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Heading outside? Get ready for lots of mosquitoes

Malaria Mosquitoes
Posted at 10:15 PM, May 10, 2021

The weather's getting warmer and we all want to be outdoors. Before heading out, a warning from vector control districts across the country: be prepared for a lot of mosquitoes.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District recently released a catchy, informative, musical video called "Tip Toss Boss."

“Tip Toss Boss is fun, it’s upbeat but then, also, it’s applicable,” said Mary-Joy Coburn, director of community affairs for GLACVCD.

Coburn said “Tip Toss Boss is the second music video and it’s about the shared responsibility about vector control giving the resident the power to eliminate mosquitoes on their property.”

GLACVCD released "The Mosquito Rap" in 2017 and made sure the 2021 release was equally trendy and enticing, akin to the popularity of TikTok.

“I hope people will remember when they’re at home and can nod to the beat and remember what they need to do to tip out water and become a tip toss boss,” said Coburn.

Trends aside, Coburn says everyone needs to do their part to eliminate standing water, which is where mosquitoes like to breed.

“The hotter the temperature the faster their eggs develop, so the greater number of mosquitoes. So, temperature plays a critical role in mosquitoes and how well they do,” said Dr. Tracey McNamara, a professor of pathology at Western University of Health Sciences in Southern California. She's well known in the vector world.

“I’m the person who noticed the link between an unusual outbreak of encephalitis in birds at the same time as people in New York City were dying of an unusual form of encephalitis."

That was in 1999 and the discovery would lead to the outbreak of the West Nile Virus. Dr. McNamara says more vector diseases are coming.

“The incidence of vector-borne diseases has doubled. People get kind of casual; we had 7,000 human cases of West Nile between 2003 and 2019. These viruses aren’t going away.”

Dr. McNamara says mosquitoes only need a bottle cap of water to breed. Researchers are looking for new sources of prevention as some mosquitoes are developing resistance to chemicals.

“What they’re doing in Florida, they’re about to release several hundred thousand, genetically-modified, male mosquitoes that when they breed with the female mosquitoes, it’s the females that bite. They’ve used several new technologies and they’re hoping if they release enough of these sterile males and the females bred with them, they’ll end up overall dampening the mosquito population.”

Whether that will work remains to be seen, but until then, we know that removing all the potential breeding sources is a good start.