This is the time of year residents of Los Angeles city and county need to be particularly vigilant in the war against mosquitoes and mosquito driven diseases. As the rainy season tapers off and temperatures rise, mosquitoes actively begin breeding.
Mosquitoes have an interesting life cycle. They lay eggs in glued rafts that float on the surface of calm, standing water. The eggs hatch out and spend the first part of their lives in liquid. Much of the time they lie at the bottom or float suspended in water, coming to the surface regularly to breathe. People notice them as odd little creatures that look like tiny worms, tufted at either end, swimming with a distinctive back-to-front flipping action as they rise and fall in the water. This is the larval stage of the mosquito. In merely days, the larvae grow large enough to rise to the surface, usually at night, and transform into the flying adult we know all too well. This flying form is when females will feed on warm blood and mate so they can create more eggs.
After rain, water can collect in puddles, channels, pots and any cup-shaped surface that will contain it. All these receptacles become ideal places for mosquitoes to breed. Don’t forget about wheel barrows, tubs, trays or anywhere else where water can collect. In our mild climate we spend plenty of time outdoors in Los Angeles so we tend to leave a lot of items out in the open.
Not only are mosquito bites uncomfortable and the high whine of these insects capable of keeping you awake all night, but the mosquito is a vector for potentially deadly diseases like West Nile virus and encephalitis. Heart worm is also spread to your pets by mosquitoes and the incidence is growing in the Los Angeles area. You can help make everyone safer by regularly checking your outdoor areas.
Empty any containers that fill with water. If you plan to recycle the water, cover the containers to prevent egg-laying. Rain isn’t the only water attraction for the mosquito. Even after the Los Angeles rainy season is over, pet water bowls, birdbaths, and fountains can still offer breeding places for the unwanted mosquito. Water can build up year round when you use sprinkler systems or hose water.
Take regular tours of your property and check for any standing water. Change it out every day or two. Make sure water in fountains, ponds and pools circulates actively. Mosquitoes like stagnant water for laying eggs. If you have areas with exposed water that might attract mosquitoes buy mosquito dunks or bits. These non-toxic treatments are easy to use. Because they are compressed cakes of biological bacteria that only attack mosquito larvae (not chemical insecticides), they are non-toxic to people, pets, fish and wildlife.
It’s spring and not only are the flowers blooming, but the mosquitoes are breeding. Do your part to keep Los Angeles safer from mosquitoes. It’s easy – and could actually save a life.