The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD) is urging residents to report small black and white, day-biting mosquitoes. On October 13th, OCMVCD responded to complaints of mosquitoes in the City of Mission Viejo. A thorough investigation was conducted and the presence of yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) was confirmed. The yellow fever mosquito can transmit dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
“We immediately mobilized District personnel upon the discovery of yellow fever mosquitoes at a Mission Viejo residence,” said Robert Cummings, Director of Technical Services. “For several years OCMVCD has expanded surveillance efforts for this type of mosquito. We are conducting neighborhood inspections of properties for mosquito breeding and standing water in the surrounding area. We are also informing nearby residents about the discovery of this invasive species and to report additional sightings and mosquito bites.”
The yellow fever mosquito has been found in the county before. In April of this year, an Anaheim resident called the District to report day biting mosquitoes they recognized from an invasive species notification. The District expanded surveillance, treatments, and neighborhood notifications in an effort to eradicate the invasive mosquito. No additional yellow fever mosquitoes have been detected since the expanded control and education effort in Anaheim.
The yellow fever mosquito is recognizable by its bright silver lyre-shaped marking and white banded legs. They can live both indoors and outdoors, and primarily bite humans. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in containers holding as little as a teaspoon of water, and eggs, which are laid just above the water line, can survive dry conditions for six months or more.
This tropical and subtropical mosquito now found worldwide was first identified in California’s central valley and central coast in June of 2013, and last year in Los Angeles County. Determining the origin of the yellow fever mosquito is difficult. But, it is generally accepted that the transportation of dormant eggs attached to items such as imported tires and plants, is commonly associated with introductions of this mosquito species.
Once an introduction of the invasive species has occurred, residents moving materials from infested areas to non-infested areas may facilitate their spread. In order to stop the spread of this species in Orange County, OCMVCD is calling upon all residents to do their part by following these steps:
• REPORT any sightings of small, black-and-white mosquitoes, or if you are being bitten by mosquitoes during the day. Please call (714) 971-2421 or (949) 654-2421.
• Dump and drain all stagnant water around your home. Eliminate plant saucers and other unnecessary containers that could be a possible breeding source.
• Clean and scrub bird baths and pet-watering dishes weekly and dump the water from overflow dishes under potted plants and flower pots.
• Do not transport or share plant stems rooted in water.
• Be sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
• Use insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET®, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus to avoid bites.
For more information, please contact the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District at (714) 971-2421 or (949) 654-2421, or visit www.ocvcd.org.