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Mosquito reports soar after article

Green pools attracting dangerous insects

Posted: July 25, 2008 1:26 a.m.
Updated: September 25, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Canyon Country residents Thursday reported a surge in both the number of “green pools” and of mosquitoes following initial reports of countywide efforts to stop the spread of West Nile virus.

Several homeowners responding to a report in The Signal on Thursday that Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich has called for “renewed action to prevent the West Nile virus epidemic” contacted the newspaper with examples of the “green pool” problem.

“We have had a mosquito influx in our backyard this year,” said Realtor Carina Arthur. “So much, that we have bought a (bug) zapper to help control it.”

Arthur, an agent with Keller Williams VIP Properties and a mother, is concerned about mosquitoes breeding inside “green pools” in her neighborhood.

“Over the years we have noticed from our property that surrounding home’s pools were in a ‘green stage’ ... I understand, as a realtor that the foreclosures can’t be helping this situation, but there were green pools long before the foreclosures began. To this, I would have to add that we haven’t seen any improvement in the green state of surrounding pools.”

On Thursday, the county Department of Public Health confirmed four human West Nile virus infections in the county, the first cases this year. None are in Santa Clarita Valley.

All but one of the West Nile virus victims showed symptoms of the disease. They were hospitalized with meningitis this month and are recovering.

Truc Dever, director of community affairs for the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District, said vector control officers will deliver mosquitofish to any pond-owning resident who wants them.

The fish gobble up mosquito larvae and are the best environmental solution to reducing the number of mosquito breeding areas.

A spokesman with the vector control office said Thursday, however, that the office has temporarily run out of the mosquitofish because of demand. A fresh supply is expected within a week.

One person who wants the fish is horse owner Marilyn Keehn of Sand Canyon.

“I have a horse trough and I put goldfish in the trough to eat the algae. I never had mosquitoes but I don’t want them,” she said.

Last week, vector control officers and the state Department of Public Health detected West Nile Virus in nine new dead birds and 11 mosquito pools in Los Angeles County.

On Saturday, while on a brief nature hike, Plcaerita Canyon resident Valerie Thomas and her husband found a dead crow.

“I immediately called Vector Control. Obviously nobody was working on Saturday nor was there even an answering service to ‘prevent West Nile Virus Epidemic,’” Thomas said in an e-mail to The Signal.

“By Wednesday, I still had not had a call back, so I placed another call to Vector Control,” she said. “The woman answering the phone said Vector Control does not handle this; I had to call ‘Mosquito Abatement,’ but she couldn’t locate their number.

“I asked why this information was not on their answering machine and why nobody had gotten back to me with the information.”

Thomas ended the story of frustration in trying to report a dead bird with: “No response.”

Contacted Thursday by phone, she said that the dead bird goes out with the trash today since no one seemed to be interested in examining it.

County Health Officer Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Director of Public Health, said warm weather contributes to mosquito breeding.

“People should make sure pools of stagnant water are removed from around their homes and to wear insect repellant containing DEET or picaridin, when outdoors in mosquito prone areas, especially close to dawn and dusk,” he said in a statement.

West Nile Virus is spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. 

Mosquitoes can become infected by biting a bird that carries the virus.


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