By Allison Bray, Environmental Health Specialist, County of San Diego Vector Control
June 11, 2018 (San Diego) -- Mosquito season is here once again; are you ready? San Diego is home to mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus, as well as to a recent invader, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
Aedes aegypti is non-native and has been spreading throughout San Diego County since at least 2015. It can transmit viruses that cause serious diseases including dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Fortunately, there have been no locally-acquired mosquito-transmitted cases of these diseases in the county. Two other invasive Aedes mosquitoes have also been detected in the county, Aedes albopictus and Aedes notoscriptus; collectively, all three are called “invasive Aedes.”
They are black with white stripes on their legs and back. In contrast to other mosquito species, these mosquitoes aggressively bite during the day both indoors and outdoors. In addition, they will lay eggs in any small standing water source, even something as small as a bottle cap.
Luckily, there are easy ways to help keep your family and your neighborhood safe from these mosquitoes: Prevent mosquito breeding at your home, Protect yourself from mosquito bites, and Report green pools.
Prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your home by dumping out standing water and removing things that can collect water. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in as little as one-half inch of water so practically anything can collect this amount of water, if given the chance!
To prevent standing water from collecting at home, store buckets, storage containers, children’s toys, and wheelbarrows inside or covered so that they do not collect water. Dump out anything that holds water once a week, including birdbaths, flower vases, pet bowls, and even the saucers under potted plants. Use a hose to regularly flush out the water that collects in bromeliad plants.
Make sure drains and rain gutters are unclogged, and repair any irrigation leaks to prevent puddles. Keep pools and fountains clean and circulating, and place tight mesh screen on rain barrel openings. Add mosquito fish (free from the San Diego County Vector Control Program) to ponds or unmaintained pools. Apply a bacterial larvicide, such as Mosquito Dunks, to any breeding site that can’t be fully drained.
Pick up any trash around your yard; old tires and even bottles and cans can collect enough water to breed mosquitoes. After you eliminate mosquito breeding in your own yard, encourage your neighbors to do the same to become a mosquito-free neighborhood. The power to prevent mosquito breeding is in your hands!
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by wearing mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus when going outside. Wearing long sleeve shirts, pants, and socks and shoes can also keep mosquitoes from biting you. To stop mosquitoes from entering your home place screens on all windows and doors, and make sure that the screens are free of gaps or holes that mosquitoes could enter through.
Report mosquito breeding sources such as green pools, as well as high mosquito activity to the County Vector Control Program. Reports can be made online, by phone, mail, or email, and in person.
For more information on the Vector Control Program and how to be an active partner in the ongoing efforts to stop the spread of the invasive Aedes mosquitoes in San Diego County, visit www.SDFightTheBite.com or contact the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888.