Mosquitoes

Take common-sense precautions against West Nile virus.The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District provides services to control mosquitoes and prevent mosquito-transmitted disease like the Zika virus and West Nile virus. 

Click here for tips on preventing the spread of Aedes mosquitoes, which can carry the Zika virus

These mosquitoes can live and complete their life cycle either indoors or outdoors. Eggs are laid along the waterline of any water-holding container such as flower vases, plant saucers, buckets, used tires, and even plants that hold water like bamboo or bromeliads. Eggs can remain alive for years, and hatch into larvae when conditions are right.

Look for:

  1. small, black mosquitoes with white stripes
  2. mosquitoes active and biting during the day — even indoors!
  3. immature mosquitoes (larvae and pupae) swimming in stagnant water.

The invasive, black-and-white mosquitoes can lay their eggs individually along the waterline of any container.

Eliminating the Threat

•  Report black-and-white, daytime-biting mosquitoes to 562-944-9656 or www.ReportMosquitoes.org. This FREE service includes inspection and treatment.
•  Remove or drill holes in the bottom of all plant pots, saucers, barrels, bins, and old tires.
•  Do not keep water in buckets or root plant cuttings in water. Sharing plant cuttings can spread mosquito eggs.
•  Cover trashcans, toys and recycle bins, and keep unneeded items out of the rain.
•  Ensure rain barrels are properly sealed. Thousands of eggs can be laid inside rain barrels.
•  Wear insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR 3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Click here for tips on preventing West Nile virus

When it is warm enough for outdoor activities, you and your family should expect greater exposure to mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus. Although the West Nile disease isn’t severe in healthy individuals, often passing unnoticed, those with weakened immune systems and the chronically sick can be hit with a devastating illness.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District urges residents to follow normal precautions to limit their exposure to virus:

  • When outside at dawn, dusk and in the early evening (the heaviest mosquito times), consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
  • Clear the yard of containers (even the smallest) that might hold water where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Drain kids’ pools, and check pool and vehicle covers that might hold water for excessive periods of time.
  • When in mosquito heavy areas, spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain up to 35% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) provides no additional protection. Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children. Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.

West Nile precautions also include being mindful how you water. Stagnant water accumulating in ditches, drains, gutters and backyard containers and pools is ideal for mosquito breeding.

Some breeding areas for mosquitoes come from over-watered lawns that send runoff into storm drains. The vector control district dispatches its crews to mitigate the problem with spraying, but homeowners must manage their garden irrigation for the spraying to be effective.

Sources of stagnant water created on private property are the property owner’s responsibility. Just one cup of water left standing for more than seven days can bear 300 to 500 mosquitoes. Untreated swimming pools can be reported to Lakewood customer service staff by calling 562-866-9771, extension 2140 or e-mailing service1@lakewoodcity.org.

The statewide website tracking West Nile is www.westnile.ca.gov and is managed by the California Department of Public Health. They can be contacted by residents reporting the finding of any dead birds or squirrels at the West Nile Virus Dead Bird Hotline, 877-968-2473.