Los Angeles County, Calif. – While recent storms provided some relief to drought-thirsty Southern California, the water left behind in people’s yards may provide havens for disease-spreading mosquitoes.

Vector control officials are advising Los Angeles County residents to take extra precautions with rain barrels and other containers collecting rain water. Since mosquitoes can complete their life cycles from egg to adult in about a week, collected water should be used within the week, or rain barrels and containers must be tightly sealed to prevent mosquito entry.

If residents need to store water in rain barrels, buckets, and other similar containers longer than a week, there are steps they can take to make sure they are mosquito-proof:

• Cover all water-filled containers with tightly fitting lids

• Screen all openings (overflows, openings in lid), including downspouts from the roof gutters. Vector control recommends a 1/16 inch fine mesh to keep mosquitoes out.

• Check for holes in the screens monthly. Mosquitoes can use openings to enter the container and lay hundreds of eggs.

• Use natural mosquito control products containing Bti in water that must be kept for longer periods.

Take advantage of this rainfall to find and remove all unused containers from around the home that may collect water and contribute to mosquito problems this summer. Other common sources include plant saucers, buckets, tires, pet water bowls, recycle bins, trash cans, and even trash hidden in nearby bushes.  

“Don’t let mosquitoes can take over your backyard or patio,” said Levy Sun, public information officer at the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD). “The work you do now will protect your family’s health when temperatures are warm enough for us to enjoy outdoor activities.”

While residents do their part to tackle the standing water around their homes, vector control staff are in the field monitoring breeding sources and controlling mosquito populations throughout GLACVCD’s jurisdiction. For more information visit the District’s website at www.glacvcd.org.