Mosquitoes - PDF

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away from you and your yard

M           osquitoes are de-
            licious food for
            fish and other
aquatic creatures, but their
buzzing and itchy bites make
                                             Note: If you are experiencing
                                             serious or persistent mosquito prob-
                                             lems, call your mosquito and vector
                                             control district (see inside) before
                                             considering the use of pesticides.
                                                                                            your yard. Any standing water can
                                                                                            produce mosquitoes.
                                                                                            Recycle tires or store them so they do
                                                                                            not collect water. Tires are extremely
                                                                                            hard to drain, and each one can pro-
                                                                                            duce thousands of mosquitoes.
them a great annoyance to                                                               •   Keep roof gutters clean so water
people. Mosquitoes can also                There are many different species of              drains; otherwise mosquitoes can
                                           mosquitoes. Some bite during the day,            breed in the leaf and water mixture.
carry a variety of diseases; so
                                           while others feed at night. Although         •   Don’t dump yard waste into street
controlling them, especially               some mosquitoes can fly long distances           gutters, storm drains, or creeks. It
by eliminating breeding sites,             from their watery breeding sites, others         can impede the flow of water, allow-
should be a priority for every-            travel only a short distance to find their       ing mosquitoes to breed. The decay-
one in the community.                      blood meals. Your bites may be coming            ing organic matter then provides
                                           from mosquitoes you are raising in your          food for dense numbers of growing
The emergence of West Nile virus           own backyard.                                    mosquito larvae.
(for more information, see inside) has
focused public attention on mosqui-                                                     •   Drain plastic wading pools or
                                           Prevention                                       fountains when not in use, or cover
toes. Fear may cause us to reach for
                                           The most effective way to control mos-           tightly to deny access to mosquitoes.
a pesticide spray can, but this is an
                                           quitoes is to find and eliminate their           If the fountain is large enough, stock
ineffective control. Pesticide sprays
                                           breeding sites.                                  with mosquitofish (see below).
reach relatively few mosquitoes, and
outside, they probably cause more harm     • Eliminate standing water in con-           •   Keep swimming pools and hot tubs
to beneficial insects. Residents can         tainers around the home, including             chlorinated and filtering. When
have a greater effect on the numbers of      water in cans, plastic containers,             not in use for extended periods,
mosquitoes in urban areas by following       potted plant saucers, buckets, gar-            cover pools or tubs tightly or stock
the tips in this fact sheet.                 bage cans, barrels, wheelbarrows,              with mosquitofish (see below). One
                                             and any other container that holds             untended pool or hot tub can breed
The young (or larvae) of mosquitoes          water for more than a few days.                enough mosquitoes to affect a whole
live in water and feed on microorgan-        Empty the water and then either:               neighborhood.
isms and organic matter. Just about any      invert, cover, punch drainage holes
area or container that can hold water                                                   •   Use mosquitofish (Gambusia af-
                                             in, or dispose of these containers.            finis) in backyard ponds or water
for more than a few days can produce a
                                           • Change water in birdbaths and pet              gardens, watering troughs, and stock-
large crop of mosquitoes. Only adult fe-
                                             water dishes at least once a week,             ponds. These fish are available, at no
male mosquitoes bite humans and other
                                             preferably every 2 to 3 days.                  cost, from your mosquito and vector
animals to feed on blood. Adult male
mosquitoes feed on flower nectar.          • Fix leaky outdoor faucets and                  control district (see inside). Gambusia
                                             sprinklers, and don’t overwater                are cannibalistic, so be sure

