A new species of mosquito going against the traditional modus operandi of attacking human flesh at dusk is tearing through Southern California, causing some residents to call it an “invasion.”
The Aedes mosquito, or “ankle biter” as it’s not-so-affectionately being called, will aggressively nip at skin multiple times in one sitting, and will come out in the middle of the day — atypical SoCal mosquito behavior — to suck your blood.
Aedes mosquitoes are also notorious for bites below the knee, specifically around the ankle, and will get their fill inside or outside of homes.
The Aedes mosquito leaving its mark (literally) on Southern California residents is causing officials to take preventative action.
“They are small and extremely aggressive. They will come out in the middle of the sun and attack you,” Roy Alfred said. “Once they get established, they pretty much don’t disappear.”
The aggressive blood-suckers, which officials believe arrived on a container ship from Asia, are slowly colonizing Southern California.
Robert Saviskas, the executive director of LA County West Vector Control, said while California already has a native mosquito population, ours are not like these new buzzing burdens.
“Native mosquitoes bite at night. These bite in the daytime. While native mosquitoes need a large body of water, these can breed in a small bottle-cap of water,” he said.
And unlike the local mosquitoes, the Aedes enjoy breeding indoors. They also lay larva just below the water line.
“Those eggs can last up to a year… and still be viable,” Saviskas said.
Vector officials have been trying to get the word out that the mosquito is more than just a nuisance.
“Mosquitoes can transmit debilitating diseases such as zika, dengue and yellow fever,” Saviskas said.
They advise to get rid of standing water — even keeping recyclables dry, since the Aedes mosquito can lay eggs in such a small amount of water.
“Saucers, indoor plants or outdoor plants. Any kind of little container, anything that you are raising, you are planting,” he said.
Vector control said they are no overloaded with requests for inspections of the arrivals from overseas, which they believe have become the “new normal.”
“Once they get established, they pretty much don’t disappear,” Saviskas said.
Vector control has planned to spray pesticide beginning Tuesday night through Saturday in Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Fullerton and Orange County, according to a Facebook post.
Treatment will begin in Huntington Beach at Bartlett Park on Tuesday and Wednesday night between 6:20 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Spraying in Orange County will begin on Thursday, Oct. 4, and Friday, Oct. 5 between 4:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.at Grijalva Park.
Anaheim will receive treatment on Oct. 4 and 5 between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. at Dad Miller Golf Course.
Fullerton will receive neighborhood treatment between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Oct. 4 and 5.
NBC4’s Conan Nolan contributed to this report.