Ways to Prepare for a Possible ‘Busy Mosquito Season’

ELK GROVE -- It might not look like it but mosquito season has already started and Monday's rain was actually helping mosquitos breed.

"The mosquitos actually need water to exist. That's where they begin their lifestyle," said Luz Robles with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Robles said her office is kicking into high gear, collecting mosquitos from across the region and testing them for West Nile virus.

"Last year in Calfornia we had 553 confirmed human cases including 44 fatalities," Robles said. "So West Nile is not going away."

While mosquitos can't be stopped from breeding entirely, steps can be taken to keep them from biting humans.

"What attracts mosquitos to you is actually your scent, specifically your CO2 that you're exhaling as we breathe," Robles said. "They can actually smell your CO2 from 75 feet away."

She said you're more likely to get bitten if you're outside exercising.

So what about the legend that mosquitos are attracted to certain colors?

"Mosquitos also have pretty good eyesight and they're attracted to darker colors more so than lighter colors," Robles said.

She says your best bet to keep from itching is to apply bug repellent. But there are also some steps you can take to keep mosquitos away from your home, like monitoring for any standing water.

"Look for water that might be in your fountain, your pond, your dog dish, the dish underneath your plant," Robles recommends.

But if you have a pond or lake on your property mosquitofish can help keep those pesky insects at bay.

"They're very small, guppy-like fish," Robles said. "Each one of them are very effective at controlling mosquitos naturally. They can eat between 200 to 300 larvae per day."

Experts say it's never too early to prepare.

"Based on the late-spring rains we're having, it could be a very busy mosquito season ahead of us," Robles said.