Southern California cities are preparing for battle against blood-sucking pests this summer as mosquito season picks up.
The city of La Habra—which has historically had high mosquito and West Nile virus activity—is conducting its first of many large-scale mosquito sprays on June 30.
Mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths than any other creature in the world, killing hundreds of thousands of people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD) is kicking off its control efforts with a wide-area larvicide spray (WALS) treatment in La Habra.
“This treatment will prevent mosquitoes from emerging into biting adults and will help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases,” Rick Howard, OCMVCD district manager, said in a statement.
The larvicide treatment will target water sources and prevent immature mosquitos from developing into adult mosquitoes.
Efforts will focus on residential areas within La Habra. The spraying treatment will occur between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and will be repeated regularly until October.
The WALS treatment consists of a bacterium that has no toxicity to people and pets, and is certified to treat organic crops. The application is not harmful to the finishes on cars or homes.
To help mitigate the mosquito population, residents are asked to eliminate standing water on their properties, as they attract and breed mosquitoes. According to OCMVCD, even a capful of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.
“Residents need to take action by dumping and draining standing water in containers on their property,” OCMVCD spokesperson Heather Hyland, said in a statement.
“We must reduce mosquito breeding around homes to reduce the presence of adult mosquitoes and prevent diseases mosquitoes have the potential to transmit.”
Residents are encouraged to tip out any standing water at least once a week, toss out unused containers, and clean and scrub bird baths and pet water bowls weekly.
To prevent mosquito bites, OCMVCD recommends wearing mosquito repellant or lemon eucalyptus oil, close all unscreened doors and windows, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and opt for lighter-colored clothing.