The yellow fever mosquito, also known as an “ankle biter” | Credit: Courtesy

Invasive yellow-fever mosquitoes, also known as “ankle biters” for their habit of biting around the ankles, have been detected in Santa Barbara for the first time, the county’s Mosquito and Vector Management District announced this week. 

Suspect specimens collected from a residence near the intersection of North La Cumbre and Foothill roads were confirmed as Aedes aegypti at the district’s laboratory, and county staff are now setting up traps, conducting property inspections, and passing out informational brochures in the surrounding Hope neighborhood, a spokesperson said.

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Aedes aegypti is native to Africa but has spread throughout many regions of the world. It was first detected in California in 2013 and has since been found throughout southern California and the Central Valley. The mosquito can transmit viruses such as Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya, as well as the virus that causes yellow fever, but these diseases are not locally transmitted in California, the district said. The species can be extremely bothersome, however, biting both during the day and at night and can be found both indoors and outdoors.

Like other mosquito species, yellow-fever mosquitos will lay their eggs in practically anything that contains stagnant water, including buckets, pots, tires, birdbaths, and even in water held by certain plants, like bromeliads.

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