Deadly mosquitoes have landed in the Bay Area. Here’s how to protect yourself

Two harmful invasive mosquitoes — a male and a feminine — have been trapped in Santa Clara County, the newest proof that the disease-carrying species could also be colonizing the San Francisco Bay Area.

The incidents comply with related sightings final week in Watsonville and final August in Martinez. They weren’t noticed in Alameda or San Mateo counties.

“We anticipated it. It was only a matter of time,” stated Santa Clara County Vector Control District Manager Nayer Zahiri. “Obviously it was a little bit of a shock, however we have been prepared.”

None of the mosquitoes, often called Aedes aegypti, carried Zika, dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya or every other lethal virus recognized to be circulating. Although there have been instances of those illnesses amongst returning vacationers in the county, they have not been transmitted by bugs.

But the findings have prompted pest management consultants to urge residents to drain and clear any water supply the place the bugs can breed. Eggs – sticky and small, like black grime – are laid on inside partitions, water strains, buckets, plant dishes, birdbaths, clogged drains, pet bowls and even bottle caps.

Winter can’t destroy them. Eggs can survive for greater than a 12 months even when they’re dry and can hatch instantly after re-wetting.

Native to West Africa, these bugs shocked the world in 2015 after they quickly unfold the Zika virus to Brazil and greater than 50 different international locations and territories. Zika may cause delivery defects, together with microcephaly, and mind injury, so the penalties are solely starting to be understood.

Santa Clara County Vector Control District vector ecologist Sachi Hwanbo, heart, and operations assistant Brenton McFarland show how to take away mosquitoes from an invasive mosquito lure on Oct. 1. 25, 2022, Milpitas, California. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

The mosquito was first found in Southern California about twenty years in the past. Since then, it has unfold north from San Diego to Shasta, throughout 20 California counties, alongside Interstate 5 in the Central Valley. Based on genetic evaluation, California bugs might have been launched from the southeastern United States.

Its enlargement into California is inflicting such concern that vector management officers plan to introduce 2 million genetically modified mosquitoes into Tulare County, probably increasing into Fresno, San Bernardino and Stanislaus counties. When these lab-engineered bugs mate with wild bugs, their offspring die, ultimately main to inhabitants collapse.

Until now, the Bay Area has been largely preserved. The mosquito has been noticed right here earlier than — a number of have been discovered in San Mateo and Alameda counties between 2013 and 2015 — however they by no means turned established.

This is the place the mosquito lives in Southern California. “They’re created as a result of they’re actually laborious to do away with,” stated Edgar Nolasco, director of the Santa Clara County Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency.

The mosquitoes discovered this week are in a business enterprise district in North San Jose, close to the Milpitas border, close to the intersection of Dixon Landing Road and McCarthy Boulevard. They don’t thrive in pure areas of the area; On the opposite, they’re the lifetime of the metropolis, close to the individuals.

An intensely black mosquito, it’s distinguished by its pointed stomach and two white lyre-shaped stripes on its again and white stripes on its legs.

Eggs of the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito are shown under a microscope.
Eggs of the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito are proven beneath a microscope. Courtesy of Santa Clara County Vector Control District

There are about 35 native mosquito species in California. Most bites happen in the night when individuals are at house. Most dangerously, black bugs referred to as Culex pipiens transmit West Nile virus. These are often buzzing sounds in your ears at evening. However, the overwhelming majority of native mosquitoes don’t transmit any illness.

These new invaders hunt for blood throughout the day when individuals are out and about. They are aggressive and chew a number of instances. But they do not go far. Known for hiding amongst leaves, they’re pets that may fly a block away from their breeding grounds.

The feminine mosquito was first caught in one among 40 to 50 small traps arrange in a surveillance system all through Santa Clara County.

Traps use insect ice to appeal to bugs. That’s as a result of dry ice releases carbon dioxide, which individuals exhale — so mosquitoes are fooled into pondering the lure is a supply of blood.

Out all evening, the traps are assembled each morning. Caught bugs are frozen in the lure after which hand-sorted and recognized utilizing forceps beneath a microscope.

“As quickly as we noticed what was in their lure, we dismissed it as a result of it was not a mosquito that we see day-after-day,” Zahiri stated.

The man was later caught in the act of being held a brief distance away. Photographs have been taken and despatched to insect consultants in Sacramento for affirmation.

Since then, “happily, we’ve not discovered any extra mosquitoes,” Nolasco stated. “But this doesn’t imply that we are going to cease our vigilance. Its eggs dwell up to a 12 months.”

To stop mosquitoes from breeding close to you:

• Drain as little water as potential. Cleaning and wiping down birdbaths, pet bowls, and different containers is an efficient approach to get rid of Aedes aegypti eggs.

• Properly display rain barrels, cisterns, and irrigation drains to preserve mosquitoes out.

• Fix leaky taps and damaged sprinkler heads and keep away from overwatering lawns and crops.

• Ensure water ranges in swimming pools are ample for correct circulation and filtration.

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