Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 11:16 am | Fair 64º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Arrival of Mosquitoes an Unfortunate Rite of Spring

The welcome winter rains have helped ease the drought, but they also have created many mosquito sources. Rain has filled creeks, street drains, and backyard containers with water where mosquitoes can grow.

Check your yard for the wriggling mosquito larvae that can grow in water-filled buckets, trash cans, plant pots, rain barrels, clogged rain gutters, bromeliads, ornamental ponds, fountains, neglected swimming pools, hot tubs and unfinished maintenance projects.

As the weather warms, larval mosquitoes emerge from standing and stagnant water to become flying, biting adult mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting disease-causing West Nile virus, which is frequently found in Santa Barbara County and throughout California.
The Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County requests the public's help to stop the spread of invasive Aedes mosquitoes — the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).

These two mosquito species are not known to occur in Santa Barbara County but have been detected in 12 other California counties.

The species' adults are small and dark colored with bright white markings. They are aggressive daytime biters and prefer to live around humans, their preferred food. They can develop in a variety of water-holder containers, both natural and artificial.

Contact the MVMD at 969-5050 to report mosquito problems, especially if you are receiving mosquito bites during the daytime.

In addition to West Nile virus, the yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes are able to transmit Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses to humans.

"Invasive Aedes mosquitoes are the primary vectors of devastating human diseases that are not yet locally transmitted in California, and we'd like to keep it that way," said Kenneth Learned, the district's operations manager and vector biologist.
To protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes, the following precautions are suggested:

» Avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dusk and dawn and in areas where mosquitoes are most prevalent, near streams and water.

» If you have to work or play near mosquitoes, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and apply a mosquito repellant containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to exposed skin and/or clothing.

» Ensure that door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good condition to keep mosquitoes outside.

» Eliminate standing and stagnant water to prevent mosquito development.

» Stock your ornamental pond or livestock watering trough with mosquito-eating fish, available from the district.
The Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County is a public agency charged with protecting the public's health from disease transmission by mosquitoes, rodents, and other nuisance insects.

The district works in the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, and in the cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. For more information

— David Chang for Mosquito and Vector Management District.

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