All mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle. These bodies of water are usually very well defined and rather small areas, such as retention basins, ditches and swimming pools. Even a bucket of water or a discarded water bottle can serve as mosquito breeding place and can produce hundreds of mosquitoes. Once they hatch out as adults, they fly up to a mile from their original habitat and occupy a much larger space. Therefore we target the mosquito larvae and pupae that live in the water in our control efforts.
Controlling the larvae and pupae is the most efficient way to reduce the number of mosquitoes, and sometimes it’s as easy as dumping out a bucket of water or clearing debris from the street gutter to make the water flow freely. When necessary, we use pesticides that are environmentally friendly and very target specific, so they will only affect mosquitoes. This is part of our Integrated Vector Management (IVM) program.
Our technicians are assigned to specific areas within the district. Standing water in street gutters, ditches and retention basins are checked weekly and treated when needed. If the water is in plain sight we already know about it and it is part of their regular route, so you don’t need to report it. If you are aware of water sources that are not easily seen such as un-maintained backyard pools or ponds, please contact us so we can check it out.
For more information on pesticides used in mosquito control check out the National Pesticide Information Center at: http://npic.orst.edu/pest/mosquito/mosqcides.html.
A Joint Statement on Mosquito Control in the United States from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is available at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/mosquitoes/mosquitojoint.htm.
Tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from mosquito-borne diseases:
- Check your property for stagnant water and make sure you are not creating a mosquito habitat. Fix sprinklers, dump or drain standing water once a week, keep pools maintained or drain them.
- Report unmaintained or vacant pools to us so we can kill the mosquitoes.
- Wear insect repellent if you are outdoors when mosquitoes are active. The CDC recommends using products containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR3535 (more information).
- Make sure window and door screens are in good shape and repair if needed to maintain a tight fit.
- Report dead birds to the State hotline at http://westnile.ca.gov/report.php