- Author: Karey Windbiel-Rojas
- Author: Elaine Lander
Whether you're having a backyard barbecue or enjoying outdoor activities as the weather warms up, it's important to protect yourself from mosquitoes and their bites. Not only can these buzzing insects be a nuisance, certain mosquito species can transmit West Nile virus and other public health threats in California.
Late spring rains followed by warm, sunny days can create the perfect mosquito breeding habitat. Mosquitoes need very little standing water to lay eggs that can hatch in as little as one day. So remember, drain after the rain to fight biting mosquitoes!
What should you do to protect yourself? If possible, avoid being outside at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active. When outdoors, protect yourself and your family by dressing in long sleeves and pants, or wearing an effective mosquito repellent. The best repellents are those that contain DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
You can also help reduce mosquito populations by:
- Dumping standing water out of buckets, tires, flowerpots, and any other containers in your yard.
- Cleaning clogged rain gutters and storm drains.
- Keeping screen doors and windows in good condition so mosquitoes can't enter the home.
- Reporting neglected swimming pools or ponds in your neighborhood to your local Mosquito and Vector Control agency. They will come inspect, and in most cases, they can release mosquito-eating fish in these pools instead of spraying pesticides.
Mosquito repellents are considered pesticides. Always read and carefully follow all precautions and safety instructions provided on the container label. Following the repellent or other pesticide label directions will ensure you are using it as intended and getting the best protection possible.