CITY HALL - On the heels of news that two neighborhoods in the 13th Council District tested positive for Asian tiger mosquitoes, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell urged his constituents this week to take precautions around your home to prevent an infestation of the potentially harmful insects.
O'Farrell hosted a community meeting Monday evening at Friendship Auditorium to educate the public about the potential spread of the mosquitoes into the 13th District. Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVC) recently confirmed the existence of Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) in the Silver Lake and Elysian Valley neighborhoods. The tiger mosquitoes have the potential to transmit exotic diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, and are considered major nuisances since they readily bite during the day and can affect many activities.
“I want to make sure the City is taking the proper steps to maintain the health and public safety of all Angelenos,” said O’Farrell. “We want to keep the mosquito population under control, which will require every resident to check their property for standing water and other places the insects find attractive.”
In addition to hosting the community meeting, O’Farrell introduced a Council motion that directs the Bureau of Sanitation, Department of Building and Safety, City Planning, and other relevant departments to work with Los Angeles County vector control districts on best practices to deter an infestation.
“The Aedes mosquitoes are at their peak for the summer and once we have a cold spell or two, the adults will be gone for the winter,” said Kelly Middleton, GLACVCD Director of Community Affairs. “Unfortunately, they will return with warmer weather, which is why we want to remind people to clean up their yards and remove backyard sources that hold water.“
Middleton says that the mosquitoes were discovered in Vector Control traps, and staff is working with residents to inspect the exterior of homes in the area. One common thread found at each home is standing water, the use of rain barrels to capture water, or the utilization of sprinkler systems where the water is allowed to pool. The County is encouraging homeowners to take an inventory around the home and make sure there is no standing water. These mosquitoes lay eggs in containers with stagnant water, even in sources as small as a bottle cap.
“We are urging Angelenos to install rain barrels, drip irrigation systems and other water capture and conserving devices that will help during the statewide drought,” said David Pettijohn, LADWP Director of Water Resources. “However we also urge that all customers be mindful of the issues with standing water and mosquitoes. For your own safety, make sure that your rain barrels are fitted with properly installed screens and also check your drip irrigation system for leaks and ponding. The City is doing a great job embracing water conservation, but be sure to do it right with your health and safety in mind.”
For more information about all the invasive mosquitoes that are affecting the area: http://www.glacvcd.org/vector-information/mosquitoes/invasive-mosquitoes/
O'Farrell's motion was referred to both Health, Mental Health, and Education, and Energy and Environment Committees. O’Farrell is the vice-chair of the Health Committee, and a member of the Energy Committee.