Concerns around invasive mosquito arise at the arrival of mosquito season

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May is the month when barbecues, social gatherings, outdoor activities and summer vacations begin, but it is also the time to start mosquito breeding prevention. Concerns regarding the invasive mosquito species Aedes Aegypti are still in the forefront.

Each year as the weather starts warming and outdoor activities begin taking place, mosquito larva begin hatching and the arrival of mosquito season is upon us. Mosquitoes typically start making their unwelcome appearances in May and remain both a nuisance and a health threat until October.

According to Gary Goodman, District Manager of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, (District), there are 23 species of mosquitoes in the area. Of these species, possibly five, but certainly two that vector (carry and transmit) the West Nile Virus.

Goodman made a presentation before the Winters City Council in April and said, “our goal is to help provide safe, effective economical mosquito vector control, not only so you can enjoy your backyard barbecue without being bothered by mosquitoes, but of course because of disease transmission and trying to prevent anyone from getting sick.”

One major concern for Winters was the appearance last September of the invasive mosquito species, Aedes Aegypti, also known as the Yellow Fever Mosquito. This species is a very efficient vector of exotic diseases like the Zika virus, dengue fever and the Chikungunya virus.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the Aedes Aegypti files only the distance of a few blocks during its life, making its appearance in Winters more alarming.

The District lays traps for invasive species all winter. The Aedes Aegypti is a small, dark mosquito known as the “container breeder” because it lays eggs during the winter in containers, such as planting pots and the eggs can lay dormant for months until contact with water and the right hatching conditions. The good news for Winters, said Goodman, is that none have been found here yet this year.

The most prevalent disease carried by mosquitoes in the region is West Nile Virus, which has been present since 2004. The disease is carried by birds and mosquitoes act as a vector carrying the disease between birds and humans. Most cases of the virus are mild in humans, but the virus can cause life-threatening illnesses, and can lead to paralysis or blindness, Goodman said.

More good news is that testing this year for West Nile has not detected any positive findings in either mosquitoes or dead birds, however, positive findings tend to pick up in June, he cautioned.

“We have the right types of birds and mosquitoes that will keep West Nile here forever, probably,” Goodman surmised.

It only takes a small amount of water to attract a female mosquito. Flowerpots, bowls, cups, fountains, tires, barrels, vases and any other container holding water are all potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

A mosquito matures from larva to an adult in 7-10 days. On average, Goodman said an adult mosquito will live 1 month and only female mosquitoes bite. Male mosquitoes feed on flower nectar, but female mosquitoes feed on humans and animals for blood to produce eggs. Since males don’t bite, they don’t transmit disease.

Aside from recommending that people dump any standing water they see, Goodman said the mosquito district is trying to apply a sterile insect technique to help combat the spread of the invasive species. The technique essentially involves sterilizing male mosquitoes, which do not bite, and then releasing those mosquitoes into a local neighborhood. Those male mosquitoes mate with female mosquitoes and then, because of the sterilization, the resulting eggs will not hatch.

The public is encouraged to report day biting mosquitoes, drain all water on their property, discard unwanted items that can collect water and scrub containers that are not in use.

To prevent mosquito bites, the District recommends use of an effective repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or lemon and eucalyptus oils when outdoors.

DEET repellent wipes and informational brochures are available free of charge from the District.

For additional treatment information or requesting a free home inspection, visit the District’s website at: or call 800-429-1022.

*Edward Booth contributed to this article.

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