Join our campaign to fight the bite

By Supervisor Dave Roberts

The county’s Vector Control Program is digging in to fight the bite. And we need your help.

A countywide campaign to kill mosquitoes is in full force. Our arsenal includes helicopters, mobile phones, tiny fish and chickens. Our infantry includes anyone at risk of a mosquito bite. That’s more than 3.5 million of us.

Mosquito bites are painful and irritating, but the real enemy is West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne disease that can be deadly or make people very sick.

After a very-mild winter, officials from the county’s Department of Environmental Health warn that mosquito breeding will start early. Technicians are monitoring traps, watching for dead birds and are testing horses and sentinel chickens. So far, we have detected no traces of West Nile Virus.

Air strikes to apply larvicide started last week. From now through October, helicopters will apply it to coastal lagoons, river valleys or other large drainages near populated areas. The active ingredient of the larvicide is a biological material specifically targeted to the larval stages of mosquitoes. That means it presents no health risks to people or other wildlife.

Helicopters alone, however, will not win the war.

How can you stop mosquitoes?

Look around the yard for standing water. A sagging tarp, toys and clogged rain gutters are frequent culprits. If it can hold water for a week, it can breed mosquitoes. Unmaintained swimming pools can be a major source of mosquito breeding. If you know of a green pool, please report it.

The county employs a team of technicians that treats standing water with larvicide and mosquito fish. The county makes mosquito fish available to homeowners free of charge. In some cases, technicians can bring mosquito fish to your residence.

At the house, be sure the screens on your windows and doors are in good shape. Apply repellent if you’re going outside. Remember that mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk.

How else can you fight the bite?

Watch for dead birds — especially crows, ravens, jays or raptors – and contact the county right away if you find one. If the bird has died recently, it can be tested for West Nile Virus.

The county has just published a free, Fight the Bite Mobile App with information and tools to send photographs and information about dead birds or green pools right to the Vector Control Program.

Fight the Bite has a Web site – – and also can be found on Facebook.

The phone number for the San Diego County Vector Control Program is (858) 694-2888.

We live in America’s finest county, and working together we can control mosquitoes, prevent West Nile Virus and enjoy a great quality of life.

Dave Roberts represents the Third District on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.