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Free mosquito fish being distributed
mosquito fish
Mosquito fish being distributed for free next week by the San Joaquin Vector Control District is an effective way at reducing mosquitoes on your property in standing water such as ornamental ponds and neglected swimming pools. See story for details on the free distribution.

If you want to find out what you get for $2 to $3 a year in property taxes that the San Joaquin Vector Control collects from a typical Manteca, Lathrop or Ripon household take a trip to Caswell State Park along the Stanislaus River.

It is 258 acres of natural Central Valley riparian vegetation.

You will find mosquitoes are plentiful as you walk along nature trails especially as dusk approaches.

Another way to get the full pre-1955 South San Joaquin County summer experience is to take a float trip down the Stanislaus River from Ripon to Caswell State Park as the late afternoon turns to evening. Unless you are coated in repellant you will experience what summers were like in the South County prior to 1955 when the vector control district was formed.

Talk to some long-time residents and they will confirm Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop along with the surrounding countryside was a paradise for mosquitoes until the 1950s after the vector control district was well established.

The countywide district headquartered on Airport Way just south of Stockton Metro Airport combats 17 different mosquitoes that call San Joaquin County home. Three of those 17 species pose major public health concerns given the viruses they can transmit that include the West Nile Virus, malaria, and encephalitis. Besides that, mosquito bites even without the threat of getting infected with a deadly disease aren’t exactly pleasant.

The vector control district utilizes public outreach, biological control such as mosquito fish, physical control involving the clean-up of breeding areas, and chemical control in the form of spraying.

The district will be giving away mosquito fish later this month. They are a natural and effective way of fighting the breeding of mosquitos when the fish are placed in ornamental ponds, neglected swimming pools, or animal water troughs.

The free mosquito fish distribution is being conducted in the South County includes:

*Ripon, Tuesday, June 23,  from  9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Ripon City Hall parking lot, 259 N. Wilma St.

*Escalon, Tuesday, June 23, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Hogan park parking lot at 1051 Escalon Ave.

*Manteca, Thursday, June 25, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane.

*Lathrop, Thursday, June 25, from noon to 1 p.m. at Manuel Valverde Park near the Lathrop Community Center, 15557 Fifth St.

 A maximum of 15 fish will be provided to each resident as long as supplies last. Residents will be asked to provide their name, address and location where fish will be placed. Mosquito fish will only be provided to residents who live within San Joaquin County.

They are a live-bearing minnow closely related to the common guppy. Mosquito fish are temperature dependent for reproduction, but typically breed from mid-spring to fall in the San Joaquin Valley. They reproduce at intervals of about six weeks, with on average about 50 young in a single brood. Mosquitofish are the primary biological control agent for the San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District.

The biggest challenge the district faces is combatting the West Nile Virus that can make humans sick and even kill them.  There are deaths in San Joaquin County every year from West Nile Virus with a high of 19 in 2016.

 The District urges residents and visitors of San Joaquin County to reduce their risk of West Nile Virus infection and other mosquito-transmitted diseases by taking these precautions:

*Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding.

*Use products containing active ingredients which have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use as insect repellents applied to skin and clothing. Those products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus products need to be applied according to label instructions.

*Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk, and especially for the first two hours after sunset.

*When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing.

*Keep mosquitoes from your home with tight fitting screens on doors and windows.

*Contact your veterinarian for information on vaccinating equine against West Nile Virus.

*Report significant mosquito infestations to San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District at (209) 982-4675, 1-800-300-4675.

*Report dead birds and tree squirrels to 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or

For additional information, request service, and/or to sign up for the District’s spray notification system, go to


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email