PALMDALE– The Aedes aegypti mosquito — known for spreading viruses like chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and yellow fever — has been found in new areas of east Palmdale, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
AVMVCD officials said the Aedes aegypti mosquito was recently found in a sample collected near 13th Street East and Palmdale Boulevard and in a sample collected near 30th Street East and Avenue R-4. This is the first indication of these invasive mosquitoes in both of these areas.
“This type of mosquito was first discovered in the Antelope Valley in October of 2018, and has been spreading exponentially throughout the Antelope Valley since then,” said District Entomologist Karen Mellor.
Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, is a small black and white mosquito that is closely associated with human dwellings. Aedes mosquitoes pursue people throughout the day and into the evening, biting aggressively all day long. Female mosquitoes lay eggs just above the water line in small containers such as vases, flower pot saucers, toys, and discarded litter. The eggs can dry up and survive for six months or more, waiting for the container to reflood so they can hatch. Residents are advised to rinse and scrub plant containers at least weekly to dislodge and kill any mosquito eggs or immature mosquitoes, even if the containers are inside the home.
Although Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have the potential to spread diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and yellow fever, there is currently no local transmission occurring, according to District Manager Leann Verdick.
“Keeping mosquito populations low remains of utmost importance due to the potential for these diseases to make their way into the mosquito population,” Verdick said.
AVMVCD personnel have increased mosquito surveillance in Palmdale and will continue to place traps that are designed to attract egg-laying Aedes mosquitoes. Once they enter the trap, the mosquitoes are contaminated with larvicide. When they leave the trap, they spread this larvicide to other small and hard-to-find breeding sources in the area. The adult mosquito also gets infected with a mosquito-specific fungus that kills her.
AVMVCD urges residents to do their part to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these recommendations:
- Eliminate all possible sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs, such as buckets, trash, and plant saucers.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain one of these main ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535.
- Be sure windows and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home.
- Inspect yards for standing water sources and drain water that may have collected under potted plants, in bird baths, discarded cans/bottles, and any other items that could collect water.
- Check rain gutters and lawn drains to make sure they aren’t holding water and debris.
- Clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes at least weekly.
- Check indoor plants that are kept in standing water for mosquito activity (i.e. Bamboo and Philodendron)
- Report any day-time biting mosquitoes to the AVMVCD at 661-942-2917 or at avmosquito.org/submit-a-tip.
To stay up-to-date on any mosquito-related information, visit https://www.avmosquito.org/, For any further questions or services, call the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.]