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Storms, wet weather create breeding ground for mosquitoes on Central Coast

Female mosquitos feed on blood to help produce their eggs.
Female mosquitos feed on blood to help produce their eggs.

More and more wet days are expected this season along the Central Coast and that means a greater potential for mosquito outbreaks.

While rain is much needed amid California’s drought, it can also create the perfect environment for mosquitoes to reproduce.

“Anywhere there is stagnant water, you get mosquitoes,” said General Manager for Santa Barbara County's Mosquito and Vector Management District Brian Cabrera.

He said people often associate mosquitoes with summer time, but post-rain pooling is ideal habitat for the female insects to lay their eggs. Cabrera said that is cause for concern during the rainy season.

“Through the bite of a mosquito somebody can contract a virus and, in some cases, that can develop into full-blown disease like Encephalitis,” Cabrera said.

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain and it is just one of many infections that can be spread by mosquito bites, including Zika, Dengue and West Nile.

Cabrera said a sample of mosquitoes collected from a mosquito trap in Santa Barbara last year tested positive for West Nile Virus.

He said a small amount of water can be enough for mosquito larvae to grow.

“They can develop in as much water that would fill a bottle cap. So it doesn’t take much,” Cabrera said.

But he said there are steps people can take to curb their breeding.

“The math is pretty simple. No water equals no mosquitos,” Cabrera said.

He said removing stagnant water from things like potted plants, tree holes, rain gutters or children’s toys is the best way to keep the insects away.

Cabrera said mosquito larvae have also been found in water reservoirs at the base of Christmas trees during the holiday season.

For more information about managing mosquitoes around the home, click here.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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