Now, it's Time to Take Action to Prevent Mosquitoes Now and Later
After weeks of rain, the weather forecast is starting to change, and that means it's a good time to take a look around your yard for anything holding water to prevent mosquitoes now and later. With 23 confirmed species of mosquitoes in Contra Costa County, we already have some mosquitoes that are active, now, with more to follow as the seasons change. And since mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to develop from egg to biting adult in a matter of days, it's important to dump out standing water and scrub each item as soon as the weather allows. The key to success is after you check the buckets and other containers, also look for toys, tools, and other places where you might not expect to find water.

Here are some of the unexpected items Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District employees recently found holding rainwater.
Showers fill a stack of plant pots
A discarded beer can becomes rain-filled
A broom and dustpan left in the rain
A child's wagon left outside takes on rain from the storms
A disposable roasting pan full of rainwater
A child's toy truck loaded with rainwater 
Uncovered boats during the recent storms filled with rainwater
Find It, Dump It and Scrub it

After invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were found in Contra Costa County late last year, we now know it's not enough to dump out rainwater alone — you also need to scrub the plant pots, dust bin, toys, and boat to make sure you remove any potential mosquito eggs that are stuck to each item just above the water line. Of course, if you find something disposable that is full of water, dump it out and seal it in a bag before placing it in the trash to prevent any more water from making contact with any potential mosquito eggs, allowing them to develop into adults.

How to Save Rainwater without Mosquitoes

With all of the rain we've received, we have heard residents talking about how they'd like to save rainwater for later, but the District wants to make sure if folks do save rainwater, they are not providing a place for mosquitoes to flourish. And it turns out, there is a way to save rainwater without mosquitoes — all you need is a round garbage can, window screen, and two bungee cords.
  1. Place the window screen over the opening of the garbage can so that the screen overlaps the sides by several inches.
  2. Connect the bungee cords around the sides of the garbage can where the screen overlaps so that the screen is held tightly in place.

While you'll still have to dump and scrub each item, now you can dump the water out into your new rain barrel.
A window screen and two bungee cords turn a garbage can into a rain barrel
And when it rains again, you can collect more rainwater without mosquitoes. Then, when the weather gets warm, you'll have water left over for your plants and other vegetation later on in the year.

By taking these actions now, you are taking important steps to reduce the risk of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness for your family and your neighbors now and later.
Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District, an independent special district and public health agency, is located at 155 Mason Circle in Concord. Contact the District to report mosquito and vector problems online or at (925) 685-9301.