Walk Like An Aegypti
rned more about our mosquito problem and it's not great, my friends. The Aedes Aegypti, also known as the Yellow Fever Mosquito, is aggressive and has spread to 32 zip codes in the valley in the past six years. Apparently that small mosquito first turned up here back in 2017. I guess this year is just the first time I was aware of it.
What is different about this species is its choice of a food source. Its preferential food is people (hiss, boo), so it entrenches itself in communities according to Mr. Raman at the Southern Nevada Health District. Aedes Aegypti is an urban mosquito that bites during the daytime and is very aggressive.
SNHD says it's very difficult to control mosquitoes unless citizens are doing their part to manage the situation in their own backyards. We can do our part to help by making sure there is no standing water around our homes. I hadn't thought of it until I heard about standing water, but I have empty pots on the side of my house that had rainwater in them. I've made sure there are no upright containers for water to collect in.
This is the horrifying bit. Are you ready? The eggs don't die if they lose a water source before they hatch. Even though they dry out without any water, the next time water is present, it rehydrates the eggs and they can hatch with very little water, about a quarter inch is all that is necessary.
Fun facts (that are not so fun):
1. Mosquitos follow carbon dioxide. Since we exhale CO2 with every breath, the little meanies can find us wherever we go. Adults get bitten more than children because we exhale more CO2.
2. Substances in sweat such as lactic acid attract mosquitoes, so exercise can make us more of a target.
3. Pregnant women, because of their size and weight, exhale about 21% more CO2, making them findable to mosquitoes.
4. No one knows why, but drinking a bottle of beer makes you more attractive to mosquitoes.
5. People with type O blood are twice as likely to be bitten (ask my husband and daughters) than people with type A blood, while people with type B blood are in the middle.
According to the health district, in 2021, Aedes aegypti was found in 7 zip codes. In 2022, it was found in 12 zip codes, and in 2023, it has been identified in 32 zip codes. Where did they come from? Before being identified in the valley in 2017, the Aedes aegypti species was found in California, Arizona, and Mexico.
I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I don't like this one little bit. They may be here to stay, but at least we can help by making sure there is no standing water in our yards.