Yellow fever mosquito maybe here to stay in the Valley

A potentially dangerous mosquito species that was first spotted in the Valley last year, maybe here to stay.
March 19, 2014 4:04:37 PM PDT
A potentially dangerous mosquito species that was first spotted in the Valley last year, maybe here to stay.

Local biologists were hoping the winter killed off the Aedes Aegypti, more commonly known as the "yellow fever" mosquito. But this month, biologists found three of them in traps they set throughout Clovis.

Jodi Holeman, a biologist with the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, says the mosquitoes were caught by a trap set along Twain Ave. The first was found on Mar. 7th, and another was found 10 days later on Mar. 17th. A third "yellow fever" mosquito was found on Mar. 10th in a trap set at a nearby neighborhood.

The mosquito species has a distinct black and white pattern. They can carry yellow fever, dengue and Chikungunya. That's why officials are also setting special traps to catch live mosquitoes for disease testing. So far none in California have tested positive for diseases.

"The concern is if somebody is traveling abroad, picks up that illness and comes to this area, we now have something that can transmit it to other people. That didn't exist before," Holeman said.

Holeman says the mosquitoes are usually found in the tropics. Experts haven't been able to explain why they suddenly started showing up in the valley last June, but they hoped they wouldn't survive the winter.

Steve Mulligan, the district manager of the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, says they are trying to determine whether or not the Aedes Aegypti population will be larger this year.

"It will be again probably be active in that local area where we found it last year and possibly spread out from there," he said.

He says the Valley is looking at warmer weather which is good for mosquito breeding. He points to the fact that it's been a dry year, but he says it doesn't take much for the mosquitoes to breed.

"People are starting to irrigate their lawns and that irrigation can fill up containers," he said. He points to containers like water bowls for pets, bird baths, toys and especially dishes under plants.

By cracking down on water sources for breeding, Mulligan says it won't just help control the yellow fever mosquito population, but the common mosquito as well. Those can carry West Nile Virus, which is still, and always will be, a concern.

For more information on how to report mosquito problems and potential mosquito breeding pools, you can visit the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District website: www.mosquitobuzz.net.


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