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Mosquitoes in Southern California: What you need to know

Last week, Asian Tiger mosquitoes were discovered in El Monte. Native to Southeast Asia, the insects are very aggressive and known to carry rare diseases. Unlike their American cousins who keep to a cooler twilight, the Asian Tigers prefer to wreck havoc during daylight hours. 

Meanwhile, also last week, eleven mosquito samples in Burbank tested positive for the West Nile virus. A dead bird in Glendale was also found to contain the virus. Experts are calling this an epidemic year for the mosquito-borne virus. Of the 33 people who have contracted West Nile virus this year, the Center for Disease Control points out that 10 live in Los Angeles County.

So how best to protect yourself?

First, drain all standing water around the home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnate water, so be sure to drain any fluids in buckets, bird baths, flower pots and more around your property. Lyle Petersen is the director of the CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases. As he told U.S. News and Health, “any kind of container can breed mosquitoes.” 

Consider insect repellents. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises using bug repellents that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They recommend products containing DEET as well as one containing plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus. The American Mosquito Control Association cautions that repellents should be sparingly and in low concentrations.

Check your screens. The CDC recommends that you reinforced your screens while checking for any holes or tears the little bugs can get through.

Finally, organize a community clean-up. If there is no trash or free-standing water in the area, there are less mosquitoes. The CDC recommends that “Neighborhood cleanup days can be organized by civic or youth organizations to pick up containers from vacant lots and parks, and to encourage people to keep their yards free of standing water.” 

Image: jamesjordan/Flickr

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