The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District alerted residents this week to a large spike in the number of invasive Aedes mosquitoes.
Officials reported a 330% increase in the mosquito population across Orange County this year, with the largest numbers found in Santa Ana neighborhoods.
The mosquitoes are capable of transmitting dengue fever, chikungunya virus, yellow fever and Zika, the district said. Though the viruses aren't transmitted locally, someone infected abroad who gets bitten in Orange County could be affected.
The mosquitoes were also reported in Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Westminster, Brea and Irvine. District officials said they are going door-to-door to inspect homes and eliminate standing water, where mosquitoes breed.
Female mosquitoes need just a teaspoon of standing water to lay eggs, which can survive without water for six months or more.
Officials warned residents to take the following precautions to tackle mosquito breeding and prevent getting bitten:
- Empty containers filled with water once a week;
- Clean and scrub bird baths and water bowls of pets weekly;
- Dump water from potted plant saucers;
- Don’t move plant stems rooted in water;
- Wear pants and long sleeves outdoors;
- Apply mosquito repellent.
Residents can report unusual numbers of mosquitoes to the district by calling (714) 971-2421 or (949) 654-2421.