By Gig Connaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office
Image credit: CDC
November 15, 2016 (Spring Valley) - County Vector Control crews will hand-spray a neighborhood in Spring Valley this week to kill invasive Aedes mosquitoes to keep them from potentially spreading the Zika virus after mosquitoes were found near a person who contracted Zika traveling abroad.
County crews went door-to-door through the neighborhood Tuesday to notify people of the hand-spraying and to show them how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding inside and outside of their homes.
Vector Control crews plan to hand-spray in the neighborhood, weather permitting, on Thursday.
The area that will be hand-sprayed contains 49 residences on approximately 13 acres, bordered by San Bernardino Avenue to the west, Apple Street to the south, and just east of Sangamon Avenue to the east.
The neighborhood is the ninth that Vector Control has had to hand-spray this year to protect the public health.
Two invasive species of Aedes mosquitoes in San Diego County can transmit tropical diseases like the Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya if they first bite an infected person.
No invasive Aedes mosquitoes have tested positive for carrying any diseases in San Diego County to date.
County officials have continued to urge people to protect themselves from mosquitoes and take simple steps to prevent them from breeding in the first place — mainly by finding and dumping out any standing water inside and outside their homes.
Invasive Aedes mosquitoes are known as “urban” mosquitoes because they prefer to live and breed around people, in backyards and even inside homes. Invasive Aedes mosquitoes can breed in as little as a thimble-full of water, and females lay between 100 to 300 eggs at a time.
Invasive Aedes mosquitoes differ in a number of ways from San Diego County’s native culex mosquitoes, which can transmit West Nile virus if they first bite an infected bird or animal.
One big difference is their biting habits. Both invasive Aedes and native culex mosquitoes like to bite around dusk and dawn. But invasive Aedes mosquitoes also bite during daylight hours. Culex mosquitoes feed at night, not during daylight.
For a better look at the differences between invasive Aedes mosquitoes and native culex mosquitoes, see our “Tale of the Tape.”
Trained County technicians will use ultra-low-volume backpack sprayers to apply Pyrenone 25-5, a pesticide approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. The product is made from chrysanthemums, poses low risks to people and pets and dissipates in roughly 20 to 30 minutes. However, the County is instructing residents in spray areas that they can avoid or minimize their exposure to the pesticide by taking simple steps:
- Stay inside and bring pets indoors if possible
- Close doors and windows, and turn off fans that bring outdoor air inside the home
- Cover ornamental fishponds to avoid direct exposure
- Rinse fruits and vegetables from your garden with water before cooking or eating
- Wipe down or cover outdoor items such as toys and cover barbecue grills
- Beekeepers and those with insects kept outdoors are encouraged to shelter hives and habitats during treatments. Beekeepers are required to register their apiaries with the County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures to receive advance notice of when a pesticide that may affect bees is applied to blossoming plants in their areas.
- You may resume normal activities 30 minutes after the treatment
County officials reminded people to follow the County’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” guidelines.
Prevent mosquito breeding
Dump out or remove any item inside or outside of homes that can hold water, such as plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires, and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish, available for free by contacting the Vector Control Program, may be used to control mosquito breeding in backyard water sources such as unused swimming pools, ponds, fountains and horse troughs.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites
Protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses by wearing long sleeves and pants or use repellent when outdoors. Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured to keep insects out.
Report possible mosquito activity
Report if you are being bitten by mosquitoes during daylight hours, or if you find mosquitoes that match the description of Aedes mosquitoes by contacting the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888.
Information about the Zika virus, chikungunya, and dengue can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
For more information about mosquito-borne illnesses, go to San Diego County’s “Fight the Bite” website. You can also get more information about how the County works to trap and test invasive Aedes mosquitoes, and hear how the public can help prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the following videos.