Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, so the femmes fatales are ones that California residents need to watch for.
August 20 was National Mosquito Day, and the Clark Man would like to help answer your questions about mosquitoes and share tips you can take to prevent mosquito bites as you enjoy the great outdoors. Even though most Californians live in areas where mosquitoes are controlled by public mosquito and vector control agencies (you can find yours at: www.mvcac.org/about/member-agencies), we at Clark Pest Control believe that knowing about mosquitoes will help to keep you and your family safe.
Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases, including Zika, West Nile virus, and malaria. More than 50 species of mosquitoes are found in California, from deserts to mountain meadows with 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 Public Health tracks mosquito activity and has confirmed that two invasive mosquito species, Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) – both of which have been linked to the Zika virus – have been found in the state.
In its August 18 update, the Department of Public Health reported there have been 588 cases of travel-associated Zika virus infections since 2015, but NO mosquito-transmitted cases domestically.
Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a half-inch of standing water. This is why it is important to check your property regularly for containers – flower pots, bird baths, garbage or recycling cans, children’s sandboxes – that could collect standing water and provide a place for mosquitoes to breed.
Even though mosquitoes are considered one of summer’s most active pests, 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. This includes the aforementioned birdbaths, flower pots, 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, sealing around all screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry. Use mesh that is 18 x 18 strands per inch, or finer.
- 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, 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.