            Choose less toxic products for your home and garden. Look for this symbol before you buy.
  to provide rocks and plants in your          worm in this area. Keep your dog’s           use for 40 years. After nearly 8 billion
  backyard pond to help shelter young          heartworm medicine up to date.               human applications, fewer than 50
  fish, but not so many plants that the      • Contact your local mosquito and              cases of serious toxic effects have been
  pond becomes heavily shaded. Gam-            vector control district if you are aware     documented in the medical literature.)
  busia do not require supplemental            of uncontrolled mosquito sources in          Don’t use a stronger or longer-lasting
  food. Overfed fish may not feed on           your neighborhood, or if you need as-        product than you need. The American
  mosquitoes, and excess food in the           sistance with a mosquito problem on          Academy of Pediatrics says that repel-
  water may cause bacterial blooms             your property. Most district services        lents with a DEET concentration of
  that harm the fish. Do not release           are provided free of charge.                 30% are safe for both children and
  mosquitofish into the wild. Caution:                                                      adults, but that a concentration of
  Check with your water district before      Protect Yourself                               10% can be used on children if there
  using tap water to fill your pond. Water                                                  is concern about potential risks and
                                             • Install screens on windows and
  containing chloramine is toxic to mos-                                                    the threat of mosquito-borne disease
                                               doors and keep them in good repair.
  quitofish and must be chemically treated                                                  is low. Apply repellent to exposed
  first. Products (such as Aqua Plus) are    • Certain species of mosquitoes are            skin and wash treated skin with soap
  readily available at pet stores.             attracted to light, so keep outside          and water after coming indoors. Do
                                               lighting to a minimum near entry             not apply to infants under 2 months
• Fill tree holes with a polymer such
                                               doors; keep those doors screened or          old, and follow all directions on the
  as Soil Moist or Broadleaf P4. In the
                                               close them at sunset.                        product container.
  winter, the granules absorb water
  and eliminate mosquito breeding            • Wear long sleeves and long pants             Bite Blocker, made from soybean, co-
  habitat. The granules can last for           when mosquitoes are biting. Learn            conut, and geranium oils, is the next
  many years, absorbing water in win-          the times of day when mosquitoes are         most effective repellent. In one study,
  ter and drying out in the summer. If         most active in your area and avoid           it compared very favorably with a
  necessary, consult a certified arborist      outdoor activity at those times.             6.65% concentration of DEET for
  about the condition of the tree.           • Use insect repellents. Studies show          repelling mosquitoes for 3 1/2 hours.
  The western tree hole mosquito is            that DEET-based repellents are the           Note: If mosquito-borne disease is
  the primary vector of canine heart-          most effective.* (DEET has been in           a serious concern, other repellents
                                                                                            should not be relied upon for pro-
                                                                                            longed protection.
Products and resources                                                                      Wristbands treated with insect repel-
Examples of trade names of products listed in this fact sheet.                              lent have been shown to be ineffective
                                                                                            since repellents protect only a few cen-
Polymer for filling tree holes (also for use in soil to reduce plant waterings)
                                                                                            timeters from the site of application.
   Soil Moist
                                                                                            Ultrasonic devices are also ineffective.
   Broadleaf P4
                                                                                            Products containing other plant oils,
Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti)                                             such as citronella, have been found to
   Bayer Mosquito Preventer Granules                                                        provide little if any protection.
   Mosquito Dunks
   Mosquito Bits                                                                          • Use a screen tent for outdoor eating
   Vectobac                                                                                 (it will keep out yellowjackets too).
Insect Repellents
   Bite Blocker (active ingredients: soybean, coconut, and geranium oils)
   Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent (active ingredient: picaridin)
   OFF! (active ingredient: DEET)                                                         * For more information on DEET, see the
   Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (active ingredient: oil of lemon eucalyptus)                      New England Journal of Medicine (www.
Product for making chloramine-treated water safe for fish                         , July 4, 2002, Volume 347,
   Aqua Plus                                                                                Number 1, pages 13 to 18: “Compara-
                                                                                            tive Efficacy of Insect Repellents against
Methoprene (insect growth regulator)                                                        Mosquito Bites” by Mark S. Fradin,
   Pre-Strike (granule type only)                                                           M.D., and John F. Day, Ph.D.

