West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes that get the virus from infected birds. Once infected, mosquitoes then transfer the virus to humans and other animals. Infected humans can become very ill. The disease usually is most serious in children, people with weakened immune systems, and the elderly.
As weather warms and people spend more time outdoors, it's essential to review how to reduce mosquito breeding sites and how to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Standing water from rainstorms and warm weather make perfect breeding conditions for female mosquitoes. Find out what you can to limit mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as bird baths, ponds, roof gutters, swimming pools, and other containers. UC IPM's Mosquitoes Pest Note lists many options for mosquito management including draining any container that holds standing water, using mosquito-eating fish, covering pools, or using a pesticide product containing a bacterium that kills mosquito larvae.
When outdoors, minimize the amount of exposed skin by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, trousers, socks/shoes, and a hat. You can also apply a mosquito repellent, but note that some are more effective than others. Read about recently tested and effective repellents in our Pests of the Urban Landscape blog article. As with any pesticide, always read and follow the directions on the product label.