Mosquitoes beginning to surface in Kern County
Last updated 5/6/2023 at 6:28pm | View PDF
Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press
Mosquito season is upon us as the weather warms, giving another season battling the newest pest in Kern County.
"We are starting to see some mosquito activity locally here in Kern County," Terry Knight, spokesman for the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District, said at a media event held recently at district headquarters.
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito, first found in Kern County in 2014, has become a permanent resident.
In 2018 these smaller mosquitoes - sometimes referred to as ankle-biters - had just six square miles of infected area. By 2019, its range had spread to 70 square miles.
"This mosquito is extremely aggressive," Knight said. "It is entirely an urban mosquito.
"She is very vicious in nature, and she prefers to feed on human beings."
One thing that is critical to know about this new biting pest is that it is not coming from large water sources, like green swimming pools, sumps, or curb water. It's coming from your neighborhood, your residential block, your yard.
"Very important to police your homes on a regular basis," Knight said. "Inspect your yard."
Their range is only about 300 yards, so these biters are coming from neighborhoods, unlike the more common Culex varieties, which can fly for miles.
Even the smallest item - a pet bowl, a bottle cap, a child's toy - that can hold water for seven days can become a breeding ground for Aedes Aegypti.
"They are small-container breeding mosquitoes," and can reproduce in as little as a teaspoon of water, Knight said.
The aedes aegypti, known in some areas of the world as the yellow fever mosquito, is more aggressive than the more common Culex tarsalis and Culex quinquefasciatus, and can bite a single victim six or seven times before it is satisfied.
And it's here to stay.
Products and strategies that target mosquitoes in the larval stage, before they can fly and feed on human blood, are more effective in the long run than foggers and yard sprays, Terry said.
As annoying and painful as the newer mosquitoes can be, they are not carrying any disease that has been detected in Kern County.
Knight said that residents need to police their yards and minimize the risk of having an invasion of the pests in their homes. He said it is critical to clean flower pots regularly with bleach and soapy water. It is also important to dry the pots afterwards, not leaving any moisture that can be inhabited by the unwanted guests. "They can live in a capful of water and lay thousands of eggs, making a very unpleasant season for residents," concluded Knight.