Invasive Mosquitoes Pose New Threat to South Pasadena

Two invasive species of mosquitoes have moved into our back yards. The bad news? They bite during the day. The worse news? They're known vectors of Zika and West Nile virus

FILE PHOTO: South News

Mosquitoes — one of the natural banes of our existence. We’re all familiar with the tickle, the itch, the scratching, the pleasant outdoor evenings given up because their bites are getting to be too much to handle.

But now, it’s not just during the cooler dusky hours of summer that South Pasadenans are vulnerable to mosquitoes. With two new invasive species establishing themselves in our area, mosquito season is 24/7.

On June 11 the San Gabriel Valley Vector & Mosquito Control District put on a workshop, “South Pasadena Bites Back!”, at the Library Community Room to educate the public about the new health threats we could be facing.

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PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | Levy Sun, Public Information Officer for the SGV Mosquito and Vector Control District

“It used to be that we had a mosquito season that runs from April through maybe August, but now we’re seeing mosquito season turn into a year-round issue,” said Levy Sun, Public Information Officer at the Control District.

“Temperatures are higher for a longer period of time, and we’re also seeing more high temperatures following rain events. And when rain hits the cities, they find all sorts of water sources in people’s back yards, and when the high temperatures come in, the mosquitos are ready to lay their eggs.”

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | A jar of mosquito larvae & eggs

Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (the tiger mosquito) are native to Africa, where they are known vectors of Zika, dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and West Nile viruses. Like many other invasive species, they hitched a ride from their home continent through travel & trade — the Control District cites shipping containers of bamboo and other materials imported into California ports.

“People will also bring in souvenirs from out of the country that have mosquito eggs on them,” Sun added.

The invasive mosquitoes are a veritable super-bug. Unlike native mosquitoes, members of the Aedes (pronounced “eighties”) genus will seek out humans, their preferred prey, during the middle of the day, and bite multiple times while feeding if allowed.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | The SGVMVCD suggests use of insect repellant or wearing long sleeves/pants when outside

“The issue that we’re facing now is unlike any other in the past,” Wu said. He strongly advised South Pasadena residents to spend 10 minutes a week looking around their home and dumping out any stagnant water they may find (empty garbage bins, flower pots, bird baths, or overturned lids are common culprits, as are uncovered pools and jacuzzis). “They can lay their eggs in stagnant water as small as the size of a bottle cap.” Those eggs will mature into full adults in about a week.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | Common household objects that can hold stagnant water, breeding ground for mosquitoes

An Alhambra man was hospitalized with West Nile and a bird in South Pasadena tested positivefor the virus in 2017. While there have been no confirmed cases of transmission of Zika, yellow fever, or dengue viruses at this time, Vector Control urges Los Angeles county to remain vigilant.

Here are some resources from the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District on how to keep your home mosquito-free.

Concluded Sun, “South Pasadena is a beautiful city, and its people are very strong; we are blessed to be working with all of them. We really hope we can share this responsibility together so we can fight these mosquitoes.”