County health officials battle new invasive mosquito breeds

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SAN DIEGO — A trio of recent-arrivals in San Diego’s mosquito population pose a greater risk to public health than the average buzzing bloodsucker, county officials warn.

The non-native species moved into San Diego County in recent years. The most common of the new arrivals is Aedes aegyti, known as the “yellow fever mosquito.” Health officials say it is capable of spreading tropical diseases including yellow fever, dengue and Zika, though they stress there have been no known occurrences in San Diego.

The Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) and Aedes notoscriptus (Australian backyard mosquito) are also not native to San Diego. Since they set up shop in the county, they have been attacking residents with increasing frequency, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“They are not supposed to be here,” Chris Conlan, the supervising vector ecologist for the county, told the U-T. “But they’ve decided to call San Diego County home.”

The invasive mosquitoes are smaller and harder to see. They also don’t make the buzzing sound San Diegans might recognize from the approach of a run-of-the-mill mosquito, the newspaper reports. But the county says residents can make it easier to detract the bugs by remaining vigilant about removing any standing pools of water on their property.

Officials also take proactive measures of their own, performing routine larvicide drops over nearly 50 bodies of water around San Diego and surrounding cities. In a recent interview about the drops, Conlan assured FOX 5 that larvicide is not harmful to humans or pets.

County health officials say residents can help by reporting mosquito activity in their area. Locations of scheduled larvicide drops can be found here.

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