An effort is underway in Coachella to combat a local infestation of Aedes aegypti, a species of mosquito that can transfer diseases like Zika virus, yellow fever and dengue.
The presence of Aedes aegypti in Coachella Valley was first discovered in May, and door-to-door investigations of homes deemed the infestation to be significant, according to a press release from Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. The statement noted that out of 500 yards inspected, adult mosquitos were found in 32 locations and larvae in 23 spots.
No illnesses resulting from the mosquito infestation have been reported.
Authorities started spraying low dosages of an insecticide called Pyrethum across 161 acres on Tuesday and will continue through Thursday morning. Jeremy Wittie, general manager with the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, said that at about an ounce per acre, the spray should not present health concerns.
Wittie said at this time the district is evaluating the use of truck-mounted spray to combat the mosquitos, but aerial and backpack spray could also be used. In addition to the spray, Wittie urged community members to assist with eliminating the disease-transferring bugs out of the community.
"We have lots of tools and resources to control the mosquitos, but we can't be in everybody's backyard," Wittie told KPCC. "We can't find all these sources by ourselves, and I would just stress the importance of people inspecting their own property and making sure they’re not part of the problem.”
The district shared a few tips to help you protect yourself and your home from these mammal-loving pests:
- Drain standing water: Inspect areas around your house and yard for items that hold water, such as old tires, rain gutters, drains and under and in flower pots. Be sure to change water in pet bowls and birdbaths. Mosquitos lay eggs in standing water.
- Install and repair screens on your windows and doors
- Apply insect repellent: It should contain DEET at 30 percent or lower concentration, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin or IR3535. DEET shouldn't be used on children younger than 2 months and oil of lemon eucalyptus shouldn't be used on kids younger than 3.
- Be aware that peak West Nile virus biting times are from dusk to dawn
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks while outdoors to protect yourself
Spraying will take place in Coachella between 2:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. Thursday in the area bordered by Avenue 54, Frederick Street, Cairo Street and Shady Lane.