Our recent weather is making Kern County a hotbed for mosquito breeding. The heat and dry conditions are providing ideal conditions for the bloodsuckers to breed, putting you more at risk for becoming infected with West Nile Virus.
Our heat came early this year and after a mild winter, the insects are ready to come out and start biting. It may look empty but an abandoned swimming pool is home to thousands of mosquitoes.
"A mosquito can lay 200 to 500 eggs every three days. They lay 3,000 offspring a month. They are very prolific!" said Gene Abbott, Kern County Mosquito and Vector Control District.
There have been no human cases of West Nile reported in California this year. But last year, 158 people in the state were infected by West Nile virus, and nine died.
"In Kern County last year, we had 18 individuals that acquired West Nile Virus infection and three of those individuals died," said Denise Smith, Kern County Public Health.
Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District has been busy placing mosquito eating fish in neglected pools. In April, the district took to the air to find dirty swimming pools. They discovered 3,600 green pools.
"So far to date we've treated 1,500 of those swimming pools," said Abbott.
Nearly half of those pools are on foreclosed properties. While the number of homes in foreclosure has remained fairly stable this year, last month there was a small increase in default notices in Kern County.
"One swimming pool can affect a whole neighborhood. One swimming pool can put off tens, even hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes," continued Abbott.
Your best bet is to drain standing water outside your home. It doesn't take much water to attract the nagging pests. Dirty pools are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can carry the virus.
"You get the infection by getting bitten by a mosquito. It is not transferred person to person," explained Smith.
West Nile Virus causes flu like symptoms, including fever, nausea and vomiting. The best way to protect yourself from becoming infected is to remember the three D's.
Drain all containers with standing water. Dress in long sleeves, long pants and loose fitting clothing. Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn. Always use insect repellent containing DEET.
If you have a problem with mosquitoes or a green untreated pool, call Mosquito Abatement at (661) 589-2744. They will treat the mosquito infestation for free.