As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitos are on our horizon as the weather warms up.
The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (SGVMVCD) and the Pasadena Department of Public Health are joining mosquito control programs across the state to promote California Mosquito Awareness Week, April 19 to 25.
The statewide campaign encourages residents to help stop the spread of mosquito-borne diseases year-round, and take the Safer-at-Home orders in Los Angeles County as an opportunity to curb mosquito populations around the home.
“Do not give mosquitoes a biting chance when the weather warms,” Levy Sun, SGVMVCD public information officer, said. “Eliminating stagnant water now can stop mosquitoes from becoming a public health issue later.”
In Los Angeles County, West Nile virus (WNV) persists as the biggest mosquito-borne threat to residents. WNV cases in the county make up more than a third of the state’s total cases from the past three years, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Vector control officials are also concerned about aggressive day-biting Aedes mosquitoes, due to their potential to vector or spread Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya.
There have been no local outbreaks of these viruses in San Gabriel Valley, but the presence of Aedes mosquitoes increases the risk, the SGVMVCD said.
“Take 10 minutes to tip out stagnant water and toss any unused containers around the home,” Sun said. “The window of opportunity to shut out mosquitoes is right now.”
Throughout California, vector control experts advise residents to “Tip, Toss and Protect” – Tip out stagnant water found in containers, including flower pots, old tires, buckets, saucers, and pet dishes; Toss out unused containers to prevent mosquitoes from growing; and Protect against bites by applying insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
These steps are outlined in the SGVMVCD webpage, www.sgvmosquito.org/take-action-tip-toss-protect.
Residents are also advised to always read label instructions on insect repellent, install screens on windows and doors and keep them in good repair, and report neglected swimming pools to mosquito and vector control.
Residents who continue to experience mosquito problems after dumping stagnant water are advised to submit a tip to SGVMVCD at www.sgvmosquito.org or to call (626) 814-9466.
Due to COVID-19 health orders, the SGVMVCD has paused in-person programs, but staff will continue to control mosquitoes in public sources, such as gutters, channels and storm drains. The surveillance staff traps mosquitoes and sends samples of adult mosquitoes to be tested for diseases, such as West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.
Outreach and education programs will also continue to remind everyone to take preventative measures against mosquitoes.
For additional information about Mosquito Awareness Week, visit www.MosquitoAwareness.org.