By Susan Motander
At the beginning of its meeting on Oct. 2, the Monrovia City Council celebrated the birthday of Councilmember Gloria Crudgington. While the council member was blowing out the candles on her cake (almost unsuccessfully), a 5-foot-4 aedes mosquito with eyelashes that would make Dolly Parton jealous buzzed into the meeting.
It was actually Mayor Pro Tem Becky Shevlin wearing a black and white striped costume depicting this threat to health. For several years we have heard of the Asian tiger mosquito (AKA aedes albopictus). There are two other aedes (pronounced like the decade of the eighties) mosquitoes that have all invaded Southern California according to Levy Sun of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. Shevlin is Monrovia’s representative to that group.
Sun made a serious presentation on the problem to the council while the giant skeeter danced around the front of the room. He pointed out that the aedes mosquitoes have been known to spread dengue, chikungunya and zika all over the world. These mosquitoes are now in Southern California.
Unfortunately, according to Sun, the mosquitoes need only the smallest amount of standing water to lay their eggs; even a small bottle cap filled with water is enough. Also, they prefer to live close to humans. Through their bites these critical diseases can be spread. Sun warned that it was necessary to be vigilant and urged residents to walk their property at least weekly to search for possible breeding locations.
The vector control board suggests that standing water found should be classified in three groups: those that can be thrown out, those that can be scrubbed down and stored in a dry place, and those permanent fixtures such as fountains or ponds that should be inspected regularly. This should also be done after every rain.
The board has also made available a “Cheat Sheet: Insect Repellents That Work.” The sheet provides a summary of the four major repellents groups that work against mosquitos and ticks. There are DEET based repellents that can work up to 10 hours (with a 100 percent formula), but are not recommended for children under two months.
For those who cannot or will not use DEET there is picaridin. It too can last up to 10 hours with a 20 percent formula. Oil of eucalyptus is a natural plant-based repellent and can last up to five hours. IR3535 repellents are also available and can last up to eight hours. As always follow the label instructions when applying any repellent.
At the conclusion of Sun’s presentation, Mayor Tom Adams asked Police Chief Alan Sanvictores to escort the insect from the room. He gallantly offered the skeeter his arm.