New mosquito species are causing concern

A drier winter could mean fewer mosquitos this year, but officials are still on alert for a potentially dangerous species.
March 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Mosquitoes could be potential carriers for West Nile. But this year, mosquito control officials are also worried about a mosquito that could carry yellow fever and another species that's not deadly, but said to be aggressive.

The recent storm filled many outdoor buckets and containers. Tim Phillips with the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District says now is the time to dump and drain.

"Even the tiniest bit of water standing can be an issue of Aedes aegypti here," said Phillips.

Aedes aegypti is also known as the "yellow fever mosquito." The insect feeds during the day and is known to transmit not only yellow fever, but dengue and other diseases. Last year was the first time the species was spotted in California -- including Madera and Clovis.

Phillips says so far, there haven't been any cases of yellow fever reported, and he's optimistic that the winter helped eradicate the species from the area.

"Nature might help us with Aedes aegypti; we need a dry season and a cold season," said Phillips.

In the coming weeks, Phillips' staff will start putting out traps to try and figure out if the "yellow fever mosquito" is still in the Valley. Phillips also says they've gotten complaints about the Culiseta mosquito. This species is two to three times the size of an average mosquito. And though they're not known to carry diseases, they're not shy about feeding on people.

"They don't seem to care if you're swatting at them; they're still going to land on you and bite you," said Phillips.

And of course, the mosquito species that could carry West Nile will still be present this year and remains a concern. But no matter the type of mosquito, standing water is necessary for them to breed, so mosquito officials say don't give the bugs what they need.

Philips says his crews will start setting traps and spraying in about two weeks. They're also monitoring nearly 700 abandoned pools in the area.


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