Asian tiger mosquitoes have been identified in the San Gabriel Valley. These blood sucking insects are native to Southeast Asia and have been responsible for recent outbreaks of dengue virus in Texas, Hawaii, and south Florida. Other viruses that can be transmitted by these insects include yellow fever and chikungunya.
Asian tiger mosquitoes were first identified in California in 2001 among shipments of "lucky bamboo" plants from Southeast Asia. They were believed to have been eradicated then and have not been documented in the San Gabriel Valley, until an El Monte woman recently noticed mosquitos were biting her during the middle of the day.
"If they sense any humans, or any mammal really, they'll just go for it," Kelly Middleton, a district spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times. Authorities worry that these insects could spread disease in Southern California if not wiped out.
The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District is working with the California Department of Public Health, Vector-Borne Disease Section, and the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District to evaluate the extent of the infestation.
“Our goal is to eradicate this population” said Kenn Fujioka, the district's assistant manager said in a statement. “We definitely do not want this mosquito to become established in our communities.”
Over two dozen pest control workers went door-to-door on Wednesday in a half-square-mile area of where the infestation site is located in South El Monte. They passed out information, inspected patios and yards for standing water, and set out black cups filled with water to see how far the mosquitos have spread. On Friday pesticides will be sprayed in the neighborhood around the infestation site. Residents in the area will receive a minimum of 24-hour notice prior to any operations.
Pictures of this mosquito and information about control measures can be found on the district's website at www.SGVmosquito.org. Residents are urged to call or use the “Report a Problem” link to report possible sightings. The district can also be reached at 626-814-9466.