Efforts underway to stop mosquitoes and the Zika virus

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wet weather in Central California this March is expected to give mosquitos lots of places to breed.

That's why Valley mosquito abatement districts are starting their efforts to stop the bugs that can spread the Zika virus and West Nile disease.

On Monday, science educator Katherine Ramirez showed Action News a box full of Aegis Eypti mosquitoes, "We are finding this mosquito in all of our smaller communities: Kingsburg, Selma, Fowler."

The Aegis Eypti can carry the Zika virus, which can lead to serious illness and birth defects. That's the number one concern.

The virus is not native to the Valley, but the fear is it could be carried by someone who has traveled to an area where it is, and if they are bitten by a mosquito here, it could spread it to somebody else.

"They are very aggressive mosquitos," says Ramirez.

The Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District has a variety of traps designed to catch and test the various types of mosquitos. One trap is also designed to get the mosquito eggs.

Vector biologist Aleece Richter explains what was found in a trap, "All these little black dots here are eggs, individually laid eggs by the Aegis Eypti, and you can see they look like dirt."

Richter says it's important to remove all sources of standing water around your home, including animal watering dishes. Empty them at least once a week, and wipe them out, because once water is returned the tiny eggs will hatch.

"They can be dry, in a container for up to a year and then once the water level rises enough that the egg is submerged they can hatch, even after that time," says Richter.

The Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District will begin an aggressive campaign to eliminate the mosquitoes that can carry Zika and West Nile.

The District has a blanket warrant to enter any property where mosquitoes are a problem, or there are abandoned swimming pools. They say it's not normally needed, as most residents are eager to comply to reduce the chance of getting bit by a bug carrying a virus.
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