If it seems like there are more mosquitoes in the area these days, and that their numbers keep increasing, you’re right on both counts. And, ironically, in the San Gabriel Valley, there is really no mosquito season to speak of.
They’re just always here, says Levy Sun, Communications Director for the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito Vector Control District (SGVMVD), one of five vector control districts in Los Angeles County.
“I wish we still had a true mosquito season in Pasadena,” he said in a recent interview, “but now it’s mosquito weather that happens year round. So anytime the weather is warm enough, you’ll definitely have mosquito activity.”
Sun noted that even in December when temperatures may be in the 80s, mosquitoes will be active.
“It’s year round at this point,” he stressed.
What is interesting though, is that in the fall there tends to be more Aedes mosquito activity. That’s because Aedes mosquitoes, which arrived in great numbers in 2011, prefer to bite people, as opposed to animals.
So, Levy explained, as people come outdoors more often in the fall when the weather’s a little cooler, so do these mosquitoes since they follow our behavior.
The big question remains, however: Why do some get mosquito bites more than others? Sometimes a lot more?
“There have been quite a few studies that have focused on why some people get more bites than others,” said Levy. “There are studies that say that if you exercise and you’re breathing more heavily and you’re breathing out CO2 more regularly, you’re more likely to attract mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes tend to be attracted to darker colored clothing versus lighter colored clothing, he said.
“There’s even one study that cites that those who drink alcohol or beer may be more attractive to mosquitoes,” Levy continued. “The only thing about all these is that they target different species of mosquitoes. And there are actually more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes around the world.
“Much of these studies actually also focus on the malaria spreading mosquitoes, which are not commonly found at all in Pasadena, Levy continued. “In fact, that study that says that people that drink alcohol attract mosquitoes is based off of a study that studied malaria spreading mosquitoes in Africa.”
Thus, Levy pointed out, what may work for one species about how they like to bite people based on what people do could be completely different with a different species.
“At the end of the day, “ he said, “It’s better not to take the chance and just know that everyone is at risk of getting bites from mosquitoes and it’s best to use repellent whenever you’re outdoors. And for the residents who say they never get mosquito bites it may very well just be because they do get bites, but their bodies do not react to that bite. So there’s no allergic reaction to the mosquito bite, which is why they may feel like they don’t get bites at all. So that’s also a very high possibility.”
Levy concluded, “The big thing for people to remember is to continue buying and packing any mosquito repellent that you may have so that you can stay bite free from these Aedes mosquitoes come fall.”