Quarterly Newsletter and Updates 2019
Green Swimming Pools
Unmaintained swimming pools are a significant problem during the summer months because they can produce thousands of mosquitoes in a short amount of time. Each year our District conducts an aerial fly over of the County to identify unmaintained swimming pools. We then contact each of these pools owners to make sure they are not breeding mosquitoes. Possible mosquito control efforts for unmaintained pools include short term pesticide treatment or providing mosquitofish. A properly maintained swimming pool which receives regular chlorine treatments and has a working pump and filtration system is not a mosquito issue. If you have an unmaintained pool or know of one in your neighborhood you can put in a request for service on our website here.
Implementation of the 3D Printer in our Lab
Our District laboratory collects mosquitoes in traps in order to conduct surveillance on virus prevalence as well as measuring the abundance of the mosquito population throughout Alameda County. Currently, we purchase these traps from a vendor; however, we have begun utilizing a 3D printer and accompanying 3D modeling software to design and create our own mosquito traps. By printing out our own traps, we can significantly reduce the cost of each trap. In addition, the freedom of creation is now available. Modifications to the traps are easily made and quickly realized. The printed traps are composed of a material named ASA, or acrylonitrile styrene acrylate. ASA is a plastic that features UV and water resistance as well as the durability needed to be used in the rugged conditions that they are subjected to out in the field. We are looking forward to seeing all other possibilities that having this tool offers us.
Increased Activity of Mosquito-Like Insects
This year we experienced a record amount of rainfall followed by heat spells. This combination has been the perfect environment for not only breeding mosquitoes, but other types of insects as well. Some common insects that we have in our area that look similar to mosquitoes are crane flies and midges.
Crane flies are sometimes called “mosquito hawks” or "mosquito eaters". However, they do not bite people and unfortunately they do not eat mosquitoes. Some species of crane flies emerge from aquatic sources and others from terrestrial or decaying vegetation sources. Midges are the most wide spread and numerous insects resembling mosquitoes. Adult midges are commonly observed flying in swarms or “clouds”, or are seen resting on fences, walls, under eaves and in protected areas such as porches and entryways. A resting adult midge can be easily distinguished from adult mosquitoes because their wings are shorter than their body. Both midges and crane flies have a short lifespan and are more of an annoyance than a threat.
West Nile Virus
Our District has had 111 dead birds reported to us so far this year. Out of the 111 birds reported, 9 were suitable for testing and all 9 tested negative for West Nile Virus (WNV). Testing dead birds is an important way for our District to detect WNV and we continue to encourage residents to report them. If you come across a dead bird please report it online at www.westnile.ca.gov. It is important to note that WNV has been found in other counties in California, so if you plan on traveling this summer make sure to wear an insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of eucalyptus. We also recommend making sure the windows in your home have screens on them or to keep them shut so that mosquitoes do not come inside your home. If you plan on spending time outdoors during dusk and dawn wear insect repellent on exposed skin and long, loose-fitting clothing to prevent mosquito bites. Routinely check for standing water in your yard to prevent mosquito breeding.