Ankle biters or Aedes mosquitoes are black and white, aggressive species. These insects can thrive in cities. Their fondness for biting ankles brought them the name ankle biters. But even if they like ankles, they can also bite any exposed part of your body. These mosquitoes are now swarming Southern California.
The Huge Deal
These mosquitoes target humans. The reason behind this is that humans live in areas with a steady water supply and stable temperatures. Female mosquitoes do not need to search for stagnant water anymore. After biting humans, all they need to do is go to the stagnant water in or around the house to lay their nourished eggs.
Ankle biters are effective and efficient in spreading many deadly arboviruses. Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever are some of the known diseases that plague humans until now. These mosquitoes were the main transmitters for outbreaks of Zika in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Florida, and Texas.
These mosquitoes can bite indoors. If you or a member of your family are getting bit while standing outside for a short while, even during the day, you have an infestation of ankle biters. You may even notice adult black and white mosquitoes almost as big as an eraser head, flying around and landing on your unprotected skin as well.
Keeping Ankle Biters Away
You can talk to your close neighbors about taking responsibility for their yards and homes. Keeping their properties clear of stagnant water and unused items that collect water. Maintaining the yard free of dead leaves can also help.
Using repellents can keep the ankle biters away. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks can also prevent bites. Turning on the fan or the air conditioning can prevent the ankle biters from flying freely and landing on you to bite. Studies show that mosquitoes cannot bite if they cannot land.
Checking your property every afternoon for any unused containers or tires is helpful in removing breeding areas. Once you see items collecting water, tip them over and throw them away. Tending to your yard can clear it of leaves that hold water as well.
How Aedes Mosquitoes Arrived
Back in 2011, scientists discovered a large number of Aedes albopictus in El Monte. These insects used standing water in watered plants, gardening pots, and planters around homes. Years later, Aedes notoscriptus and Aedes aegypti started appearing in LA.
The Problem in California
Many people are reporting about ankle biters infesting different areas of California. The infestation is because of many shipments of goods containing mosquito eggs. Moving people who carry containers and plants that carry these Aedes eggs.
These mosquitoes came from tropical countries. Now, they thrive in almost every country. Many people believe that ankle biters arrived in California at least a decade ago through cargo ships. It then spread through Greater San Diego, San Fernando Valley, and Inland Empire.
Unlike other mosquitoes that enjoy being near bodies of freshwater and warmer areas. Aedes mosquitoes like shady places. They can also breed even with a tiny amount of water. These species of skeeters are aggressive. They can even bite through clothing. Biting happens in quick succession and not just once.
Ankle biters are overwhelming Southern California. Additional protection must happen to keep these mosquitoes away. Communities must work together to control their population. This can then help prevent more deaths from mosquito-borne diseases.