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Invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito found in Santa Barbara

Aedes Aegupti Mosquito in Ventura County

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - According to the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County, an invasive mosquito species previously spotted in Ventura County has been caught for the first time in Santa Barbara.

The non-native Aedes aegypti mosquito can be recognized by the white stripes found on its back and legs and is capable of spreading dangerous diseases including Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunyaand.

The CDC said the mosquito was recently caught by a resident in the Hope neighborhood of Santa Barbara, near the intersection of N. La Cumbre Road and Foothill Road.

The resident submitted pictures of the bug to the County's mosquito district who later confirmed it was from the invasive species.

Mosquito district staff are currently setting up additional traps in the area, are conducting property inspections and passing out informational brochures to the surrounding neighborhood.

The district said the Aedes aegypti is native to Africa but has spread throughout many regions of the world. This mosquito was first detected in California in 2013 and has since spread throughout southern California and the Central Valley.

The mosquito was most recently spotted and captured in various parts of Ventura County.

The Aedes mosquito bites during both day and night and has been dubbed the "ankle biter" by many locals due to their tendency to bite around that part of the body.

The district said Aedes aegypti prefer feeding on humans and often stay close to human dwellings.

The bugs lay their eggs in anything that contains stagnant water, including buckets, tires, birdbaths, containers of all kinds and plates under potted plants. In order to minimize their reproduction, residents are asked to look for, drain and dump out any containers with standing water near their homes. Even small containers should be carefully monitored as the mosquito's larvae can complete its development in the amount of water that would fill a bottle cap.

Fortunately, experts explain that, while these mosquitos can be pesky, the diseases they have been known to transmit are not commonly spread in California.

For now, residents can protect themselves from being bitten by using repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, closing open doors, and making sure their windows are fully-screened.

If you suspect you have been bitten by these mosquitos, you are encouraged to contact the Santa Barbara County mosquito district immediately through their website or by calling (805) 969-5050.

More information about the Aedes aegypti mosquito can be found on the CDC's website here.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.


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