The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District (PMVCD) announces the official beginning of the season during West Nile virus and Mosquito and Vector Control Awareness Week, April 20-26.   “With yet another mild winter this year, a lot of our residents did not get much of a break from mosquitoes.” stated Joel Buettner, District Manager.  “Many of our residents are quite aware of mosquitoes right now, but many are also wondering how drought conditions will affect mosquito populations” he added.  In past drought years, District surveillance data show very little impact on mosquito populations, but show a slight increase in West Nile virus activity. Experts believe this could be attributed to more infected birds congregating around fewer water sources, creating hotspots for bird to mosquito transmission of the virus. “The good news is, we have not yet seen any West Nile virus activity in Placer County.  This gives all our residents time to help us minimize mosquito populations by dumping out containers and eliminating drainage problems on your property.  By reducing mosquito breeding locations now, we can reduce the risks associated with mosquito bites and West Nile virus later in the season” states Buettner.  The District also supports water conservation efforts, as many conservation measures also help reduce standing water in certain areas. Simple strategies such as cutting down on watering your lawn can help reduce the amount of water that goes into storm drain systems, which are a popular habitat for urban and suburban mosquitoes.

The week of April 20-26 is West Nile virus and Mosquito and Vector Control Awareness Week in California.  Mosquito control districts throughout the state are gearing up for what could be an unpredictable and unusual season. The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District is enlisting the public’s help to slow down the West Nile virus cycle this season.  Residents can do a variety of things to help the community.  Among these things are reporting potential mosquito sources or unusual mosquito behavior, such as mosquitoes biting during the daytime.  Residents can also help identify high-risk areas for West Nile virus by reporting dead birds to the California Dead Bird Hotline at (877) 968-2473.

In 2013, Placer County had six human cases of West Nile virus, three horse infections of West Nile virus, 39 dead birds that tested positive for the virus, and 89 virus-positive mosquito samples.