For the second time in a week, County environmental health officials have found evidence of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, an aggressive, dayfeeding invasive mosquito that has the potential to carry serious diseases.
San Diego County vector control officials last week reported finding Aedes larvae this week in Escondido, after responding to a resident’s complaint. It’s the first detection of the insect in North County.
The previous week, officials said they found an adult mosquito in Chula Vista, near the same areas where the invasive mosquito was found for the first time locally in October.
County officials again urged people to check inside and outside their homes, apartments and properties and to empty out any standing water where these small, black-with-white-striped mosquitoes can breed.
“It’s very important that we get the public to help fight to keep this mosquito out of the county by eliminating standing water,” said County Environmental Health Director Elizabeth Pozzebon. “This includes inside your home. This mosquito will live and breed indoors.”
The diseases the Aedes mosquito is known for carrying are not native to San Diego County and are rarely seen here unless travelers contract them elsewhere and return home.
Despite that, environmental and public health officials are working to keep the Aedes mosquito — also known as the yellow fever mosquito — from establishing itself here because it can carry serious diseases including yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya virus.
County officials said they have not discovered how the mosquito had spread from South County to North County, but that it was likely transported by people in cars or material being moved. Officials said Aedes mosquitoes do not spread rapidly on their own.
The Aedes mosquito is fairly easy to identify. That’s because it differs from most native San Diego County mosquitoes in several important ways:
• It usually feeds during the day and is an aggressive biter. Most native mosquitoes prefer to feed between dusk and dawn.
• It likes to live in urban areas — feeding and laying eggs not only outside, but inside people’s homes in almost anything that can contain water, including plant saucers, cups and flowerpots.
• It is small and black with white stripes.