What’s Buggin’ you


Courtesy of University of Florida

The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the source of all the bites that are causing all Yorba Linda residents to itch.

Faith DeSio, Photojournalist

Have you noticed an increase in bug bites on your skin since summer 2020? The itchy, red welts that seem to appear out of thin air have begun plaguing our community over these past few months. These circular bite marks can appear by the dozens, and oftentimes swell up potentially becoming a bigger problem. So, just what is it that is causing these mysterious, annoying bites?

Beginning this summer when temperatures warmed up, Yorba Linda residents began complaining of numerous bug bites. It turns out that these itchy marks were created by the bites of two types of tiny mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, or also known as the “ankle-biters.” 

These small insects are known to bite the legs and feet of their victims, and unlike other mosquitos, they don’t just wait until dusk to emerge. In fact, Yorba Linda residents have reported being bitten at all hours of the day. Prior to this particular summer, most residents only reported having a problem with mosquitoes in the evening (NBC). 

The two types of insects responsible for these painful bites are both prevalent in Orange County this season. This means that Yorba Linda has been hit with both kinds of ankle-biters at the same time, leading to a huge increase in bites this summer. 

One student, Carlie Nelson (9), told us that “My legs just keep getting covered with bites and itch so bad!” This seemed to be the case among many students at YLHS and numerous Yorba Linda residents. 

Not only do these bites create an itchy reaction, but they can also be dangerous. Mosquitoes have been known to carry disease and infection. This is the case with one man in Orange County who passed away from a mosquito bite that infected him with the West Nile virus (NBC).

Experts say that eliminating standing water sources, such as ponds, pots, buckets, etc. can help reduce the ankle-biter population. Mosquitos lay eggs in standing water, and thus getting rid of their homes can help reduce their population (NBC). 

In addition to getting rid of mosquito habitats, the bug bites themselves can be treated. The most popular treatments for these nasty bites include ice and aloe vera applied directly to the wound (MEDICALNEWSTODAY). 

So, the next time you find yourself itching relentlessly at your legs, remember that these bites were most probably caused by the widespread ankle-biter mosquito. Try your best to avoid scratching, use ice, get rid of standing water, and hopefully, these little pests will go away soon!