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Local Pests Welcome a New Family Member

There’s a new pest in town and they will surely leave you with an irritated frown.
Melissa Caballero-Melissa
Mosquito bite being scratched by bite victim.

Mosquito species Aedes Aegypti is the latest mosquito to be introduced locally and they are completely unwelcome. They, along with their California-native friends the Culex mosquitoes, have overextended their stay and Californians have had enough.  

 As a result of a swift, imperceptible motion, the tectonic plates that are your skin, clash and result in the unearthing of a rather prominent mountain. This is a mountain of temptation, which begs you to soothe its insatiable itch. It is impossible to ignore much longer. Before you know it, you are left with the remnants of a volcanic explosion caused by a miniscule insect. You did not consent to this decorative spot on your skin, however, you are stuck with it as there are no consequences for these jail-time worthy actions.  

Mosquitoes have preyed on the innocent since the beginning of time. They carelessly select their victim based on futile preferences and suck their blood without remorse. By providing our blood, we are allowing female mosquitoes to live their healthiest five month lives. 

Worse yet, due to global warming, SoCal has had an unusually long warm and wet climate – a.k.a mosquito paradise. SoCal has been shamelessly providing shelter for the overpopulated pests these last few months. 

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The California Department of Public Health states that these “particular mosquitoes are invasive and have been found in cities throughout California (including the San Fernando Valley). There is potential for them to spread. Aedes Aegypti are known as the yellow fever mosquito and can lay eggs in any small, artificial, or natural container that holds water.” 

Nesting sites include stagnant bodies of water that range anywhere from a backyard with an unkempt pool to buckets of water.

Contrary to popular belief, only female mosquitoes bite. Meaning all those times you cursed that mosquito that branded you, you should have regarded it as a female.

 Both male and female mosquitoes rely on plant nectar and juice as a main food source. Females only rely on blood as a source of nutrients for egg production. When bitten by a mosquito, the proboscis (mouth) of the insect acts as a syringe where its 6 thin stylets (straw-like parts of the proboscis) pierce the skin, find blood vessels, and suck blood. Mosquitoes are attracted to the CO2 released by humans during respiration and most sweet smelling perfumes. Smell plays a very important role in their selection process.

As this blood is extracted, mosquitos then inject their protein containing saliva into the bite site. These proteins prevent blood clotting and cause the human body to respond with an allergic reaction that is notoriously itchy and is referred to as a mosquito bite. Histamine released by the body’s immune system makes the area itch and swell. 

This description alone is enough to elicit feelings of disgust and repulsion. JFK Medical Magnet senior Seth Ceballos proclaimed, “I hope their needles devolve. I hate them. My house has had a lot of mosquitoes this summer even without warm or humid conditions/areas.”

We must put an end to the growing population and refrain from making our blood so accessible to these blood suckers. Considering this surplus in mosquitoes, it is important to find solutions that are more than just temporary. For instance, moist areas can be reduced in/near homes to prevent nesting; however, to actually reduce the mosquito population, issues with global warming caused by humans need to be touched upon. This will likely continue to be an

issue as the climate gets warmer. 

In addition, it is equally important to take preventative measures to avoid getting any excess mosquito bites. This means wearing long sleeves when the weather permits it, staying in places with air conditioning and window screens, and using bug spray when handy. It is time to put an end to the growing mosquito population and enjoy our future summers bite free.

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