Fresno County releasing mosquitoes to reduce mosquito population

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The warm weather not only has more people enjoying the outdoors, it also marks the start of mosquito season.

But some of the mosquitoes swarming in neighborhoods aren't biting. Instead, they're being released in three Fresno county neighborhoods to try to control the population of a pest which can spread dangerous diseases.

The Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District has a new home in Parlier to resume an old battle.

Traps revealed a growing number of mosquitoes are already being caught and sorted from a small mountain of other lookalike insects.

Male aedes egypti mosquitoes treated with a bio-pesticide are once again being released by Debug Fresno vans to mate with female mosquitoes. As a result, the female's eggs won't be fertile.

Consolidated District Manager Steve Mulligan explained, "It's only the female mosquitoes that bite so they can create a biting nuisance. Male mosquitoes cannot bite but these male mosquitoes are attracted to people because they're looking for females."

The males only feed on nectar but they also buzz and swarm and you can't tell the difference.

A photo showed a whole bunch of them waiting for someone to open the door of a Harlan Ranch home.

Science Education Director Kathy Ramirez noted, "They will hang out near people because they're looking to intercept females because they want to mate with her so they will buzz around legs. They will be around humans."

The sterile male mosquitoes are being released in three neighborhoods. Fancher Creek, Harlan Ranch and the Loma Vista area of Clovis. Vans made the rounds in the same areas a year ago.

According to Mulligan, lab counts indicated the program is working. He said, "Last year with the start of the Debug Fresno program we saw a 68% reduction in biting females."

Some people have noticed a lot more mosquitoes in the yard but the hope is they're not the kind that bite.

The striped aedes egypti variety can carry diseases like zika and yellow fever so it's important we empty all containers of standing water in the yard where mosquitoes can breed.
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