You have worked hard to conserve water and now you may have to work even harder to eliminate any mosquito breeding grounds in your garden. We all know about the Zika concerns, and San Diego County has just had its first case of human West Nile virus. The CDC has reported more cases of dead birds due to West Nile in July than for the entire season in 2015. While this is alarming, there is a lot you can do to educate yourself and take steps to keep your garden and home safe.
Mosquito is Spanish for little fly. And is the deadliest animal in the world. The female mosquito feeds on blood by biting animals and then laying eggs in stagnant water or near a water’s edge (even inside your home or garage). You need to do two things: eliminate any breeding grounds for her and protect yourself from bites.
Go into your garden and home and do a detailed walk. Look for any accumulated water in gutters, birdbaths, pots, wheelbarrows, plastic tarps or anything that pools water. You can buy mosquito dunks, which are effective for water that you want to keep like a birdbath, lily pond or fountain that doesn’t run every day. Or you can get free mosquito fish from the county’s Vector Control Program.
What about your neighbors? Do you see buckets, pots or maybe even an unkempt swimming pool? Or worse…a dead bird. Report it to San Diego Vector Control online at http://apps.sandiego.gov/citizenservices/resource.php?id=659 or call (858)694-2888 M-F 8 to 5 or 24-hour emergencies or dead birds to (858)505-6657. This resource is also interested if you get bites during the day as those are the special mosquitoes that carry Zika. The online report is easy to fill out and asks for you to upload a picture if you can get one.
Now that you have eliminated the breeding grounds, next is to protect yourself and family. There are a lot of wives tales about mosquitoes and mosquito repellents; a great resource to sort out the facts is Consumerreports.org (check the April 16 and May 24 rundowns). They note that most natural repellents do not work, and that citronella candles are ineffective. Boy, I have wasted a lot of money over the years! Even the American Mosquito Control Association says traps and electric grids only reduce, not eliminate, mosquitoes. So check out the reports and you might be surprised what you learn!
And it is true that they like some people more than others. It is explained in detail on the Mosquito Wikipedia page. Go clean up, cover up and stay safe!