This winter's record rainfall has provided relief to drought-thirsty Southern California, but it has also created havens for disease-spreading mosquitoes in people's yards, and health officials are urging people to take precautions against the insects.
"Los Angeles County residents must take extra precautions with green, unmaintained pools, rain barrels and other small containers that have collected rain water,'' according to a statement Thursday from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.
"Since mosquitoes can complete their life cycles from egg to adult in about a week, collected water should be emptied or used within the week, rain barrels and containers must be tightly sealed to prevent mosquito entry, and green, unmaintained pools should be cleaned.''
Officials said that if residents need to store water longer than a week, these steps should be taken to ensure they are mosquito-proof:
-- Cover all water-filled containers with tightly fitting lids;
-- Screen all openings such as downspouts from the roof gutters with a 1/16 inch fine mesh to keep mosquitoes out;
-- Check for holes in screens monthly to prevent mosquitoes from entering the container and laying hundreds of eggs;
-- Use and maintain natural mosquito control products containing Bti in water that must be kept for longer periods.
"Mosquito eggs only need a teaspoon of water to complete their life cycle,'' said Anais Medina Diaz, public information officer at GLACVCD. "By eliminating mosquito breeding sources in your home today, you can protect your family's health as temperatures warm up in Southern California.''