From the threat of mosquito-borne diseases at the Summer Olympics in Rio to the first confirmed Zika virus transmissions in the United States, news about mosquitoes has left people with questions and concerns.
The Clark Man wants to help answer your questions about mosquitoes. What potential threats do they pose? What steps you can take to prevent mosquito bites as you enjoy the great outdoors this summer?
Q: Why are mosquitoes considered a dangerous pest?
A: Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases, including Zika, West Nile virus, malaria, dengue, and equine encephalitis (EEE). There have been no mosquito-transmitted cases of Zika in California.
Q: Where are mosquitoes found?
A: More than 50 species of mosquitoes are found in California, even in deserts and mountain meadows, and at elevations of 10,000 feet or higher. Many of these species are relatively uncommon, and seldom pose a threat to human health or well-being.
The California Department of Health recently revealed that two invasive mosquito species have been found in several California cities, and there is a potential for them to spread into other areas of the state. They are the Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and A. albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito). Unlike most native mosquito species, these two bite during the day.
Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a half-inch of standing water. This reinforces the importance of checking your property regularly for containers that could be collecting water and providing a place for mosquitoes to breed.
Q: Are mosquitoes more prevalent during a specific season?
A: Mosquitoes are considered one of summer’s most active pests, but they also can thrive in the fall and remain active as long as the temperature is above 60 degrees.
Tips to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites
- Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home – birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, children’s toys and sandboxes, baby pools, unopened swimming pools, tires, and other objects where water can collect
- Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any source of standing water that cannot be changed, dumped, or removed
- Screen windows, doors, and other openings with fine mesh (18x18 strands per inch or finer), sealing around all screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry
- Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, but also take proactive measures during the day to protect against daytime biters, like the Asian tiger mosquito
- When outdoors, wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin whenever outdoors
If you have additional questions or concerns about mosquitoes, contact your local mosquito and vector control district. For other pest concerns, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.