Mosquito bites up along the coast

Posted at 6:20 PM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 21:20:20-04

They've been out in the masses, and in some areas they don't seem to be going anywhere, but San Diego County is now taking steps to reign in a mosquito spike.

Life is generally peaceful for people living on their boats at Pier 32 in National City, but it's been a struggle these last couple of months with the mosquito problem.

"It's been really miserable," said resident Cheyenne Wood.

Wood told 10News mosquitoes have been relentless here lately.

"As soon as they bite me, I welt up. They're super big, super itchy for a super long time," said Wood.

Several viewers experiencing the same pesky mosquitoes contacted 10News for help. Jeanette Shambaugh in Imperial Beach posted on the 10News Pinpoint Weather Watchers Facebook page, "The mosquitoes are killing us. No one can go outside without getting bitten numerous times in a matter of minutes."

Britney Kalk commented to Jeanette's post: "We're dying here in inland Oceanside by the San Luis River bed."

Dan Guillory forwarded 10News an email he sent to Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar: "With all the scare of West Nile virus, is there any plan to spray the Batiquitos Lagoon anytime soon?"

10News reached out to the County Vector Control District, and ecologist Chris Conlin explained mosquitoes have increased, especially along the coast, for two reasons: More high tides than normal spilling into low-lying areas and becoming stagnant, and the hot and humid weather.

"If that water holds for more than 7-10 days, that's plenty of time for those mosquitoes to undergo a generation," said Conlin. "And under warmer weather conditions, that water gets a little warmer and it can happen even faster in some cases."

The county sends up to 20 vector technicians that have fanned out across the county spraying pesticide over problem areas. After an area has been treated, people living near the treated area should notice the numbers of mosquitoes starting to drop in 7-10 days.

Conlin added technicians do treat Batiquitos Lagoon but the tides can play havoc with that area and sometimes new areas of stagnant water are created when there is an exceptionally high tide.

Conlin said his staff, out in the field, has been reporting to him that the current tides are very high, which makes mosquito control much more difficult.

These are largely local mosquitoes, and Conlin said some of the local mosquitoes can carry diseases like West Nile virus but the species that is pervasive along the coast right now is not known to transmit any diseases.

Late last year, Vector Control discovered, for the first time, two invasive mosquito species known as the Yellow Fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger.

"On a normal hot, dry summer that we have, those mosquitoes would have a bit of a challenge thriving and being happy here," said Conlin. "But the rains we've had combined with the hot weather have made it a lot easier for them to make San Diego their home."