O.C. residents urged to help fight new ankle-biting mosquito

Aedes Mosquito. Center for Disease Control Public Health Image Library.

Laguna Beach residents are reporting an uptick in ravenous ankle-biting mosquitos following recent rainstorms, the Orange County Vector Control District shared this week.

It’s very possible the bites are attributable to a newcomer to Orange County—the Aedes mosquito. Laguna Woods and Laguna Hills residents had issues this summer with this species but OC Vector Control crews haven’t trapped one in Laguna Beach yet, agency spokesperson Heather Hyland said.

“Our district has not been able to collect and confirm an invasive Aedes sample, however, the calls we have received from Laguna Beach confirm that residents are reporting day time aggressive biting on lower legs is indicative of these mosquitoes,” she said.

Almost all of Orange County is now experiencing the biting fiends, Hyland said. The Aedes mosquito has spread throughout Although the insects currently do not transmit disease in Orange County, they are capable of transmitting certain diseases such as Dengue, Zika and Yellow fever.

The Aedes mosquitoes prefer small backyard and in-the-home water sources to lay their eggs, including flowerpot saucers, yard drains, water-holding plants, and other small containers. The best way to reduce their activity is to dispose of standing water. It’s noteworthy that they’re usually not found in creeks and other natural watershed sources.

Residents need to check their property weekly for standing water and eliminate that water source. If a water source like yard drains cannot be eliminated by reducing water usage, that drain can be treated with Bti bits or oil to prevent mosquito breeding. Residents can download a property checklist and learn more about how to remove water sources at ocvector.org.

Residents can also submit a request for an inspection of their property by calling OC Vector Control at 714-971-2421 or visiting ocvector.org.

For bite prevention, EPA-registered repellent is recommended. The most common commercial repellents that are EPA-registered and have shown efficacy are DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. For Aedes mosquitoes, 15% of DEET or more is the most effective. DEET is tested to be safe for children two months and older and pregnant women. When applying repellent, residents should apply sunscreen first and repellent over sunscreen and reapply per the label.

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