LANCASTER –The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (AVMVCD) reports that the number of mosquitoes caught in traps throughout the valley has increased since the recent thunderstorms. The rains created standing water in areas that had been dry for a long time. And though some of those areas have since dried up, others have gone unnoticed, creating the perfect mosquito habitat.
The District is reminding residents to check their property for any standing water. Officials say even a small amount of water on top of a plastic bag that might have blown into your yard can hold enough water for mosquito larvae to thrive. A swimming pool that has previously been dry also needs to be pumped out again.
A fly-over conducted earlier this year identified about 700 local swimming pools that appeared suspect for mosquito breeding, according to the AVMVCD. Technicians are currently inspecting those pools to make sure the owners either clean or drain them to avoid mosquito problems.
“So far this year we have not seen any West Nile Virus activity in the Antelope Valley,” said District Manager Cei Kratz. “Unfortunately we are not out of the woods yet. August and September are typically the months with the highest virus transmission.”
As of Aug. 7, the California Department of Public Health reported West Nile Virus activity from 37 counties in 362 dead birds, 1,333 mosquito samples, and 90 sentinel chickens, as well as 18 human cases with one fatality.
West Nile Virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Although most people that are infected do not show any symptoms, West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating disease. Even ‘mild’ cases of West Nile Fever can cause patients enormous pain and discomfort for months.
The AVMVCD recommends that everybody follow the “Three D’s of Mosquito Control”:
- Dump/drain all standing water.
- Remember that mosquitoes are most active at dusk/dawn.
- Defend against mosquitoes by use repellents (i.e., DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535), and dress in light-colored long sleeved clothes during mosquito activity.
More tips for keeping mosquitoes away and staying safe:
- Check your property for any standing water from sprinklers or thunder showers.
- Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away.
- Keep screen doors and windows in good repair and close them.
- Don’t use bug zappers near your patio – they attract more mosquitoes than they kill.
- Get free mosquito-eating fish (Gambusia affinis) for fish ponds, pools and horse troughs.
- Vaccinate your horses properly.
- Report stagnant pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD.
- Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
To stay up-to-date on new West Nile Virus activity in the Antelope Valley and any mosquito-related information, visit www.avmosquito.org or contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District by phone at 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.]