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How To Protect Yourself
Only female mosquitoes bite. They need the protein and nutrients from blood for their developing eggs. A mosquito may bite only two or three times during her life, but she can develop hundreds of eggs from each blood meal. There are 24 different types of mosquitoes in San Diego County. At least 4 types are known to carry diseases that can be passed to humans.
Mosquitoes Threaten Health
Mosquitoes are able to spread diseases to humans. The most common diseases carried by mosquitoes in San Diego County are encephalitis viruses and malaria.
Encephalitis viruses like West Nile virus, affect the central nervous system
Malaria is a blood parasite that can cause chills, high fever, anemia, kidney damage or brain damage
If you have additional questions about these diseases, please contact your doctor.
Remove Breeding Sources
Your help in preventing mosquito breeding is very important. Standing water provides a place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and mature into biting adults that can spread disease. All mosquitoes need standing water to complete their life cycle. There are many possible breeding sources around your home. Remove standing water sources like these from around your home:
Containers & Buckets: Turn them over or cover them so they do not collect water
Swimming Pools/Spas: Keep the water clean and circulating
Birdbaths & Troughs: Change the water weekly, or use mosquito fish or larvicide to control breeding
Drains & Gutters: Remove dirt and leaves so drains do not clog and collect water
Tires: Cover tightly with a tarp. Throw away used tires and drill holes in tire swings to let water drain out
Ponds: Use mosquito fish or larvicide to control mosquito breeding
Faucets & Hoses: Fix all leaks
Potted Plants: Do not over water. Empty saucers weekly or fill them with sand
Trash Cans: Clean weekly and keep covered so they do not collect water
Be sure to empty standing water weekly to kill mosquito larvae.
Protect Yourself From Mosquitos
Mosquitoes spread disease when they bite humans and animals, transferring infected saliva to them. The best way to prevent getting a disease like West Nile virus is to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
Wear long sleeves and pants to cover up skin when outdoors
Apply an insect repellant that contains DEET, Picadirin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to your exposed skin or clothing, follow label instructions
Install or repair screens on windows and doors
Use larvicide such as, mosquito dunks (Bti) or mosquito fish in backyard ponds, fountains and unused pools to stop larvae from developing into adults. Mosquito dunks are available at most home improvement stores
Avoid going outdoors during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active
Trim and thin shrubs and bushy plants where mosquitoes may hide
Mosquito fish are an effective and natural methods of controlling mosquitoes. They are small, freshwater fish (1-2 inches long) that eat mosquito larvae. Mosquito fish are ideal for controlling mosquito larvae in backyard ponds, birdbaths, fountains, animal troughs, unused swimming pools and other standing water sources.
Mosquito fish should never be placed in any natural habitat such as lakes, streams, rivers or creeks. They are greedy eaters, so by placing them into natural waterways, they may impact natural species and disrupt the balance of life.
Mosquito fish may be picked up free of charge at different locations throughout San Diego County. For locations click here or call (888) 551-INFO. For more information on mosquito fish click here.
The Mosquito Life Cycle
A mosquito has four stages of life:
1. Egg: Once laid in water, eggs will hatch in 2 to 3 days.
2. Larva: A mosquito larva looks like a tiny wiggling worm in the water.
3. Pupa: A larva becomes a pupa and the adult mosquito develops inside.
4. Adult: Total development time from egg to adult can be less than 1 week during periods of warm weather. The average mosquito will live for about 2 weeks.
Contact the San Diego County Vector Control Program if:
You have tried to control for mosquitoes and you are still having problems
Mosquitoes are coming from a local lagoon, stream, riverbed or other large water source