Summer is a favorite season for many. Its arrival means school vacations, longer sunny days, pool time and . . . mosquitoes. As temperatures heat up, both humans and mosquitoes alike become more active. Although small, these insects represent grave danger for the diseases they carry and spread, including the Zika and West Nile viruses.
Earlier this month, the California Department of Public Health issued a health alert urging Californians to remove standing water around the home to help prevent breeding and reduce mosquito populations. Warm temperatures and still water are the perfect combination for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to empty sources of standing water which include environmental ponds, concrete or plastic swimming pools, boats, troughs and other water collection containers such as buckets, tubs or rain barrels. In addition, residents are advised to clean and scrub bird baths and pet water dishes on a regular basis.
Santa Clara County is home to at least 19 species of mosquitoes capable of transmitting diseases such as West Nile virus. Although the county does not currently have the type of mosquitoes that can transmit dengue fever, Chikungunya and the Zika virus, these mosquito species have been found recently in neighboring counties. These mosquitoes are black-and-white striped and usually bite during the day. The California Department of Public Health also urges residents to report unusual numbers of mosquitoes or day-biting mosquitoes to the local vector control agency.
The Santa Clara County Vector Control District provides free services such as backyard inspections, treatment and educational presentations for interested groups. Also available from the Vector Control District free of charge, are mosquito fish for water sources that can’t be drained (such as pools). Mosquito fish eat mosquito larvae as fast as they hatch from the eggs.
Visit the SCC Vector Control District for more information on preventing the breeding of mosquitoes and implementing control measures.
For additional tips on bite prevention and mosquito safety, click here.