Want to make sure that the bodies of water on your property are free of the larvae that will eventually hatch into adult mosquitoes capable of carrying the West Nile Virus?
The San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District has got you covered.
Today from 9 to 11 a.m. inside of the Manteca Senior Center parking lot – located at 295 Cherry Lane – and from 12 to 1 p.m. near the Lathrop Community Center located at 15557 5th Street, the district will be distributing free mosquitofish to San Joaquin County residents in order to cut down on adult mosquito populations and curb the spread of potentially deadly disease.
“Each resident will receive up to 15 fish depending on the size of the area where the fish will be placed,” said San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District spokesman Aaron Devencenzi in a release. “The district will provide a fish carry container, informational brochures, sample repellant and a small bag of fish food.”
The fish, which require little maintenance and can be placed in large standing bodies of water, ornamental ponds, animal water troughs, abandoned swimming pools, or other places where mosquitoes can breed, can live for up to three years and are capable of consuming between 100 and 500 mosquito larvae a day. Females are able to birth roughly 50 young every six weeks from spring to fall, and the fish require an occasional feeding once a week during the sunny summer months and slightly more during the winter – which they can survive.
The mosquitofish giveaway is part of an annual undertaking by the district to curb the spread of West Nile and other mosquito-borne illnesses that have become an issue in California in recent years.
And while the Southern San Joaquin Valley is typically considered a hotbed for mosquito activity, the Northern San Joaquin Valley had one of its most active West Nile Virus years on record last year, and the virus has been detected in mosquito samples in San Joaquin County already this year, and the first case of West Nile Virus in a human this year was announced less than two weeks ago in Stanislaus County. Adjusted for population, the region of San Joaquin and Stanislaus County was one of the most active in terms of human West Nile Virus cases in the state last year, and the case earlier this month appears to be the first seen in California this calendar year.
The district is currently gearing up for ground spraying for adult mosquitoes using Evergreen 5-25 in North Manteca on Friday, June 28 from 3:30 to 6 a.m. and again the following morning during the same time frame. Focusing on an area North to Lathrop Road, South to Louise Avenue, East to Main Street and West to Union Road, the spraying – which is done using boom trucks – aims to cut down on active populations around populated areas as part of a ongoing effort that will continue throughout the county for the duration of the summer and into the fall.
In order to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses from spreading, the district encourages people to take a number of steps to prevent themselves being bitten and being mindful of the hours in which mosquitoes are most active – typically dusk and dawn.
Checking your property for standing water and eliminating it as needed. Abandoned swimming pools were a major breeding ground for mosquitos during the economic downturn, but something as small as an old tire or a bucket that has collected rain or sprinkler water can provide the environment necessary for mosquitos to breed.
Applying mosquito repellant that contains the ingredients DEET or Picaridin when outdoors in accordance with usage instructions.
Avoiding being outside when mosquitoes are the most active, which is typically at dawn and at dusk, and especially for the first two hours after sunset.
Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and other protective clothing when forced to be outdoors – especially during peak activity times.
Making sure that windows and doors have tight-fitting screens to keep active mosquitoes outside of the home.
The virus is typically carried by birds and transmitted by mosquitos who feed on their carcasses and then bite humans. The State of California has a website to report dead birds for removal and subsequent study that can be found at www.westnile.ca.gov.
To report unusually strong mosquito infestations or daytime biting contact the San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District at 209.982.4675 or visit them on the web at www.sjmosquito.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.