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How To Take The Bite Out Of Mosquito Season

As overnight temperatures rise, Culex mosquitoes begin to hatch. They can carry the West Nile virus, which infected more than 420 people in California last year, killing 19 of them.

Another kind of mosquito is being tested for dengue virus after two people in Los Angeles County contracted the virus last fall, the first locally acquired cases in California. Both people survived.

There’s no local dengue now, but experts say the virus is likely to crop up again and the pesticides used to kill mosquitoes that can spread it have lost some of their bite.

That’s because overuse of over-the counter herbicides can cause the insects to become resistant to the chemicals, said Tristan Hallam, director of scientific programs with the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Some weed killers contain active ingredients similar to pest control sprays, he said.

“Because it’s being used in two separate scenarios on a consistent basis, there are more opportunities for these adult mosquitoes to have that resistance build up within these populations,” Hallam said.

How To Take The Bite Out Of Mosquito Season

Hallum tests local mosquitoes and rotates which pesticides vector control uses when too many show resistance.

The best defense is to prevent mosquito bites, and keep the insects from getting in your home or breeding nearby.

Continue reading the article written by Jackie Fortiér here.


May 13, 2024

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Jackie Fortier

I cover health in Southern California.

I started in this newsroom in March 2020. I’ve won two Region Murrow Awards for my coverage of the pandemic, but my favorite part of my job is talking to smart and interesting folks about their health experiences.

I previously worked in public radio in Oklahoma and Colorado, but I’ve fallen in love with the mountains and beaches of California. If you listen closely when I’m live on the radio on LAist 89.3, you may hear my cat make an appearance — despite my best efforts to keep her quiet.

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