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SCVNews.com | New Worry in L.A. County: Asian Tiger Mosquitoes | 09-16-2011
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Insect responsible for recent outbreaks of dengue virus in south Florida, Texas, and Hawaii
| Friday, Sep 16, 2011
[Greater L.A. County Vector Control District, Sept. 16, 2011]

One week after the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) was confirmed in a city from a neighboring vector control district, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has uncovered an infestation within its own borders in the City of South El Monte.

District vector ecologists positively identified this aggressive, day-biting mosquito in the 2000 block of Santa Anita Avenue.  This is less than a mile from the area in the City of El Monte where the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District first found this non-native invader. The species has not been seen in Los Angeles County since 2001 when it was accidently imported in shipments of “Lucky Bamboo” (Dracena spp.) plants from Southeast Asia. Fortunately at the time, local vector control agencies were able to successfully contain and eradicate the species from the region.

“This day-biting and disease-spreading mosquito would significantly impact everyone’s way of life if it were to establish itself here in Los Angeles,” says Director of Operations Mark Daniel.  “We are urging residents to help us stop the spread of the species by immediately eliminating any potential breeding sources around their homes and to alert the District if they find possible Asian tiger mosquitoes in their neighborhoods.”

District staff members are working diligently to assess the extent of the infestation and are taking aggressive control measures to prevent the further spread of this species.  Efforts will include source reduction, larval control, and pesticide treatments above ground and in the underground storm drains to target adult mosquitoes.

The Asian tiger mosquito can be identified by its unique size, color, and feeding habits. The mosquito is approximately ¼ inch long and has distinctive black and white bands across its body and legs. Unlike mosquitoes native to Southern California, the Asian tiger mosquito is an aggressive day-biter.  While they may be active around dusk and dawn, they tend to bite and feed during the daytime.

This mosquito species will lay individual eggs next to the surface of standing water sources.  Asian tiger mosquitoes are considered to be container breeders, laying eggs in places such as old tires, flower pots and buckets.  Natural containers such as tree holes and flowering plants may also be used as breeding sources.  Their eggs will hatch in warm temperatures once they are completely covered in water.  Deposited eggs have the ability to hatch after many years given the right circumstances.  For this reason, residents are encouraged to both eliminate standing water and thoroughly clean out containers to ensure that no eggs are left to hatch in the future.

The Asian tiger mosquito is native to Southeast Asia and was first found in the U.S. in 1985. Since then, it has gained a foothold throughout the southeast and eastern U.S. This mosquito is an extremely competent vector of many debilitating diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and several other encephalitis viruses.  It is responsible for recent outbreaks of dengue virus in south Florida, Texas, and Hawaii.

For more information about the Asian tiger mosquito, to submit a service request, or to report possible sightings, please contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562)944-9656 or visit the website at www.glacvcd.org.

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