aedes eggs simply wait until acceptable conditions return (warm temperatures along with standing water).
...there could be thousands of eggs in your backyard right now waiting to hatch when warm temperatures return.
To actually destroy Aedes eggs, residents must scrub with soap, water, with a scrub brush or scouring pad the inside of all containers potentially exposed to mosquitoes, either indoors or outdoors.
Winter gives us relief from mosquitoes and it also gives us an opportunity to rid our property of Aedes mosquitoes eggs. Scrub out all objects in the yard that might have held water. Participating in the Winter Scrub Down will give us a clean slate next year when the temperatures rise and the mosquitoes become active.
The first generation of next season’s mosquitoes is sitting in your back yard right now. Don’t even give them a chance to hatch.
Join the conversation and tell us what you’ve scrubbed.
Message to Travelers - Be Aware!
A locally transmitted outbreak of Zika virus will not start with an infected mosquito, it will start with an infected traveler. As of today, invasive Aedes in California are not carrying Zika or any other diseases. That could change if a local mosquito were to bite a person who had recently become infected with Zika virus while in an area where Zika was being transmitted. There have already been over three hundred travel-related Zika cases diagnosed in California residents who were infected in other places where Zika was circulating.
If you are planning to travel to a place where Zika or other mosquito-borne diseases are being actively transmitted, please take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Use mosquito repellent while traveling and continue to use it for at least two weeks after you return to avoid infecting our local mosquitoes. 80% of those people infected with Zika virus will show no symptoms but will still be capable of passing the virus to biting mosquitoes.
For Zika and other CDC travel advisories see http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel
What Should You Do?
- Clean up the junk and clutter in the yard. Invasive Aedes are ‘container breeders’ and will lay their eggs in toys, soda cans, and even trash. Check your yard carefully for anything that will collect rain or sprinkler water.
- Do not grow plants in water-filled buckets or vases - even indoors. Also, remove saucers from under potted plants. These can breed hundreds of mosquitoes every week.
- Remove bromeliads and other plants that naturally hold water from your landscape.
- If you collect and store water, make sure all containers are tightly covered with a lid or screen (22 point mesh or smaller). Rain barrels create the perfect environment for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and grow.
- Scrub outdoor containers that have held water with hot, soapy water to kill mosquito eggs. Store in a dry place.
- Talk to your neighbors – share what you know.
Report activity and request service from your local vector control agency:
San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District
1145 N Azusa Canyon Road
West Covina, CA 91790
Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District
12545 Florence Ave.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
DOWNLOAD: 2017 Tribune Special Report Keep Zika Out