Hurricane Hilary Blamed for Rise In Ankle Biter Mosquitos

by on September 18, 2023 · 0 comments

in California, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Paige Austin / Patch / Sept. 16, 2023

It’s been more than three weeks since Hurricane Hilary dumped record August rain on California, and the rare summer storm’s impact on the mosquito population is hitting home, literally.

The ankle biter population is soaring along with complaints from residents who are being bitten in their own homes. The invasive species is more aggressive than native mosquitoes, more likely to bite its victims over and over again, more likely to bite at all hours of the day and more likely to sneak indoors for a meal. …

An uninvited houseguest is plaguing homes up and down California. It’s the Aedes aegypti, better known as the ankle-biter mosquito, one of the most vicious little bloodsuckers to invade the Golden State.

“These ankle biters they follow us so closely and can come under your front door,” said Susanne Kluh, General Manager of Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. “As you walk in they just fly right in.”

They also bite their victims five or six times for one blood meal, leaving people with swollen, red and itchy bumps all over their feet and calves.
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“This is something that is a lot different for people. People say to me, ‘I’ve lived in San Diego for 20-odd years, and I have never had mosquito problems. So what is going on?’’ said Chris Conlan, Supervising Vector Ecologist for the County of San Diego Vector Control Program. “The behavior of these guys is definitely different than native mosquitoes that breed in the backyard.” …

For now, the best way for people to save themselves from pesky mosquito bites is to deprive them of their breeding grounds: stagnant water.

The Aedes don’t tend to travel far, so if people keep their yards clear of stagnant water and help their neighbors to do so, they can pretty much rid themselves of the ankle biters, according to the experts. Residents can also call their county vector control to come out and identify and treat the source for free.

Tips for protecting your home from mosquitos:

  • Walk your yard and look for breeding sites – namely anything that can hold a quarter inch of water.
  • Dump out any standing water and remove the source – plant saucers, dimpled tarps, buckets, trashcan lids, etc. If you don’t remove the source, check weekly for standing water to pour out.
  • Empty bird baths weekly.
  • Stock ponds with mosquitofish, apply larvicide or filter the water.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Rinse out pet water bowls weekly.
  • Empty the toilet bowl brush holder.
  • Flush unused toilets weekly.
  • Use mosquito repellent on clothes and exposed skin.
  • Wear long sleeves and light, loose-fitting clothes while outdoors.

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