SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It’s a sound that can send shivers up anyone’s spine, the high-pitched buzz of a mosquito.
For Rocklin Pest Control general manager Rich Sartain and his team, that same sound is a call to action. And the first thing Sartain said they look for when treating a home is standing water residents don’t even realize is there.
“Underneath your grass, there could be a puddle of water that you can’t see, that the mosquitos are actually harboring in and giving birth in,” Sartain said.
This year, due to heavy rains, the experts report we may be in for a bumper season because more water sources mean more breeding opportunities.
Sartain noted that some mosquitos only need the tiniest amount to start breeding.
“For instance, the Aegis egypti mosquito that recently has come to our area only needs a bottle cap of water to do their nesting and lay their eggs in,” he said.
Mosquitos are the biggest killer out of any animal in the world because of the diseases they transmit.
Laboratory director Sarah Wheeler with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District said they’ve already started to find the potentially deadly West Nile virus through infected birds.
“We have had two birds that have tested positive for West Nile this year,” she said. “It’s a little early than we detected positive dead birds last year, but it’s not the earliest we’ve detected it.”
Bay Area counties along with Los Angeles have also returned positive samples.
Wheeler explained that mosquito season hasn’t officially begun, but work is already underway to damping mosquito numbers in pooling water.
“By finding that habitat, either putting the mosquito fish out there or putting larvicides out there that will prevent mosquitos from using it as a breeding source,” she said.
The mosquito fish are an important mosquito control as they eat the larvae before they turn into biters, but they have been hard to come by this year because the colder weather has stunted their growth.
Wheeler said it’s impossible to find every breeding spot.
And that’s why Sartain and his team said they expect and have already received increased calls for mosquito treatments, but note people can also try preventive measures themselves.
“Make sure your rain gutters are cleaned out and free so they drain properly and the waters are not being clogged up there,” Sartain said.
With no treatment for West Nile virus and the possible army of mosquitos only a few hot days away from emerging, Sartain says don’t wait around for the spine-tingling buzz to take preventative action.