             Choose less toxic products for your home and garden. Look for this symbol before you buy.
Mosquito traPs and                           less-toxic controls                            • Methoprene (Pre-Strike) is an insect
electric Bug ZaPPers                         The products described below can                 growth regulator that interferes with
Propane powered traps, such as Mos-          be used in ponds and water gardens,              the normal development of mos-
quito Magnet, are not recommended            birdbaths, fountains, pools, tree holes,         quitoes. It must be present in the
by the American Mosquito Control As-         and other standing water where mos-              larval habitat to be effective. Larvae
sociation. Although they attract adult       quitoes lay eggs. Apply when mosquito            continue to grow until they reach the
mosquitoes with carbon dioxide and           larvae are first noted in the spring and         pupal stage, at which point they die.
heat, they do not reduce the chance of       continue at the intervals recommended            Do not apply to waters that drain
being bitten. These devices can be very      on the package.                                  into public waterways.
expensive and they only remove adult         • Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israel-
mosquitoes without addressing their             ensis (Bti) is the active ingredient in a   other Pesticides
source. Energy and money would be               number of mosquito control products         • Do not use pesticide sprays to
better spent reducing breeding habitat          (Mosquito Dunks, Mosquito Bits,               control adult mosquitoes. Use a
and purchasing products containing              Vectobac) that are used in water.             combination of the techniques listed
Bacillus thuringiensis (see left) that can      This bacterium is a stomach poison            above or call your mosquito and vec-
provide more effective control.                 and must be consumed by mosquito              tor control district.
Don’t use electric bug zappers because          larvae to be effective. Only mosqui-        • Do not treat street gutters or storm
they kill far more beneficial and neutral       toes, black flies, and some midges are        drains with pesticides. Storm drains
insects than mosquitoes.                        susceptible. Other aquatic life are un-       are connected directly to the Bay,
                                                affected. Follow all label directions.        and pesticides cause serious prob-
                                                                                              lems for aquatic life. Call your mos-
                                                                                              quito and vector control district if
                                                                                              you suspect mosquitoes are breeding
                                                                                              in the storm drains or catch basins.
                              West nile virus
  West Nile virus made its appearance in the U.S. in 1999. Most of the small
  number of serious cases in this country have been among the elderly. According
                                                                                                for More inforMation
  to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1% of people bitten
  by infected mosquitoes become seriously ill — most people who get infected                For more information, contact:
  do not develop any disease.                                                               Your local mosquito and vector control
  Birds serve as a host for this virus. Mosquitoes acquire the virus from infected
  birds and then transfer the virus to people. The Department of Health Services            Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC)
                                                                                            (510) 524-2567;
  is encouraging anyone who finds a dead bird (especially a crow, raven, magpie,            University of California Cooperative Exten-
  jay, or hawk) to report it by calling:                                                    sion Master Gardeners in your area (in the
                                                                                            phone book )
      877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473)
                                                                                            Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
  Do not pick up the bird with your bare hands.                                             website
                                                                                            University of California IPM website www.
               Web SiteS for more information:                                    
  California Department of Health Services:
  Mosquito & Vector Control Association of California:
    including contact information for your local Mosquito and Vector
    Control District.

             Choose less toxic products for your home and garden. Look for this symbol before you buy.
                                                                                                                                             Pesticides and
                                               Target the source.                                                                            Water Pollution
                                                                                                                                             Common household pesticides show up in treat-
                                                                                                                                             ed wastewater and in local waterways, some-
                                                                                                                                             times at levels that can harm sensitive aquatic
                                                                                                       Pool/Hot Tub                          life. So, water pollution prevention agencies
    Trough                                                                                                                                   have teamed up with participating retail stores,
                                                              Hole in Tree                                                                   pesticide distributors, and manufacturers to
                                                                                                                                             reduce the risks associated with pesticide use.
                                                                                                                                             This fact sheet is part of a series of fact sheets
                                                                                                                                             and store displays aimed at educating residents
                                                                                                                                             about less-toxic pest management. For the rest
                                                                                                                                             of the series of fact sheets, visit www.ourwater-
                                                                                                                                    Also, look for the “Our Water
                                                                                                                                             Our World” logo next to products in participat-
                                                                                                                                             ing stores and nurseries. See the Pesticides and
                                                                                                                                             Water Pollution fact sheet for information on
                                                                                                                                             active ingredients in common pesticides that
             Open Boat                                                                                                                       may cause water quality problems.
                                                                                                                                             Pest control strategies and methods described in
                                                                                                                                             this publication are consistent with integrated
                                                                                                                                             pest management (IPM) concepts, and are based
                                                                                                                                             on scientific studies and tests in actual home
                                                                                                                                             and garden settings. Use suggested products
                                                                                                                                             according to label directions and dispose of
                 Clogged Rain Gutter                                                                                                         unwanted or leftover pesticides at a household
                                                                                                                                             hazardous waste collection facility or event.
                                                                                                                                             For more information on pesticide disposal, call
                                                                                                            Rain Barrel                      1-800-CLEANUP or visit: www.1800CLEANUP.
                                                                                                                                             org. No endorsement of specific brand name
                                 Bird Bath                                                                                                   products is intended, nor is criticism implied of
                                                                                                                                             similar products that are not mentioned.

   Storm Drain                                                                                                                                        acKnoWledgMent
                                                                                                                  Anything That Will
                                                       Leaky Water                                                Hold Water More            The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District orig-
                                                       Equipment                                                  Than a Few Days            inally developed this IPM outreach program.

                    Street Gutter
                                                              Pond/Water Garden
                                                                thurungiensis israelensis

                       Protect yourself and your family.

Paper content: 25% post-consumer waste, 50% recycled content. Printed with soy-based ink.                                    November 2008