Quarterly Newsletter and Updates
Where did my mosquito fish go?
You may have noticed less activity in your pond or water feature in the past few weeks. While they are not quite in hibernation, as the days become colder and the nights are longer, your mosquito fish decrease their activity and stay closer to the bottom of their habitat. This behavior will make them difficult to notice, and often residents call to request new fish, when their old ones are still there. Mosquito fish, or gambusia affinis, are a major part of Integrated Pest Management, and serve as a natural biological force to eat mosquito larvae and pupae. Mosquito fish tend to live for 2-3 years. During winter when there are fewer mosquitoes, you can add a few flakes of fish food to the water when their habitat experiences direct sunshine, once a week to keep the fish fed during the cold weather. Mosquito fish are still vulnerable to predators such as raccoons, skunks, birds and other fish during the winter months. If you plan to drain your water, let us know if you have any fish and we will pick them up. Never drop fish into local streams or lakes, they are considered invasive and can disrupt local habitats. For more information about mosquito fish, see our website brochure at Mosquito Prevention for Fishponds.
"It began with a dance..."
James Doggett reflects on four decades as a trustee for the District
2021 will mark the District’s first year without Jim Doggett in 44 years. We are grateful to his decades of service, which started in 1977 after a dance with the first female mayor of Livermore. She asked Jim if he would be interested in serving as a trustee to Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District and he said yes, unaware of all the projects and improvements he would help take part in over the years.
Jim started in 1977 as the Board Secretary, during the days when the District was spread between three buildings in Oakland, Union City and Pleasanton. Jim notes the work has changed a lot over the years, “We have gone from bull dozers to drones. Many of the old treatment methods have disappeared as we have headed to a more environmental process. When I started there was no Dublin and Albany was a desired addition.” Jim has stayed the course over all these changes.
Former District Manager John Rusmisel (1994-2012) highlighted that Jim has worked directly with four managers, helped the District during the budget cuts from Prop 13, advocated for the special tax measure in 1982, saw through the DDT clean-up project that could have bankrupt the District and provided a steady hand and wisdom to District management during the annexation of Albany in 2019. John said that what distinguished Jim’s leadership was his manner, “he is a soft-spoken leader, keeping a bit in the background. But his leadership and wisdom often helped the Board to work though issues and ultimately make better decisions.” After 44 years, Jim has said he “enjoyed every minute” of serving on the Board, especially working with District staff and the various members of the Board who have always held “an extremely hard-working group, with a great respect for doing the public’s work.”
We will miss Jim, and his leadership on the Board. Thank you for your service.
While you may not see many mosquitoes during winter in Alameda County, many continue to fly and breed. Remove possible habitats such as piles of wet leaves and puddles in and around your home, to decrease opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and proliferate.
West Nile Virus
Our laboratory continues to test suitable dead birds for West Nile virus (WNV). So far this year we have found 7 WNV positive birds and no WNV positive mosquitoes. Three of these positive cases occurred between October and November. If you come across a dead bird please report it online at the http://westnile.ca.gov/
While the winter months typically see little WNV activity, mosquitoes can breed all year long in the Bay Area so proper precautions to avoid mosquito breeding should always be taken. Now is a great time to check for standing water in your yard and drain or cover anything that will hold water longer than 4 days. Visit our backyard checklist to see common places where mosquitoes breed. It is also important to note that WNV has been found in other counties in California. If you will be spending time outdoors, especially during peak mosquito biting times like dusk and dawn, wear insect repellent on exposed skin and long, loose-fitting clothing to prevent mosquito bites. Use an insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of eucalyptus.