The buzz on summer West Nile Virus

With warmer summer weather and increased outdoor activities, a higher risk of exposure to mosquitoes is expected.

Since mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis Virus or Western Equine Encephalitis Virus, the Ventura County Environmental Health Division advises the public to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites and assist with the effort to control mosquitoes.

To minimize exposure to mosquitoes, eliminate standing water from property and make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens without holes.

When outdoors, wear protective clothing and apply an EPA-approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

If water is stored in rain barrels or other containers for longer than a week, cover all openings with tight-fitting lids or 1/16-inch fine mesh screen.

The division monitors and controls mosquitoes at approximately 2,400 mosquito breeding sources throughout Ventura County.

The public is asked to report mosquito activity or potential mosquito breeding sites by calling the complaint hotline at (805) 658-4310.

Mosquito-eating fish are available to the public for use in ornamental ponds and water features. To request the fish, call (805) 662-6582.

To report dead birds for WNV testing, call the California Department of Public Health for West Nile Virus testing at (877) WNV-Bird (968-2473) or visit westnile.ca.gov.

Two invasive (non-native) mosquito species have recently been found in several areas of California: Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito).

The mosquitoes have been known to carry several viruses including Zika. They are small, aggressive daytime biting mosquitoes with white stripes on their back and legs.

The eggs can survive being dry for months in small artificial or natural containers and can hatch in a teaspoon of water, so eliminating potential breeding sources is critical.

For more information, visit https://vcrma.org/vector-controlprogram.