Flying around inside a container at the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District is a breed of mosquitoes infesting parts of the county.
But they’re not your average mosquitoes, these bugs can carry the Zika virus and other harmful diseases including dengue and chikungunya.
“They look different from our local mosquitoes, which are primarily a little brown, these things are black and white with stripes on them,” Robert Cummings with the vector control district said.
Nicknamed – Zebra mosquitoes – the bugs are aggressive even during daytime hours, according to vector control.
“They’re very persistent biters and they can now raise the risk of people getting these other particular diseases,” Cummings said.
Nine Orange County cities are affected including Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Orange, Santa Ana and Lake Forest.
While none of the mosquitoes have tested positive for the Zika virus, vector control is diligently collecting samples in its lab from all affected areas.
Crews are also going from backyard to backyard looking for mosquito breeding in standing water.
“Before it was just a regular mosquito,” Garden Grove resident, Patrick Hernandez, said. “Now you have to worry about it and that’s kind of amazing.”
Vector control first discovered the mosquitoes in Mission Viejo in mid-October of 2015, but the problem isn’t going away even with the colder winter months.
To protect themselves, neighbors must dump standing water with mosquito larvae and get rid of plastic plant pots.
“If we can reduce the amount of mosquito production or eliminate the amount of mosquito production in backyards, we won’t have this threat,” Cummings said.