A non-native species of mosquito, called Aedes Aegypti, has arrived in Santa Barbara. But are they here to stay? Let’s hope not.
Aedes Aegypti are known to transmit viruses such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya and even the virus that causes yellow fever. These viruses are not active in California.
Aedes Agypti are native to Africa but have been spotted in California since 2013.
“It’s something to pay attention to. If we ever get transmission in California, then it’d be more concerning,” said Brian Cabrera, general manager at the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County.
A resident in the Hope neighborhood, near the intersection of N. La Cumbre Rd. and Foothill Rd., noticed aggressive mosquitoes. He remembered a report of Aedes Aegypti in Ventura County and wanted to see if his mosquitoes matched the description.
He captured one and sent a picture of it to the MVMD. The department caught another mosquito on the resident’s property, and a test proved it was an Aedes Aegypti.
“If we can be very proactive about it and if the infestation is in a very limited area, there’s a small chance we can eradicate it,” Mr. Cabrera said.
He recommends residents drain stagnant water, both indoors and out, and scrub the containers. Aedes Aegypti larvae can develop in as little as a bottle cap full of water.
“Sometimes the places where they lay their eggs is not something we would think would collect water,” he said. “So people have to be diligent at looking for places where water can collect.”
He checks everything from his rain gutters to his plants.
Aedes Aegypti like to stay near humans and don’t spread as far as other types of mosquitoes.
They bite during the day and night and love nipping at ankles. Residents with many mosquitoes should contact the MVMD.
Mosquitoes do not spread COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization and a study published in July in Scientific Reports.