LANCASTER – Recent rains and higher than normal temperatures in the Antelope Valley have resulted in an early start to the 2016 mosquito season, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (AVMVCD).
Technicians have been finding mosquito larvae and pupae in unkempt pools, ditches and basins all over the Antelope Valley in recent weeks, AVMVCD officials said.
“The unseasonably high temperatures that we’ve been experiencing combined with the recent rainfall [have] created the perfect scenario for mosquitoes to thrive,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “People need to make sure to clean their pools or keep them dry after each rainstorm to avoid mosquito breeding.”
Many residents let their pools go bad during the winter months to save time and money, according to Kratz, then mosquitoes use those pools as habitat for their offspring as soon as it warms up. One unmaintained pool can be home to thousands of mosquito larvae, Kratz said.
The California Department of Public Health has reported West Nile Virus activity in nine dead birds in four counties this year, compared to one dead bird at this time last year. The Antelope Valley in 2015 saw WNV activity in 26 chickens, two mosquito samples and four human cases with two fatalities.
West Nile Virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most infected people do not show any symptoms, but West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating disease. Even mild cases can cause patients enormous pain and discomfort for months.
District officials recommend the following tips to avoid getting mosquito bites and West Nile Virus infection:
- Check your property for any standing water from sprinklers or after rains, and dump or drain all standing water.
- Cover rainwater barrels with screens to keep mosquitoes out.
- Dress in light-colored, long-sleeved clothes during mosquito activity, which is most active at dusk and dawn.
- Defend against mosquitoes by use repellents (i.e., DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535).
- 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 dirty pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD at 661-942-2917.
- Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
For questions or services, or to stay up-to-date on WNV activity in the Antelope Valley, visit www.avmosquito.org or call 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.]