Mosquitoes, spiders and hottest rain

August 20, 2012

Time for Monday’s News Digest

West Nile-carrying mosquitoes are beginning to swarm. Conta Costa and Santa Clara Counties have begun fogging several cities with pyrethrin and are treating water in catch basins under sidewalk storm drains. The potential deadly disease is spread through mosquitoes, with birds as the incubator, before reaching humans. A Contra Costa official says she’s seeing four to five times as many infected mosquitoes this year. [Contra Costa Times]

In other mosquito news, a species of mosquito robust enough to get through your jeans is invading the Palo Alto Baylands. A 640-acre tidal basin has sprung a leak and fluctuating water levels are causing dormant larvae from the aggressive Aedes dorsalis to hatch. Efforts to mend the breach must be delicate, given the presence of endangered clapper rail and salt harvest mice. [San Jose Mercury News]

Amateur spelunkers in Oregon have  discovered a new species of spider, a rare event in entomological news. Dubbed Trogloraptor, Latin for “cave robber,” the reddish brown arachnid is about the size of a half dollar and belongs to one of the more primitive groups of true spiders. It’s the first time a new spider species has been named in North America since 1870. [Associated Press]

When the America’s Cup races begin this month, “sustainability” will be part of the games. The sailing regatta will be the first event in San Francisco to ban the sale of plastic water bags and bottles, the event’s carbon footprint will be measured, and local, sustainable food will feed the hungry masses. [San Francisco Examiner]

The world’s hottest rainfall on record — at 115 degrees F — was recorded in a Mojave Desert town last week. The California town of Needles beat the June 5 record from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when a small storm rolled into the area during a day when air temperatures had soared to 118 degrees. [Examiner]

About the Author

Alison Hawkes was a Bay Nature editor from 2011-2017. Before Bay Nature she worked in journalism for more than a decade as a former newspaper reporter turned radio producer turned web editor with each rendition bringing her closer to her dream of covering environmental issues. She co-founded Way Out West, a site dedicated to covering Bay Area environmental news.