After the Rain: Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus

Did you know that the word “mosquito” is derived from Spanish or Portuguese and means “little fly?” There are 3500 species around the world, only some of which suck blood from their victims. In those species, only the females are the blood suckers. The males consume nectar and other sugars. In one species, the larvae actually feed on the larvae of other mosquitos!

Unless you been sleeping the last couple of days you probably know there’s a lot of standing water around Scottsdale and the Phoenix area due to torrential rains. There’s not much we can do about most of the ponding, but your immediate environment (your yard) can harbor perfect conditions for mosquitoes to lay eggs and for larva to grow to adulthood.

Mosquitoes are annoying, but they are also highly effect vectors for diseases. For example, West Nile Virus has already claimed one victim in Maricopa County this year.

Maricopa County Vector Control has been quiet so far this year, but it won’t be long before the complaints will pour in and they’ll ramp up fogging efforts. Meanwhile, check your own yard for anything that may be holding standing water and facilitate mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes are thought to primarily stay within a 100 yard range, so your back yard (and those of your neighbors) present the most risk to you when you are at home. And mosquito control on your own property is the law.

If you have areas where ponding cannot be eliminated, the County will give you free gambusias fish to stock those areas and eat the larva.

More information from MC Vector Control:

http://www.maricopa.gov/EnvSvc/VectorControl/Mosquitos/MosqInfo.aspx

http://www.maricopa.gov/EnvSvc/VectorControl/WNV/WNVInfo.aspx

More fun facts on mosquitoes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito

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4 Comments

  1. What can be used on standing water located outside our Scottsdale business? I know there are mosquitoes that need to be eliminated to prevent a breeding ground. Will the City come and spray? As a business what can be purchased to eliminate these mosquitoes?

    1. Hi, Nancy, good question, and timely!

      Most issues like this are handled by the Maricopa County Health Department. I believe reporting can be done through their website.

      They have the ability to deploy monitoring traps and employ fogging if deemed appropriate.

    2. And as for standing water, if it can’t be drained, I recommend “mosquito dunks,” which look like mini-donuts, and contain natural bacterial agents that are only harmful to mosquito larvae. You can buy them at most hardware stores and home improvement stores.

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