Los Angeles is typically known for its seemingly constant glitz and glamour, having many symbols that identify it. The Hollywood Sign, an Oscar, Erewhon, influencers, and so many more are often things one sees and thinks “that is LA.” This year, that list of symbols gains another one, the mosquito.
While the mosquito is nothing new in Los Angeles, it is far more present in the city this year than ever before. The reasoning? Rain like we have never seen before. Los Angeles has seen levels of rain, unlike any other year, even having a tropical storm hit the city. Rain and water are incredibly important to the life of mosquitos, as they lay their eggs in water. Because Los Angeles had so much rainfall, mosquitos had plenty of breeding grounds to lay eggs and reproduce.
Prior to Hurricane Sandy, the county was able to keep the levels of mosquitos at Bay.
The biggest issue is the quantity of water sources in the county right now. Typically, water sources are far more limited, but now there are often multiple water sources in each backyard. According to experts, it does not require a large amount of water for some breeds to reproduce, Aedes mosquitoes being one example. A tiny collection of water in a top-down bottle cap, or even the folds of a used, old chips bag is enough water for them to lay eggs.
The number of mosquitoes that the county is able to trap has been exponentially higher than years prior. The average number of Aedes mosquitoes trapped per night has been more than triple the average number in the last five years. The average number of Culex mosquitoes has been more than double.
Los Angeles County is not the only one affected in California.
Orange County has also been reporting record highs in the number of mosquitos in their cities. One week, Orange County reported numbers that were seven times higher than the five year average for Aedes mosquitos trapped in a night.
In earlier years, Culex mosquitos were the largest population in southern California. That was the case this year at first as well, and since they tend to die out earlier in the season, we were able to get the numbers under control. Culex typically are most prevalent in June and July, then begin to die out. However, we then had a tropical storm hit in August and the population reignited and Aedes began reproducing more.