District raises awareness of mosquitoes and the history of mosquito control efforts

ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Coinciding with West Nile Virus and Mosquito and Vector Control Awareness Week in California on April 26-30, 2010, the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District is raising awareness about the long history of mosquito control in Placer County.

“WAR STARTED ON MOSQUITOES: Scientific Campaign Is on in Placer County; Field Work for Control of Malaria Pest; First Movement of the Kind in California” read the headline in the Mar 8, 1910 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Many current residents of Placer County are unaware that a quiet little town in their midst played such a big part in the history of mosquito control in California. Gordon Patterson’s book, The Mosquito Crusades, details the beginning of the organized mosquito control effort in California. According to Patterson, it all began when local Penryn clergyman Fred Morgan wrote a letter to William Herms, an entomologist at the University of California. In his December 1909 letter, Morgan requested Herms’ aid in fighting the “malaria mosquito”. Herms’ response to Morgan explained how the whole effort needed to begin with a comprehensive educational movement. After a series of Herms’ lectures and demonstrations that were presented in Loomis, Penryn, Auburn, Newcastle, and Roseville, a permanent “anti-malaria-mosquito organization” was established in a small office donated by the Penryn Fruit Company. It was February 12, 1910.

“Many of the strategies employed in 1910 to control mosquitoes and other vectors are still very effective today,” states Joel Buettner, General Manager for the District. He points out that the educational component and the physical and biological control component are still successful strategies that the District relies on. “Clearing out ditches and draining standing water are certainly things that we still recommend, and educating the public about different ways to prevent vector-borne disease has involved the entire community in vector control,” he continues.

This year, for Mosquito Awareness Week, the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District would like to remind residents that everyone can help in vector control efforts.

3 D’s of Protection
Residents are encouraged to incorporate mosquito control and prevention into their daily lives by practicing the 3 D’s of Prevention.

  • DRAIN any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
  • DEFEND yourself and your home against mosquitoes by using an effective insect repellent, such as DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, dressing appropriately by wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors, and keeping door and window screens in good working condition.
  • Contact the DISTRICT for help. We are here to serve you. Call us at (888) 768-2343, or visit us online at www.placermosquito.org.

Contact: Ada Barros, Public Information Officer (916) 380-5480.