Yel­low fever bugs caught in back­yard in­sect trap

Day-bit­ing mos­qui­toes breed around ur­ban res­i­den­tial ar­eas

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By MYLES BARKER mbarker@porter­villere­corder.com

A mos­quito trap in a back­yard in the north­ern edge of the City of Tu­lare caught what many hope to be the only cases of the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito, which is ca­pa­ble of trans­mit­ting sev­eral hu­man dis­eases such as the Zika Virus.

The mos­quito is also ca­pa­ble of trans­mit­ting other hu­man dis­eases such as dengue, chikun­gunya and yel­low fever, said John Avila, the gen­eral man­ager for the Tu­lare Mos­quito Abate­ment Dis­trict. Porter­ville does not have a mos­quito abate­ment dis­trict.

Avila said that back­yard trap caught a to­tal of four Aedes Ae­gypti mos­qui­toes — two males and two fe­males. He said the mos­qui­toes were de­tected on Thurs­day, Sept. 21.

Although the mos­qui­toes can trans­mit a num­ber of deadly hu­man dis­eases, Avila said they don’t in­her­ently carry the viruses, but in­stead take them from per­son to per­son.

“You have to have peo­ple with dengue, chikun­gunya, yel­low fever and Zika, you have to have cases of that here for it to spread be­cause it takes it from one per­son to an­other,” he said.

For­tu­nately, Avila said there’s no one around with any of those viruses in Tu­lare County.

Even though there is no need to panic, Avila said there is a need for con­cern, es­pe­cially when county res­i­dents travel to dif­fer­ent coun­tries such as Mex­ico where chikun­gunya and dengue are very preva­lent.

“There’s hun­dreds and hun­dreds of cases, and there’s a lot of cases of Zika too,” Avila said.

As far as in Cal­i­for­nia,

Avila said since 2013 the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito has been de­tected in 13 coun­ties such as in Madera County, Merced County, Fresno County and Kern County.

“Ba­si­cally they are ev­ery­where from San Diego to Merced County,” Avila said.

He said the far­thest north the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito has been found was in San Ma­teo County.

“That was three years ago, but they only found one, they never found any more even though they are look­ing for them,” Avila said.

Avila said the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito was first de­tected in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, specif­i­cally in Los An­ge­les County and some of the out­lin­ing ar­eas in the In­land Em­pire, since about 2011.

“Pretty soon these mos­qui­toes are go­ing to be ev­ery­where,” Avila said.

In terms of how the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito ar­rived in Tu­lare County, Avila said there’s no telling ex­actly how it got here, but he has ideas.

Be­cause the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito lays its eggs just above the wa­ter sur­face in small con­tain­ers such as flower pots and pet bowls, Avila be­lieves some­one might have brought a small con­tainer from South­ern Cal­i­for­nia to Tu­lare County not

know­ing the con­tainer con­tained Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito eggs.

“And then some­body stuck wa­ter in it, and as soon as wa­ter reaches those eggs the clock starts run­ning and they can de­velop in less than a week,” Avila said of how he thinks the mos­qui­toes ar­rived in the county.

He added that the mos­qui­toes could also have hitch­hiked to Tu­lare County.

“There is re­ally no telling how it got here, but the bet­ter ques­tion is why, and that is be­cause of the tem­per­a­tures,” Avila said.

He noted that as the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­qui­toes, which are known to be trop­i­cal mos­qui­toes, make their way north, they con­tinue to adapt to di­verse tem­per­a­tures.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing day-bit­ing mos­qui­toes, Avila said res­i­dents should also be aware that the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito breeds around homes in ur­ban res­i­den­tial ar­eas, not around farm­land or around big ar­eas of wa­ter such as pond­ing basins or swim­ming pools.

“It is prob­a­bly in their [res­i­dents’] back­yard and they don’t even know it,” Avila said.

How­ever, Tu­lare and Visalia res­i­dents will per­haps have a bet­ter chance of know­ing if the Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito is in their back­yards due to those cities hav­ing mos­quito abate­ment dis­tricts.

Porter­ville City Man­ager

John Lol­lis said the an­swer as to why Porter­ville doesn’t have a mos­quito abate­ment dis­trict is sim­ply be­cause the res­i­dents don’t want one.

“There was a sur­vey that was done ask­ing whether or not a mos­quito abate­ment dis­trict should be set up in the Porter­ville-lind­say area and the sur­vey re­sults were not fa­vor­able,” Lol­lis said.

Nev­er­the­less, Lol­lis noted that the city does do main­te­nance to city fa­cil­i­ties, the most com­mon be­ing the city’s storm drain basins.

“We drain wa­ter both for recharge and dur­ing the rain sea­sons, and we will spray for mos­qui­toes in those basins, which are the most usual ac­cu­mu­la­tions of wa­ter in the com­mu­nity,” Lol­lis said.

Lol­lis said there are nu­mer­ous other ar­eas in town where wa­ter also ac­cu­mu­lates. If such wa­ter re­mains stag­nant for a while, he said the city will spray those ar­eas as well.

“That’s within the pub­lic right of way,” Lol­lis added. “We don’t do any pri­vate abate­ment.”

Michael Ca­marena, the city ser­vices di­rec­tor for the City of Lind­say, said Lind­say faces a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

Ca­marena said many years ago the Lind­say City Coun­cil re­ceived a pre­sen­ta­tion on cre­at­ing a mos­quito abate­ment dis­trict, a pro­posal he said the coun­cil voted against.

Ca­marena said although the cur­rent coun­cil is well aware of the county’s mos­quito prob­lems, he said cur­rently they have not been pur­su­ing any sort of mos­quito dis­trict.

“Un­less some­body comes for­ward and makes the re­quest, and we haven’t had any re­quest from cit­i­zens for coun­cil to re­view that process,” Ca­marena said. “It is just one of those things that you can’t ex­pect the city to pro­vide. We have no stream of rev­enue to pro­vide that ser­vice.”

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