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Have you seen these day-biting mosquitoes?

UC Davis online seminar spotlights research on these invasive mosquitoes

Tiger mosquito
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus is the focus
of a UC Davis online seminar Wednesday.
(Photos courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Two day-biting invasive mosquitoes are making themselves at home in California. And both species have the ability to transmit such deadly diseases as Zika virus and yellow fever.

Learn more during an informative and scholarly Zoom seminar at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21. Presented in coordination wth UC Davis, "The Impact of Zika Virus Infection on the Metabolites and Microbiome of Aedes albopictus ” will focus on the lesser-known of these bad bugs.

Mosquito researcher Maria Onyango from the New York State Department of Health will discuss her work on Aedes albopictus , also known as Asian tiger mosquito. Geoffrey Attardo of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will host the seminar. Attardo, a medical entomologist-geneticist, is a research collaborator with Onyango.

So far, the tiger mosquito has found its way into Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego counties in Southern California, but only Shasta County in Northern California, according to the California Department of Public Health. But it’s expected that it’s only a matter of time before it finds its way into the Central Valley.

Much more widespread is its close cousin, Aedes aegypti , the yellow fever mosquito. It’s been found in 22 counties including Sacramento, Placer, San Joaquin, Sutter and most recently Yolo.

Both mosquitoes have the ability to transmit Zika virus and yellow fever among other diseases. But first, they must bite someone carrying that disease. Fortunately, those tropical diseases remain rare in California.

Health officials warn residents to be on the lookout for these little monsters, only about 1/4-inch in size.

Aedes aegypti , the yellow fever mosquito, has been found in
Citrus Heights, Antelope, Roseville, Winters and Davis.

“Unlike most native mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus bite during the day,” says the state’s public health website. “Both species are small, black mosquitoes with white stripes on their back and on their legs. They can lay eggs in any small artificial or natural container that holds water.”

In fact, the eggs of Aedes aegypti can live without water, then hatch when they become wet. Adapted to living close to people, this mosquito will lay eggs in such places as the inner rim of a flower pot or the saucer under the pot. It particularly likes to bite ankles or behind people’s knees.

Locally, the yellow fever mosquito has been found in Citrus Heights, Antelope, Roseville, Winters and Davis. Native to Uganda, this mosquito was first found in California in 2013.

According to Allardo, the Citrus Heights mosquitoes actually may have come from two different populations – one that originated in Los Angeles County and one that started in the Central Valley.

That discovery adds another wrinkle to how this mosquito has migrated throughout California.

To sign up for the seminar or to learn more:


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Garden Checklist for week of June 16

Summer officially starts Thursday. The good news: No triple-digits – at least until next weekend.

* Warm weather brings rapid growth in the vegetable garden, with tomatoes and squash enjoying the heat. Deep-water, then feed with a balanced fertilizer. Bone meal or rock phosphate can spur the bloom cycle and help set fruit.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, melons, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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