San Diego – A variety of aggressive mosquitoes in the midst of another successful season are biting San Diego and driving pest control professionals to the end of their wits.
Invasive Aedes mosquitoes — which come in varieties that feature nicknames like “Yellow Fever,” “Asian Tiger” and “Australian Backyard” — made their debut in San Diego in 2014. They’ve been led by experts like Chris Conlan, the vector ecologist who oversees the Boycott, crazy ever since.
As Conlan explains, Aedes have adapted to “urban and suburban” mosquitoes, swapping pools of rainforest floor and woodland plants in their native habitat for small pools of water in neighborhood backyards, like buckets and plant saucers.
There they multiply profusely. According to Conlan, in a tub of water the size of a soda can, they could produce perhaps 100 offspring per week. Give them a 5-gallon bucket or a kids’ pool and they’ll produce thousands in that range.
Once they’ve moved on, you won’t like them. Small black mosquitoes, which have white stripes on their legs and back, bite especially vigorously. They like to swipe during the day, especially around the legs and ankles, and specifically prefer human blood over the blood of birds or other mammals. They bite over and over again too, filling up with blood in a process that will leave you with many an itch.
Although adaptable, mosquitoes feel good even if they enter your home, loitering under tables or couches so they can “wait for the opportunity to set off and get away,” says Conlan.
They’re a hearty bunch, too.
“This darn mosquito has prolonged our mosquito season,” Conlan told FOX 5. While the season usually peaks and then fades by the end of summer, Aedes cultivars will continue to nibble until the weather cools enough. In the always fun San Diego, this can go into November and into December.
More confusing vector control, mosquitoes’ preference for small water sources makes some of the province Tried-and-true control methods inactive.
“All of these normal things we’re going to do … don’t really work for these guys,” Conlan said. Unlike rivers, streams, ponds, and waterways, county targets regularly drop larvicides, a backyard bucket or a clogged storm drain escape a watchful eye.
“It’s not something we can drive and have everything fixed,” Conlan said. “It is the duty of our citizens here in San Diego to do whatever they can.”
so what can you are doing? “The key is to remove that source,” says the ecologist.
Start with the obvious: Empty baby pools and half-empty buckets around your property, empty the dirty water into that saucer under your backyard planter and put up a baffle over your rain barrels. Consider a screen over other areas as well, such as patio drains, which often have puddling pools of water just below the surface. Any cover with holes the size of a window screen or smaller will do, Conlan says.
If you have a bird bath, fountain, or pond, try a mosquito fish. The The boycott makes it freely availableThey will swim around your little water bodies and raise the larvae before they hatch.
The county has Prevention checklist Which goes into more detail.
A little piece of extra motivation for you and your neighbors: Mosquitoes typically travel only 300 feet from their birthplace, settling and hunting far away in familiar territory. This means that when communities take steps to get Aedes mosquitoes out of town, this season is unlikely to return.
“It will have an amazing effect,” Conlan said.
And one last encouraging piece of news from the ecologist: While mosquitoes are known to carry viruses like Zika, dengue, and yellow fever, there have been no recent recorded cases of those transmitted diseases in California. Conlan says that if the public can prevent their residents from swelling further, that will likely still be the case.