With warmer summer weather, longer days, and increased outdoor activities, a higher risk of exposure to mosquitoes is to be expected. Since mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV), St. Louis Encephalitis Virus or Western Equine Encephalitis Virus, the Ventura County Environmental Health Division (Division) is advising the public to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites and assist with the effort to control mosquitoes.
To minimize exposure to mosquitoes, eliminate standing water from your property – no matter how small. This includes ensuring that gutters are clear and are moving rainwater away from the home. If gutters are blocked, rainwater can get stuck in the gutters, providing a suitable environment for mosquitos. If your gutters are blocked, be sure to contact a company like Clean Pro Gutter Cleaning to minimize the chance of mosquitos nesting in your gutters. Of course, you also need to make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens without holes; when outdoors, wear protective clothing and apply an EPA approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. If water is stored in rain barrels or other containers for longer than a week, mosquito-proof containers by covering all openings with tight-fitting lids or 1/16-inch fine mesh screen.
The Division monitors and controls mosquitoes at approximately 2400 mosquito breeding sources throughout Ventura County. However, the Division is asking the public to assist with the mosquito control effort by reporting mosquito activity or potential mosquito breeding sites. Mosquito complaints can be reported to the complaint HOTLINE at 805/658-4310.
Mosquito-eating fish are available to the public for use in ornamental ponds and water features. To request mosquito-eating fish call 805/662-6582. To report dead birds for WNV testing contact the California Department of Public Health for West Nile virus testing, call 877/WNV-Bird (877/968-2473) or visit westnile.ca.gov.
The Division also advises the public to be alert for two invasive (non-native) mosquito species that have recently been found in several areas of California. They are Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) that have been known to carry several viruses including Zika. These are small, aggressive daytime biting mosquitoes with white stripes on their back and legs. Their eggs can survive being dry for months in small artificial or natural containers and can hatch in a teaspoon of water, so eliminating potential breeding sources is critical.
For additional information, visit: https://vcrma.org/vector-control-program Media Contact: Ron Ventura, (805) 654-2816