Other Vectors

Flies

Fly populations exists in both urban developments and agricultural settings in the Coachella Valley. The District’s goal is to suppress valley fly populations to tolerable levels and reduce the risk of fly-transmitted disease through surveillance, public education, and suppression methods.

  • House flies (Musca domestica) live in close association with humans and domestic animals. It is a major fly pest in California especially in agricultural areas. Adults are dull gray, with four stripes on their thorax, and grow to about ¼-inch long. Adults are attracted to food, filth, and waste materials where they feed and deposit their eggs. Adult flies may be seen resting on overhead surfaces inside houses, barns and stables, and outside on undersurfaces of roof overhangs, fences, in weeds, shrubs, and trees. These resting places are always close to food, such as manure, wet feed, broken eggs, decomposed plant material, including, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit wastes. The life cycle from egg to adult is seven to ten days. Adults live two to four weeks in midsummer and up to ten weeks in cooler weather.
  • Little house flies  (Fannia canicularis) are smaller than the house fly. The adult is black or dull gray in color. Adults usually congregate outdoors and are seen to hover in protected places, such as breezeways, porches, and open garages. Females are often seen feeding or laying eggs in poultry manure and other animal excrement (dog, pig, rabbit), including that found in mammal nests. Eggs may also be deposited in decaying vegetable and animal matter, including compost piles, grass clippings, damp feed pallets, commercial fishmeal used as a fertilizer, and food residue in garbage cans. These flies take 2-4 weeks to become adults. In Southern California, the little house fly may be present to June, decreasing from July until the fall when populations may increase.
  • Blow flies (Calliphoridae) have a distinct shiny blue, copper, or green coloration and tend to be larger than house flies. They are associated with dead animals but they may also be found in garbage, dog droppings, dead snails, fish, decaying fruit and vegetable waste, and occasionally in animal manure. In the Coachella Valley, the life cycle ranges from eight to twenty-one days with adults appearing in higher numbers during the spring.

Honey Bees

Honey bees are a beneficial insect. However, they will defend their nests and can be more aggressive if their nest or the areas around their nest are disturbed.

Hives or swarms found on residential property are the responsibility of the homeowner. We encourage residents to contact a licensed bee keeper or private pest control company licensed for bee removal. Private pest control operators licensed by the State can be found online or by calling 916-372-4363.

The District is not associated with nor can recommend one company/service over another. Residents are urged to thoroughly research any business and request several quotes before agreeing to service. Once the hive is removed, District staff can offer guidance on how to “bee proof” the property to reduce the likelihood that bees will reestablish a colony there. The District may carry out bee removal in cases where hives or swarms are located in a non-structural location, such as trees and bushes, or in an accessible place where the bees pose an imminent threat to the public. 

Rodents

Roof rats and house mice are the main commensal rodents in the Coachella Valley. The major attractants for roof rats are fruits (mostly citrus), dense vegetation, exposed pet food, and water. Rats and mice are known to spread 35 diseases to humans and animals. Eliminating rats is a community effort. A successful rat control program requires reducing available food, eliminating potential shelter and performing rodent exclusion to prevent re-infestation. The District maintains year-round wild rodent and disease surveillance in rural areas, and provides a roof rat prevention, exclusion, and guidance program for the residents of the Valley. Vector control technicians advise homeowners on trap placement, building maintenance, and other rat control information upon request. District staff also conducts periodic block surveys of roof rat population in urban areas.

Mistaken Identity

There are certain insects that are commonly mistaken for mosquitoes. Our District frequently receives mosquito complaint calls about insects that are not mosquitoes.

  • Crane Fly (mosquito hawk, mosquito eater) - An adult crane fly (Tipulidae), resembling an oversized mosquito, typically has a slender body and stilt-like legs around an inch long. Adults have a lifespan of 10 to 15 days. Despite rumors to the contrary, the crane fly is neither a predator of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito. And it’s harmless. Crane flies like moist, vegetative, outdoor habitats, and are usually seen around a home on external walls and window screens. They lay their eggs in moist soil and when the larvae emerge, they feed on the roots of grasses, decaying organic matter, decaying wood, vegetation, and turf. Some larvae also feed on small aquatic insects, invertebrates, and any decaying plant life found near the surface of streams.
  • Non-biting Midges - The non-biting midge (Chironomidae) is a small fly that closely resembles a mosquito. Although these midges are unable to pierce the skin, they can be a serious nuisance problem in urban areas, particularly along lake front communities. During peak emergence, massive swarms of midges can cover houses, cars, and other structures near lakes, ponds, and other water sources that serve as breeding habitats. Adult chironomid midges are short-lived and weak flyers and are typically found around country club lakes.
  • Biting Midges - The biting midges (Ceratopogonidae), or “no-see-ums,” are very small, grayish colored flies about the size of an ordinary pinhead. These flies feed on blood and produce very painful, burning bites. The larvae are aquatic or semiaquatic, including fresh or salt water, and can be found in tree holes, decaying plant materials, and sandy or alkaline soils. Typically the ones people may complain about are Culicoides spp. but certain species, such as Lepotconops torrens (Townsend), severely attack man in many parts of the United States, particularly the south and west. The bite usually produces a temporary swelling that may blister, rupture, and produce an open lesion that may exude moisture for weeks. In the past, after a heavy rain, residents near the lower mountain range on the northwest side of the Valley have called the District to complain about biting midges, indicating their presence in the Valley.
  • Fungus Gnats - The fungus gnats (Mycetophilidae or Sciaridae) are slender, mosquito-like insects with long legs. They are usually found in damp places where there is ample decaying vegetation (leaf and grass piles). Adult gnats are relatively abundant, flying in shaded wooded areas. The gnats are active at dusk and at night.