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San Diego County Prepares For Mosquito Season By Offering Free Home Inspections

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito is shown in 2006.

Photo by James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control

Above: A female Aedes aegypti mosquito is shown in 2006.

The number of diseases from mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

San Diego County health officials say the populations of the invasive Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes — which can carry diseases including Zika, dengue and yellow fever — are increasing.

To safeguard your home, county inspectors will come to your property to look for mosquito breeding grounds for free.

Tips for Preventing Mosquitoes

– Dump out and clean containers holding water indoors and outdoors once a week

– Fill plant saucers with sand or fine gravel so pools of water do not form.

– If collecting rainwater, make sure rain barrel remains securely screened/sealed.

– Aedes mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in small containers like plant saucers, discarded tires, buckets, watering cans and flower vases that hold water (indoors and outdoors).

Find out more information here.

Sean Simmons, a vector control technician for San Diego County, does these inspections and said he searches for even the smallest water sources where mosquitoes might lay eggs.

"Anything that can hold water," he said. "I mean absolutely anything. I've found them in ashtrays, I've found them in bird baths."

He has even found them in something as small as a bottle cap.

Simmons also looks for bigger water containers such as rain barrels that aren't covered, watering cans, dog bowls and tarps. He also checks plants and drainage pipes for sources of water.

Photo by Claire Trageser

San Diego County vector control technician Sean Simmons inspects a home for mosquitoes, May 23, 2018.

"I just pretty much don't leave any stone uncovered when I do a home inspection," he said.

If he can't find any mosquito breeding grounds, we will walk around to neighboring homes and leave brochures on their doors offering to do inspections. The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes only fly about 300 feet, he said, so he doesn't have to look far.

"It's really good to let the public know, to let the neighbors know to check the water sources on their property," he said.

While the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes do carry Zika and there were cases in San Diego County, those cases were linked to people who were infected while traveling. So Simmons says there is not an immediate health concern with the mosquito populations, but the county wants to be sure the bugs don't make themselves at home.

"The one thing we want to do is not have this mosquito get too established in the county," he said. "So it's good that the public know about it, because you look at all the houses around here, everyone's got some kind of plant or some kind of water source."

And it's Simmons's job to root those out.

San Diego County health officials say the populations of the invasive Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes — which can carry diseases including Zika, dengue and yellow fever — are increasing.

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