Pests not observing social distancing guidelines
Atascadero’s springtime warm weather season has begun, which also means mosquitoes have arrived! Unfortunately, COVID-19 doesn’t seem to affect the mosquitoes, they are not practicing appropriate social distancing but instead are again beginning to make pests of themselves.
In 2010, San Luis Obispo County voters decided against a tax assessment, which would have continued funding for the county-run, countywide Vector Control Program. Due to lack of sufficient funding to support it, the County discontinued the program and it then became the responsibility of all residents and property owners for eliminating possible mosquito breeding areas on their privately owned property and maintaining those areas in order to help keep the mosquito population down.
It is very important for everyone to take steps to help eliminate the breeding places for mosquitos in and around all residences and workplaces, and to reduce mosquito borne health risks. Some helpful tips to reduce these hazards include:
Eliminate locations for mosquitoes to lay their eggs by removing standing water sources from around your property. Routinely remove standing water from items such as decorative ponds, birdbaths, fountains, flowerpots, pet bowls, animal troughs, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, etc. Even small containers with standing water can provide a breeding habitat for mosquitoes.
- Use mosquito dunks and other pest control/abatement products that can be purchased at most local nursery and hardware supply stores.
- To avoid being bitten, consider staying indoors an hour before and after dusk and dawn, which is peak mosquito biting time. Avoid activities and places where mosquitoes are plentiful.
- Apply insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET when you’re outdoors.
- Wear long sleeved clothes, pants, caps and socks. Clothing can also be treated with repellants containing DEET.
- Take steps to ensure that all windows and doors have screens; do not leave doors open for extended periods.
If everyone takes responsibility for helping to reduce the local mosquito population by eliminating all standing water mosquito breeding hazards on their personal property, we can all have a safer and much more pleasant spring and summer. The County of San Luis Obispo provides much more information on the Environmental Health section of their website about how to manage these types of issues. Residents should visithttp://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Health-Agency/Public-Health/Environmental-Health/All-Environmental-Health-Services/Pests.aspx.