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'Ankle-Biter' Mosquitoes Wreaking Havoc In Orange County, First West Nile Virus-Infected Mosquitoes Recorded This Year

FULLERTON (CBSLA) - The first batch of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in Orange County this year have been found in Fullerton, officials said Friday.

The samples were taken on Tuesday and the test results came back positive Thursday evening, said Heather Hyland, public information officer of the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Locals were concerned about an aggressive mosquito called the ankle-biter that was wreaking havoc and inflicting pain on residents this summer.

The pests prefer to bite humans as opposed to animals. Pools of standing water and stagnant puddles have been the perfect breeding ground for insects.

While they are not believed to be spreading diseases, they are causing pain for those bitten.

"Either you're dealing with the tiger mosquito or the Aedes mosquito so they're more active during the heat and summer times,"  said Carlos Rivera, a pest control employee. "And then typically we see an increase in population which causes an increase in calls."

Mosquitoes get infected from birds and then pass it on to humans. There have been no reported cases of people getting infected with the virus in Orange County this year, Hyland said.

Culex mosquitoes prefer bird blood, but if a person is nearby they will opt for that, Hyland said. So the volume of Culex mosquitoes depends on the bird population, she added.

"We encourage people to check their yards and if they can't find any water or any mosquito activity but they're still getting bit they can call us for a service request and we'll go out and inspect the area," Hyland said.

Residents are encouraged to use mosquito repellant with DEET, but if they want something without the chemical they can use lemon eucalyptus oil, which also repels mosquitoes, Hyland said.

A rotational fan is also handy because the mosquitoes are weak fliers, she said.

The Culex species is more attracted to marshy areas like wetlands in Huntington Beach, Hyland said.

The agency is combating them with drones or trucks spraying repellant, Hyland said.

To have the agency come out and inspect a property call 714-971-2421.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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