Container-breeding mosquito presence continues expanding across Winters

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The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District reported that the number of invasive mosquitos being found in Winters yards has continued to increase each week this year. An adult female Aedes aegypti mosquito was originally found in a trap placed near East and Main streets in September 2019. The invasive container-breeding mosquito is an aggressive species that prefers to bite people during the day and has the potential to transmit serious diseases including Zika, dengue and chikungunya. Since it’s discovery in Yolo County, Winters continues to host the largest Aedes aegypti infestation. Luz Maria Robles, Public Information Officer for the District, said they are sending an Aedes Team that is dedicated specifically to provide education, surveillance and control efforts for the Aedes aegypti mosquito here in town. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is different from regular mosquito species in both behavior and looks. Compared to most mosquito species, these mosquitos are a small dark mosquito and have a violin shape on their thorax. They also lay individual eggs along the waterline on the sites of containers, have a shorter flight range, and bite during the day. Robles said to the average eye their eggs may look like clumps of dirt, but the Aedes Team members are able to identify eggs and larvae upon inspection. This year the Aedes aegypti was discovered earlier in May compared to last year when they were first detected in September. District field technicians are upping their efforts in town and are continuing to go door-to-door to perform an inspection for potential breeding sources and to look for both larvae and adult mosquitoes. “We’re constantly looking because we’re trying to have a proactive surveillance program,” Robles said. “We’re trying to find these mosquitos before people are being too bothered by them.” She said the teams are meeting some resistance to yard inspections and she wants to let the community know that they’re not looking for anything else besides mosquito breeding sources and mosquitos. Robles said they’re also providing education and resources for residents to reduce the mosquito presence in their area. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to get the mosquito situation under control,” Robles said. We’re there to control the mosquitos. We’re there to provide  service. We’re there to help the residents. The more we can collaborate with home owners the better off we will be.” Plant sharing discouraged Robles said it’s very important that people do note not share potted plants or transport containers from one backyard to another, or even out of Winters because the containers may have eggs glued to them. She said the primary way they are spreading through town is through the sharing and transportation of containers from one yard to another. “They (mosquitos) are spreading because of our behavior,” Robles said. “It’s imperative that we do everything we can to make sure it’s a community effort. This mosquito can readily live both indoors and outdoors.” Robles said in 2011 the origin of entrance of the Aedes aegypti was traced back to a shipment of lucky bamboo plants. The individual mosquito eggs are resistant to drying out and can survive for months on the side of a container to be revived once they are exposed to water again. Robles said these mosquitos can breed in as little water as a partially-filled bottle cap laying out in a yard. Robles suggest scrubbing down container edges and sides, bird baths and plant saucers once a week with water and a firm brush using soap or a vinegar-water solution. “With this mosquito it’s not enough to just dump out the water,” Robles said. “It’s important to scrub down the containers and bird baths to eliminate those eggs.” Other recommendations include: Redirecting sprinkler heads so containers don’t get filled with water. Covering outside containers with a fitted lid. Removing old tires or miscellaneous containers from yards. Empty out bird baths or fountains once a week or every three days and scrubbing them down. Keep potential sources dry when they’re not being dry; including tarps, plastic pool, and outside toys. Inspections and repellant The Aedes Team is coming out to Winters to do more treatments this year. “We’re targeting the immature mosquitos in those small cryptic sources, and targeting adult mosquitos that might be flying in the area,” Robles said. Larviciding treatments work to target immature mosquito larvae and pupae, before they are given an opportunity to develop into an adult mosquito. This type of spraying treatment usually happens in the early morning hours between 2-6 a.m. Winters residents can sign up to receive notifications for the treatments in their area online at https://www.fightthebite.net/services/spray-notifications/. When signing up, residents are able to specify which types of spray treatments they would like notifications on. Residents who come home to find a door hanger on their door are encouraged to call the District to schedule an inspection of their yard at a more convenient time. Robles said they are keeping track of who they have and haven’t been able to communicate with. Local businesses who host outdoor dining or are primarily an outdoor venue are able to contact the District for repellent wipes to offer to patrons. “We have a free repellent available,” Robles said. “We will send your business the free repellent.” Robles said visitors can pick up repellent wipes at both the Winters Chamber of Commerce and City Hall. Businesses and residents can reach out to the District at info@fightthebite.net to schedule a treatment of their yard to or to request the free repellent. The District encourages residents to reach out with any questions. They are also encouraged to immediately report any bites that occur in the daytime by calling 1-800-429-1022. If a resident notices mosquitoes in their yard they can request a free service inspection and treatment online at www.FIGHTtheBITE.net.

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