MERCED COUNTY, California - Merced County is cleaning up, especially water in neglected pools. The county's mosquito abatement district recently found there is a large number of those pools, which are the perfect place for mosquitoes to breed.
The potential for large amounts for mosquitoes worries the district because it means more carriers for certain diseases in the county.
Technicians with the district have been wasting no time to treat water turned green. Green water means algae is growing, which means mosquito larvae are feeding.
With the help of aerial photos, the county found there are more than 1,600 neglected pools. Initially, they thought they'd only have a couple hundred based on previous numbers.
"It was all just word-of-mouth and whatever the technicians came across," said the district's general manager, Rhiannon Jones. "The numbers were low because it's all just by phone calls."
The pools belong to occupied and vacant homes. The concern is with more mosquitoes, the diseases they carry -- like West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis Virus -- are more likely to infect humans.
"[The situation of more neglected pools] increases the prevalence of mosquito-to-human contact, which could increase these cases," Jones said.
Arlilla Bueno, the district's field services supervisor, said there's a bigger concern this season with the invasive species aedes aegypti now in the county.
Especially since it can breed in the smallest amount of standing water. Bueno said they can lay eggs in even a bottle cap worth of water.
"They can transmit dengue and Zika, which is a health concern that Merced County has not had to face in the past," she said.
You can always call your county mosquito abatement district for help if your water begins to transition green. However, one thing you can do on your own is drain any standing water you have.
Here are some precaution tips from the district:
- Use repellents containing DEET, Picardidin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus to defend against mosquitoes.
- Avoid being outdoors, typically dawn and dusk.