(This is a joint communication from the Mono County Health Department and the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program (OVMAP): Big snow years can mean big mosquito seasons and we are expecting some bugs!
Thank you to Rob Miller (OVAP), Anna Scott (Inyo County HHS), Joe Burns (CDPH), and our own Louis Molina (MCHD) for info and edits.)
Mosquitoes are annoying but can also carry diseases. Local authorities expect large numbers of mosquitoes in our area this spring due to lots of snowmelt and runoff. West Nile Virus has affected people in the Eastern Sierra in recent years, although to date it remains uncommon.
Currently public health experts are monitoring the spread of invasive Aedes mosquitoes such as the Aedes aegypti, and albopictus which have been introduced into the United States from other countries and established themselves from San Diego to the Central Valley. Invasive Aedes mosquitoes can also spread other viral diseases that we would rather not have in our region, including dengue, yellow fever, Zika and Chikungunya.
Fortunately, none of these viruses are currently known to be transmitted within California, but thousands of people are infected with these viruses in other parts of the world, including in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program staff work with state and local health departments to monitor what mosquito species are present and whether they are carrying diseases that may be transmitted to humans or livestock. Mosquitoes are trapped throughout the summer at selected locations around the Eastern Sierra and sent to public health labs for testing.
According to Rob Miller, Field Supervisor with the Owens Valley mosquito Abatement Program, “local mosquito abatement programs work to maintain lower mosquito populations using several methods, but good water management and prevention are the safest and easiest ways to manage threats posed by mosquitoes”.
Residents can help control these insects by:
• Eliminating pools of standing water used for breeding by mosquitoes around their
yard and neighborhood. Many mosquitoes do not fly very far so the mosquitoes
plaguing your yard may be coming from nearby. Check any areas that may contain
standing water such as old tires, buckets, wheelbarrows, and plugged drains and gutters.
• Keep mosquitoes outside. Screen doors and windows where possible and check their
• Use Insect repellents. Insect repellents reduce the chance of being bitten and will also
generally repel ticks and other biting creatures. Use and follow the label of an EPAregistered
insect repellent that includes one of the following active ingredients:
o Oil of lemon eucalyptus
EPA-registered insect repellents are proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant
and breastfeeding women when used as directed. There appears to be no advantage to
using DEET concentrations above 50%. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Instead, dress them in clothing that covers their arms and leg and use covers over strollers and baby carriers. Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and rub onto child’s face. Don’t apply repellent to child’s hands, eyes, mouth or irritated skin.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants for additional protection. In higher risk areas, such as during international travel to places with significant rates of malaria or mosquitoborne viruses, consider treating clothes with permethrin. The Culex mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus are mostly active at dusk and dawn so mosquito avoidance measures are particularly valuable at those times.
For more information on avoiding mosquitoes and staying healthy, please visit the
California Department of Public Health website to Fight The Bite!
Please report mosquito problems to the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program by calling: (760) 873-7853.