'Ankle biter' mosquito breeding on the rise throughout Southern California

Jessica De Nova Image
Friday, August 6, 2021
'Ankle biter' mosquito breeding on the rise in SoCal
The summer heat is creating a breeding ground for "ankle biter" mosquitoes. The pesky insects aren't just breeding, they're biting as well.

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District is seeing a greater number of "ankle biter" mosquitoes this summer.

Lora Young, the director of communications for OCMVCD, said these pesky pests are mostly noticeable because they're the ones causing pain throughout Southern California.

"Especially with the Aedes mosquito. They're a very aggressive day-biting mosquito and they prefer to bite people where our other mosquitoes prefer to bite birds," Young said.

Young said numbers for the southern house mosquito - that's the one able to carry West Nile Virus - are trending about average when compared to the last five years.

So far, there are no reports of West Nile Virus in O.C. this season, but the L.A. County Department of Public Health reported its first human case last Tuesday.

RELATED: Invasive species of mosquito that transmits several diseases spotted in Ventura County

Health officials in Ventura County have detected an invasive mosquito capable of transmitting several viruses, like yellow fever and Zika.

The Aedes, or ankle biters, also known as container breeders, are breeding more than ever.

Young said it's because they're invasive.

Their entry into the U.S. was traced back to a shipping container in 2015, and because they're not native here, they really don't have any natural predators to control them. That combined with the heat is a recipe for breeding disaster.

"In this weather right now, with the heat they can turn from egg to adult in seven days," Young said.

To avoid getting bit, Young recommends an EPA-registered repellent with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus and eliminating water sources which they need to breed.

"We call them container breeders because they prefer to breed in small containers, yard drains, flower pot saucers, any plant holding water, like bromeliads, lucky bamboo - things like that," Young said.

Staff with the agency puts out more than a 100 traps a week throughout the county to track the number of mosquitoes and test them for diseases.

Anyone who feels there's an issue on their property can call vector control. They'll send out inspectors to take a look.