Mosquitoes Numbers on the Rise in Southern California

Mosquitoes Numbers on the Rise in Southern California

Entomologists have reported a 330 percent increase in mosquito numbers per acre, according to The OC Register, and Southern Californians are looking for solutions.

California is facing an invasion from a new type of mosquito, the Aedes aegypti. Even though this invasive mosquito’s numbers are fifteen times larger than they were twenty years ago, these bugs aren’t originally from California or even the US.

The New York Times says that this new type of mosquitoes was “introduced to the state through global trade”.  Abc7 also claims that the Aedes aegypti (Yellow fever mosquitoes) came from “…lucky bamboo plants from Taiwan… ” on “…a shipping container”. Yellow fever mosquitos can transfer viruses to humans, which can be very deadly to the species of humans as a whole.

According to The OC Register, “… the mosquitoes have been detected this year in Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Westminster, and for the first time in Brea and Irvine.” Though this state already has low humidity levels, hotter summers have attracted the Aedes aegypti, or more commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito, to invade.  

The native species of mosquitoes in the area, the Culex mosquito, are not as noticeable due to their feeding habits. The native Culex mosquito tends to emerge at night, preferring to feed on birds, but nonnative mosquitoes have adapted extremely well to life here. They hunt for blood during the daylight hours when people are most active, often going undetected after biting below waistlines,” as The New York Times reports.

While it’s possible to remove mosquitos from a house, office, etc., for a short time, it is almost impossible to eliminate them. Some ways to get rid of mosquitoes for a short period include DEET products, natural products like citronella, and removing all standing water where they can breed. To keep mosquitos away from the area, spray on mosquito repellent which most stores with an outdoors section will have in stock.

Since no one can ever truly evade the wrath of mosquitoes, it can be useful to know a couple of ways to calm the itching urge. Use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itch for a small time, or use some of the following home remedies.

 

  • Ice: Ice will numb the skin and will reduce inflammation. Ice can feel good at first, but leaving it on for more than 5 minutes will start to damage the skin. To prevent this, put a barrier of sorts (like a towel or rag) to stop the cold from seeping through.
  • Aloe vera: While commonly known as a sunburn treatment it can also be used to resolve other forms of inflammation including bug bites. When first applied, it might feel very cold but afterward will feel almost immediate relief.  Keep an aloe plant in the house or a bottle of the gel that is contained within the plant so it will always be on hand. Aloe has anti-inflammatory properties which are why it works so well on bug bites and sunburns.
  • Wash area: While this might seem to be very simple at first, sometimes simple plans are the best ones. If the bitten area is washed with soap and water it washes off any bacteria that could lead to an infection and will leave a temporary relief from the seemingly never-ending itch.

Although some mosquitoes are blood-thirsty insects and spread diseases, they are important to the ecosystem. Only females drink blood and they do so to get nutrients for their eggs. When the females aren’t hunting for the blood, they will join the males in the food search, and receive their nutrients through nectar, plant sap, and honeydew.

Mosquitoes are also an important food source for other animals, including fish, birds, bats, amphibians, arachnids, and reptiles. Getting rid of this species would disrupt the ecosystem of the world; instead, use things like mosquito repellent to prevent them from biting and let them find their more preferred meals of birds and other wildlife.