Mosquito calls surging this year

04/24/2014

Despite California’s drought offering mosquitoes fewer areas to breed, the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District has reported a 42 percent increase in requests from people in the two counties for help with mosquitos, which propagate in open pools of water. The district received 23 calls from West Marin in the first part of 2013, but this year it has received 32 in the same time period. The surge might come in part from warm weather, which can bring out some species earlier than usual. “[Mosquitos] are opportunistic and they’ve been around for millions of years,” said Nizza Sequeira, a spokeswoman for the district. In West Marin, many of the problems arise from old septic tanks. Older systems sometimes have cracks that provide entry, although the district has seen mosquitos find their way into modern systems, too. People typically call the district when they begin to suffer bites at home. “These mosquitoes will sneak into your house, generally through windows without screens or through the front door…and they’ll hide behind curtains or in the closet, where it’s dark. And at night when you turn off the lights you’ll hear a buzzing in your ear. And that’s when they bite. At night,” Ms. Sequeira said. Last year 14 people died in California from West Nile Virus, which is spread by mosquitoes. Though none of the victims were local, six birds died in Marin from the virus and the California Department of Public Health said West Nile will likely be a public health threat again this year. The district’s mosquito services—which include surveying property for potential mosquito breeding grounds, applying larvacide when necessary and providing mosquitofish in man-made water containers like ornamental pools—are free. Call the district at (707) 285.2200 if you are having mosquito problems, or visit msmosquito.com to learn more about mosquito prevention.