Protect Yourself against Mosquito Bites and Disease
High runoff this year has the potential to create large numbers of insects that breed in water,
including mosquitoes. Not only are mosquitoes annoying, but they also transmit diseases. 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. One of those diseases is West Nile Virus, which has appeared in past high runoff years in our area and resulted in human infection and even hospitalization.
In additions to West Nile Virus concerns our local mosquito control program is 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 have been established in our region yet, but the mosquitoes that spread these diseases are in California, therefore the potential exists.
This year, more than ever, the risk of contracting these diseases will most likely be increased due to the sheer numbers of biting mosquitoes.
The Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement staff and public health officials urge residents to take preventive measures to protect themselves. Some effective ways to avoid being bit include:
• Keeping 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 EPA- registered insect repellent.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants for additional protection.
• Avoid being outside when mosquito activity is highest.
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.
Additionally, you can do your part to help. 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.
Please report mosquito problems to the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program by calling
(760) 873-7853. We are also happy to work with residents who are planning outdoor events
during the summer to mitigate the risk of mosquitoes. Please contact us to let us know when and where these events may be held.