The bloodsuckers are back: Local officials warn of mosquito, tick activity

From Los Altos Town Crier
June 6, 2018

Recent temperature fluctuations notwithstanding, warm weather has returned to the Bay Area, and with it comes the annual onslaught of disease carriers like mosquitoes and ticks, county officials warned last week.

Locally, May and June are considered the start of the active West Nile virus season, and Lyme disease peaks in ticks in July, according to Russell Parman, Santa Clara County Vector Control District assistant manager.

“As things heat up, most of the processes that go on inside the bug also run faster,” Parman said.


Culex tarsalis (Western encephalitis mosquito) and Culex pipiens (Northern house mosquito) are the two local mosquito species that transmit West Nile, a viral infection that can lead to flu-like symptoms and even death.

Vector Control has yet to trap any mosquitoes infected with the virus so far this season. Last year’s season marked the first time the agency did not detect West Nile-positive mosquitoes since 2004, when the virus appeared in Santa Clara County.

“We’re hoping for the same this year, but it’s not likely,” Parman said.

Officials also hope to keep Zika, the birth-defect-causing virus, at bay. Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito), the species capable of transmitting Zika, are not native to California and are not currently active in the Bay Area, but they have been in the past. Aedes aegypti was discovered in Menlo Park in 2013 and Aedes albopictus made an appearance in Mountain View in 2003, according to Vector Control.

Read more