Feel like you’ve been a magnet for mosquitos recently?
You’re not alone. The pesky insects are out in force, and it’s largely due to the abundant rainfall Southern California has received this year.
Susanne Kluh, general manager of the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, told the Los Angeles Times that Tropical Storm Hilary has been a boon to mosquitos, as they reproduce in standing water.
“You can imagine how many bottle caps, lawn drains, saucers, toolboxes that weren’t put away are now filled with water — and will be breeding mosquitoes,” she told the Times.
The large number of mosquitos — including Aedes aegypti, the invasive yellow fever mosquito — poses danger to humans beyond just annoying, itchy bites, Kluh told the San Fernando Valley Sun.
Mosquitos can infect people with West Nile virus, and yellow fever mosquitos “are known to spread the Zika virus, chikungunya, dengue fever, and, as their name would suggest, yellow fever,” the Sun reports.
To make matters worse, these specific mosquitos are an invasive species that targets humans specifically and can survive the harshest of conditions.
“They lay these durable eggs that can be valid for at least a year or longer,” Kluh told the Sun. “They can stay dry, and when you put water back into the same container where the eggs are laid, they will hatch a long time later. That’s how they easily get transported around the world.”
So what can you do to keep yourself and your family safe? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some tips:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents.
- Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
- Once a week, empty and scrub items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers, to limit mosquitos’ ability to reproduce.
- If sleeping outdoors, use a mosquito net.
For more tips and information, visit the CDC’s website.