Protect Yourself! Mosquito Season Has Begun
Last updated 7/16/2023 at 3:02pm | View PDF
Mosquito season has officially begun in the South Valley. The first bird to have died from West Nile Virus (WNV) was discovered in Visalia in the middle of June.
The Delta Mosquito & Vector Control District reported that the dead bird was found near West Ferguson Avenue and North Sallee Street.
The district also reported that three mosquito samples testing positive for WNV were collected in east Visalia between East St. Johns Parkway and East Goshen Avenue. (As of June 19, no WNV had been reported in Kings County.)
WNV is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected female mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread WNV to people and other animals by biting them.
Everyone is at risk, but those over 60 are more vulnerable to WNV and the other diseases carried by mosquitoes, said Dr. Mustapha Debboun, general manager of the Delta Mosquito & Vector Control District.
"Their immune system is not as strong as that of a younger person," he explained.
Seniors are also more likely to forget to take the necessary precautions against mosquito bites, including "things as simple as applying repellant," he said.
Dr. Debboun strongly reccomends that seniors take the time to look at a can of repellant before buying it to make sure that is approved by and has a registration number from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which evaluates the safety and effectiveness of each repellant.
"A repellant can go through 10 to 15 years of testing before it gets approved," he said.
"Sometimes people sell gimmicks," he said about some brands of repellants. "(Buyers) need to look at the label."
Making Your Yard Safe
Debboun advises residents to inspect their yards and drain any water from birdbaths, pools, pails, tires, cans, bottles and any other water-holding containers, and from under potted plants.
"If a pail is not covered, mosquitoes will come and lay eggs there," he said.
With the recent rain and flooding, and all the snow that is yet to melt, South Valley residents need to be and stay vigilant. Those living in the eastern valley communities – such as Woodlake, Exeter and Three Rivers – need to be especially watchful, according to Debboun.
July and August, which normally bring temperatures in the 100s, bring other challenges.
"Normally, mosquitoes develop in 10 days, but they can go from egg to adult in three to five days when the water is warmer," Debboun said. "This means there are more mosquitoes in production. Any given mosquito can lay 200 to 500 eggs in one sitting."
Fortunately, mosquitoes have natural enemies – such as frogs, water beetles, dragonflies and damselflies – that lower their population. There are also fish that feed on mosquito larvae, which is helpful for those who have ponds in their yard.
"If someone has a pond, instead of using a pesticide, they can come here (to the Delta Mosquito & Vector Control District, 1737 W. Houston Ave. in Visalia) and we will give them gambusia affinis, which is known as the mosquito fish."
Other ways to keep your home and yard safe from mosquitoes include:
• Covering up by wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants when mosquitoes are most active;
• Checking window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home;
• Cleaning and scrubbing pet dishes weekly; and
• Making sure that swimming pools, ponds and fountains have working pumps and regular maintenance.
Neglected swimming pools continue to be a mosquito breeding ground. Neglected swimming pools can be reported anonymously for treatment.
West Nile Virus
While most people infected by WNV will have no symptoms, others will develop fever, headaches, and body aches. Some cases require hospitalization and, in rare cases, death occurs.
People with symptoms should contact their health care provider. Adults over 50 years old and people with compromised immune systems are at increased risk of serious complications.
For more information about mosquitoes or West Nile Virus, or to request district services in Tulare County, visit http://www.DeltaM VCD.org or call (559) 732-8606.
Kings County residents should call the Kings Mosquito Abatement District at (559) 584-3326.