The Delano Mosquito Abatement District has found specimens of an invasive mosquito in the city of Delano this past week.
Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, is a mosquito that can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, Mayaro, yellow fever viruses and other diseases.
The mosquito can be recognized by white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on the upper surface of its thorax. This mosquito originated in Africa, but is now found in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.
It is the first discovery of the invasive mosquito in 2019 within the district’s boundaries, which includes areas in Kern and Tulare counties. Within those boundaries are the Kern County cities of Delano and McFarland, and the Tulare County communities of Earlimart, Richgrove and Teviston.
Aedes aegypti was found in several homes in a Delano neighborhood last month.
The district sent employees door-to-door in the area to alert residents about the find and provide information on how to keep their homes free of the Aedes aegypti and other mosquitoes.
Since 2017, there have been no locally transmitted cases of Zika in California. People who have contracted Zika did so when traveling elsewhere. Most people who do get the virus show few or no symptoms.
The Zika virus can only be spread by a mosquito if it bites a person who has an active case of Zika. The virus is only active in someone’s system for seven to 14 days. Almost the same goes for dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and Mayaro.
Although Aedes aegypti mosquitoes mostly feed during the day, they also eat at dusk and dawn — indoors, in shady areas or when the weather is cloudy. They can bite and spread infection all year long and at any time of day.
The mosquitoes prefer to breed in areas of stagnant water in manmade containers, including flower pots, vases, uncovered barrels, buckets and discarded tires. But mosquitoes also have been found inside on wet shower floors, sink drains and toilet tanks to breed inside the home.
Cleanliness is key
Your home’s backyard is the No. 1 source for mosquito production. Anything that can hold water for more than a week has the ability to produce mosquitoes. For this reason, it is important to dump, drain or eliminate unnecessary sources of standing water around your home and scrub containers with bleach to dislodge and kill eggs that can last for up to five years.
These invasive mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters that will readily enter and follow people into buildings and vehicles. They tend to bite around the ankles and elbows. They prefer to bite humans, but will readily bite animals too.
To protect yourself and prevent the spread and establishment of the aegypti, the Delano Mosquito Abatement District suggest you follow the 5 Ds:
DUSK and DAWN: Stay inside if possible. Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn.
DRESS in long-sleeve shirts and pants, socks and shoes when outside.
DEET: Make sure this ingredient is in your insect repellent.
DRAIN standing water in your yard, under potted plants, in bird baths, ornamental fountains, buckets, tin cans and discarded tires. Check your rain gutters to make sure they are not holding water and clean pet water dishes weekly.
DEFENSE: Be sure your home’s window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside.
Anyone living within the district who believes they may have come across the aegypti mosquito or other species of mosquitoes should call the Delano Mosquito Abatement District at 661-725-3114.
For more information on the Aedes aegypti visit the DMAD Web site at: http://delanomosquito.com/invasive-aedes-mosquitoes/