Mosquitoes: what’s the buzz?

As summer quickly approaches and we find ourselves getting outside a bit more, remember to take care to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

According to Gary Goodman, District Manager of Sacramento Yolo Mosquito and Vector control, many residents are anxious and excited to get outside and enjoy the warm weather so it's important to protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing a good mosquito repellent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using an insect repellent that contains the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or the plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. Aside from personal protection against mosquito bites, it's important to ensure mosquitoes are not breeding at home. Drain stagnant water from sprinklers, irrigation, and rainstorms. Be sure to check your backyard and dump any water in flower pots, kiddie pools, tires, pet dishes, bird baths and other common household containers that can hold water.

Several vector-borne diseases can be transmitted by mosquitoes in California. West Nile virus activity has been detected in birds in a few counties statewide including Napa, Sacramento, and Santa Clara counties, but no human cases have been detected yet this year. However, increasing temperatures as we enter summer months might change that. Increased temperatures accelerate the life cycle of a mosquito, so an increase in mosquitoes in the upcoming weeks and the risk for West Nile is likely. 

Another ongoing concern is the invasive mosquito Aedes aegypti which has been detected in several counties throughout Southern California and the Central Valley. For county level information, see this map. Invasive mosquitoes pose a significant health threat because they can transmit dangerous viruses including Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya. Surveillance efforts have continued since the initial detection last August. To date, no cases of Zika virus have been reported in California.

For more information on mosquito identification and management, see our recently revised Pest Notes: Mosquitoes. Additional information on vector-borne diseases is available on the California Department of Public Health website.