The San Gabriel Valley is host to a potentially dangerous new pest. Public vector control officials are trying to eradicate a newfound Asian mosquito in El Monte. The insect is known to transmit deadly diseases.
The Asian tiger mosquito is linked to the first continental United States outbreak of dengue fever since the 1940s in Texas and Florida. Researchers say it also transmits the usually fatal yellow fever and viruses that cause encephalitis.
The Asian tiger mosquito hasn’t been spotted in California since a decade ago, when the importers of “Lucky Bamboo” plants accidentally transported it here.
Ken Fujioka says it’s not hard to spot this mosquito. "It bites during the day," Fujioka says. "It is a small black mosquito with very distinctive white bands on it. It is a very quick flier. It is an aggressive biter. So if anyone is being bitten by a black striped mosquito during the day, they should call our district. We will get out there as soon as we can."
Fujioka, who works with a public mosquito control agency, says Southern California eradicated the pest from Southeast Asia a decade ago and L.A. County officials are confident they can remove it from the region again.
Crews are going door-to-door near where the insect was found. They’re scheduled to apply pesticide late this week.
The mosquito breeds in small pools of water — even in asphalt crevices. So officials are asking people in the San Gabriel Valley to store buckets and other containers upside down.