Warning: We're going from 'heater season' to 'skeeter season'
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. - As we move into what should be a less stormy time, storms of mosquitos carrying diseases such as Nile Virus and Dengue Fever are highly likely to emerge.
The relentless storms have left so much standing water across the state that we are going to have a world-class problem with mosquitos, which is why your local vector agency is going to need your help as well.
Contra Costa County was once considered uninhabitable 100 years ago because of mosquito misery and disease. It now battles 23 species of native and non-native mosquitos.
"As a public health agency, we are out looking for the public spaces where there's water that wasn't there before," said Contra Costa Vector Control District Communications Chief Nola Woods.
One crew on public lands was sampling standing water on thoroughly saturated ground searching for places where anti-pest treatment will be needed to avoid blooms of the pests.
To avoid overall ground smogging and aerial spraying, crews place treatment specifically where needed.
"Deal with mosquitos in the larval phase, or in the young phase when they're developing in the water," said Woods.
Private homes and land also have lots of standing water.
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"And we know that there is water in areas where people may not be expecting it," said Woods.
If not cleaned out, water can pool in gutters and produce colonies of mosquitos. Unattended swimming pools can be a relentless bed of mass mosquito manufacturing.
"Look at their yard at least once a week, dump out any amount of standing water," Woods continued. "Go out in their front yard and their backyard at least once a week, look in every corner for something that's holding water you might not expect, and then we tell them to dump it out and scrub the container.
Even tiny spaces are breeding places.
That's because even the eggs of disease-bearing mosquitos that have dried out can come back to life and live for as long as six months on any surface, including plants.
"The bromeliad plant…has crevices in between the leaves where water can collect. They will lay their eggs there as well," she said.
If you keep water for gardening or landscaping, the very best thing to do is simply keep it covered.