Mosquitoes can transmit the viruses that cause West Nile fever. Photo by Noah Poritz, courtesy United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
Mosquitoes can transmit the viruses that cause West Nile fever. Photo by Noah Poritz, courtesy United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service

Public health officials are warning Southland residents that they could be seeing more insects than usual this time of year due to the heavy rainfall this winter, followed by the warm weather of spring.

However, officials with the Los Angeles County Vector Control District said that many of the swarming insects noticed by the public are harmless and often mistaken for mosquitoes. The common crane fly, for instance, is larger than a quarter but is a harmless, non-biting insect with a short life span that does not transmit diseases.

“Nuisance insects, along with mosquitoes, can be expected when temperatures warm in late winter and early spring,” said Susanne Kluh, director of scientific-technical services at GLACVCD. “The insect of real concern is the one that bites, and that is the mosquito.”

Officials urge people to eliminate any standing water in containers around and outside their homes. Mosquitoes deposit their eggs in water, and within a week hundreds of mosquitoes can emerge from a bucket of water left alone.

“Let’s take this opportunity to stop mosquitoes before they take flight,” said Levy Sun, public information officer for GLACVCD. “The risk of West Nile virus, and even Zika outbreaks, can be reduced by simply removing stagnant water sources.”

More information can be found at www.glacvcd.org.

—City News Service

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