Experts team up with Kern Public Health to show effective ways to stop mosquito spread

May 14, 2024 /

The four main mosquito abatement districts and Kern County Public Health hosted a press conference on May 9 to warn the public of the insect’s dangers. This week Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District has started to hand out notices to residents who have standing water or “green pools” to lower the spread of illnesses caused by mosquito bites.

Bakersfield has been home to the West Nile virus since the early 2000s, and although experts are preventing the spread by taming mosquito populations, there are still rising cases. Last week’s press conference showcased different traps and sprays to keep unwanted insects away. Authorities want the public’s help this summer in preventing the growth of mosquitos by stopping the larvae at their source- neglected standing water.

Terry Night was the host of the press conference and is the communications officer with the Vector Control District. Vector Control covers services for cities in Kern such as Bakersfield, Arvin, Shafter, Wasco, Buttonwillow, and Lamont while working directly with Kern Public Health. To check which mosquito abatement district is in your area go to

“I want to speak about the Aedes aegypti mosquito, it’s also been nicknamed the ankle biter,” Night continued. “Something I want to stress about this mosquito- it is strictly a residential mosquito.”

Residential breeding of mosquitoes occurs when homeowners keep unused containers with standing water or have “green” pools with algae, which attracts the mosquito population to grow.

“After all the spring rain we’ve had, it is very important to inspect your yards and do your part to get rid of all the standing water sources right now because Aedes aegypti mosquitos, they’re showing up in our traps right now okay, they’re just starting to wake up,” stated Night.

According to Night it only takes five days for standing water to become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Different containers that are commonly known to fill with standing water were displayed. Containers included trash cans, tires, yard drains, and empty planters for plants.

Delano Mosquito Abatement District, Westside Mosquito Abatement District, and Kern Mosquito District all collaborated with Vector Control and Kern Public Health to launch this awareness and prevention campaign. Southfork Mosquito Abatement District was invited and unfortunately could not attend.

Michelle Corson, Public Relations Officer for Public Health, spoke after Night to give more details about the prevalence of the West Nile virus.

“About four out of five people, so about 80 percent of people that are affected by West Nile virus are not going to have any symptoms, but there is this twenty percent where you can become ill and there is even a very small percentage where you become really ill and even die,” Corson warned.

Common symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, skin rashes, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, and in some cases neck and muscle stiffness. Corson also educated the crowd on how the virus does not spread from person to person and only spreads by an infected mosquito.

St. Louis encephalitis is another disease that poses a risk to residents who come in contact with mosquitos. Although this particular disease is more rare its symptoms are similar to West Nile. The most at-risk communities for contracting both diseases are the immunocompromised and elderly individuals.

“There is currently no treatment or vaccine for either disease,” stated Corson.

Media was invited to the Vector Control’s Allen Road location where multiple vehicles and a table with mosquito traps were displayed outside. On the display tables were various live mosquito and larvae traps. The traps consisted of small schools of fish that specifically eat mosquito larvae. Another popular mosquito deterrent was any insect repellent containing the active ingredient Deet.

The vehicles shown to the media serve various roles. Some have tanks for trapping live mosquitoes while others have monitors to help report how many mosquitoes are in an area. Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District also rely on ariel surveillance to detect “green” bodies of water on residents’ property. There are also various ways for neighbors to report neglected pools in the area.

Jay Thao, Delano Mosquito Abatement District Manager, was able to highlight the county’s free inspections and treatments offered.

“We will send a technician, and they will come and inspect your swimming pool. They will make sure to see if there are actual mosquito larvae breeding in there first, and then they will determine the species and treat the pool if necessary,” Thao said.

Thao continued to mention that mosquito fish can be used, but more commonly used are a mix of chemicals that are unknown to the public.

Kern Sol asked another district manager with Westside Mosquito Abatement, Travis Bauer, what ingredients were used in the chemical mixture but he did not answer. Bauer affirmed that it was the last resort to use any chemicals, and preventive measures stated above were effective enough.

“We have a system set up to where people can send anonymous complaints to our website, they can also call us directly on our line, and if they see dirty swimming pools or they went out to the park and they were just getting eaten alive, they can call us anytime we’ll send a technician out by the next day,” Bauer stated.

Bauer suggests using Rosemary oil as an adulticide in tools like a mosquito fogger.

“Take care of yourselves, wear repellent. Make sure you guys are wearing long sleeves, wearing pants, things like that, in the dusk and dawn the main biting hours,” said Bauer.

Currently, the counties’ mosquito abatement districts are sending notices in English and Spanish to homes. The notice encourages property owners to either completely drain their pools and other bodies of standing water, or to have the water treated. For both solutions, the instructions ask to follow up with a photo of your drained or cleaned pool with the notice in the picture and to submit it to on the “swimming pool notices” page.

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