“Ankle Biter” Mosquito Species bites Orange County

Noelle Escalante, Staff Writer

In the midst of changing seasons, the aedes mosquito species, commonly known as ankle biters, are quickly spreading across all of Orange County’s cities. 

Ankle biters popped up during the later summer months in El Monte, slowly spreading south to Orange and San Diego County. This mosquito species can easily breed, with female biters laying their eggs in water sources of close proximity. 

“Recently, I’ve been attacked by the mosquitoes on my hand,” junior Coco Wu said. “They’re really itchy, so I’ve tried using home remedies like toothpaste to get rid of the burn.” 

The aedes mosquito is typically known for being a vector species, increasing and carrying the spread of viruses such as the Yellow and Zika fever. However, different variants of the mosquito, known as nuisance mosquitoes, can live without infecting others. 

Ankle biters are not expected to go away anytime soon, which was examined through the season change in September. The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District have outlined these mosquitoes as low-flying, hence the name. 

The mosquitoes have very different looks compared to typical brown household mosquitoes native to Orange County. Aedes mosquitoes are black traced with white stripes around their thorax and legs. Newer biters are very tiny to the naked eye, while adult biters can grow up to an inch in length. For scale, smaller ankle biters can easily slip through screen doors and cracked open windows.

“I’ve seen mosquitoes actively bite me,” junior Olga Crook said. “They look like little flies so I usually think nothing of them.” 

To prevent ankle biters from spreading further, here are some tips to keep the nuisance mosquitoes out of your space in the upcoming seasons: 

  1. Get rid of any open water sources: The aedes mosquito can easily breed in a cap full of water, so any sources of water such as sink and flower pots.
  2. Close any confined spaces: Small enclosed spaces such as drains, open trash bags and concaved trinkets help for ankle biter breeding grounds. Storing away small toys, closing trash cans and placing silicone mats over open drains will prevent mosquitoes from further infiltrating indoor spaces. 
  3. Close windows: Ankle biters, while predominantly active during the day, still continue to bite in the night and are harder to see. Closing windows prevents newer biters from flying in.