After one of the most active West Nile Virus seasons in years, the San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District isn’t taking any chances in letting the disease – which can be fatal if contracted – take root.
Last month the public agency responsible for trying to stop the spread of the contagious disease began ground spraying for active adult mosquito populations in South Manteca and Southwest Ripon – hoping to wipe out any active clusters that have emerged from the standing water left behind from late-season rains and fluctuating temperatures.
The spraying, which utilizes a boom truck to target specific areas where high concentrations of mosquitos have been detected, has already been completed in the South Manteca area along the San Joaquin River and near its intersection with the Stanislaus River. The area around Caswell Memorial State Park has also been sprayed, as have other areas of the South County which have historically been home to large populations of the adult mosquitos that transmit West Nile Virus.
While the weather has been unseasonably cool over Memorial Day weekend – commonly referred to as the unofficial start to summer – the mercury is expected to tick back up over the course of the next week before topping out at 98 degrees before cooling off again to the mid 80s, according to Accuweather. Those warm temperatures, especially when coupled with the late-season rains that have filled errant buckets, spare tires, and other items that collect rainwater help create the perfect climate for mosquito populations to flourish.
In order to help fight the conditions that make mosquito breeding possible, and to protect against mosquitoes that possibly carry West Nile or other transmittable viruses, San Joaquin County Public Health Services recommends a number of steps to be taken, including:
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.
Next month the agency will be handing out free mosquitofish for residents to place in ornamental ponds – one of the programs that cuts down on a large number of active adult mosquitoes in populated areas. The fish, which are not harmful to koi or other pond species, feed off of mosquito larvae and prevent the live hatching of mosquitoes. The giveaway in Lathrop will take place on June 27 from 12 to 1 p.m. at Valverde Park, and other giveaway sites can be found by accessing the agency’s website.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.