Invasive Mosquitoes Up 330 Percent In Orange County

SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A 330 percent increase in the number of mosquitoes has Orange County officials calling for homeowners to eliminate standing water near their homes.

The increase in yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes was found in Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Santa Ana, and nearby areas.

Neither of the mosquitoes are native to Orange County and are capable of transmitting debilitating viruses, including dengue, yellow fever, and Zika.

In the past, officials have sounded the alarms about residents not clearing out swimming pools, but the danger of the yellow fever mosquito is that it can breed in nearly unseen amounts of water, according to Mary-Joy Coburn of the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

“These mosquitoes are backyard-breeding mosquitoes who can breed in very small items we find in backyards, like saucers and potted plants or even a discarded potato chip bag” with condensation on it, Coburn said.

Residents are advised to dump water out of pet dishes regularly and scrub them to rid them of possible eggs. Another tip is to drill a tiny hole in small containers so the water eventually leaks out and cannot provide the standing water needed for mosquito breeding, she said.

Also, when discarding pet bowls and other small containers of that kind, residents are encouraged to break them or destroy them so someone who digs through trash for items to re-use cannot get them, Coburn said.

Residents are advised to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts outside to help prevent mosquito bites, along with insect repellant containing DEET.

Fixing broken screens is also a must, Coburn said.

The county reported 33 cases of the Zika virus last year and six so far this year, Coburn said. The district did not have statistics on yellow fever.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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