The first batch of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus this year have been found in La Habra and residents countywide should take precautions to avoid getting bit, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District said Monday, June 19.
The mosquitoes were trapped in La Bonita Park on June 15. In past years, the first infected mosquitoes were found in May, said spokeswoman Mary-Joy Coburn.
Heavy rains earlier this year flushed out underground storm drains, a popular breeding place, delaying the arrival of the virus. Without more rain, however, debris will accumulate again, Coburn said.
Storms also prompted the district on three occasions this year to deploy organic larvicide in wetlands such as Villa Park Dam and Peters Canyon Reservoir. Helicopters dropped granules of bacteria into the water to stop larvae from maturing.
“They call it ‘nature against nature.’ It’s a naturally occurring bacteria that targets and prevents mosquitoes from developing into biting adults,” Coburn said.
Coburn said despite the late start of West Nile season, residents should remain vigilant about emptying standing water on their property and applying mosquito repellent when outdoors.
Last year, there were 38 human infections and the death of one La Habra resident.
“Our weather is warm and that’s when mosquitoes are most active,” Coburn said. “As long as it’s warm, it’s their breeding season.”
Los Angeles County last week reported its first human case of West Nile virus of the year.
Also, on Monday, the city of Long Beach said that for the first time it detected the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is capable of transmitting Zika, dengue, and other viruses. That mosquito, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, was first found in Orange County in 2015.