Skip to main content

Vectors of Concern FAQ's. 

Are invasive Aedes mosquitoes in my neighborhood? 

Invasive Aedes mosquitoes have now been identified in all of the cities within the District's boundaries

Are there different kinds of mosquitoes? 

Yes! There are 53 species in California and we regularly trap 13 in the Coachella Valley. However, the three species of greatest public health concern in the valley are the Culex tarsalisCulex quinquefasciatus and the Aedes aegypti. These species are capable of transmitting disease to people.

How does a mosquito find an animal or human to bite? 

Female mosquitoes are attracted to the gas (carbon dioxide) that humans and other animals breathe out. Mosquitoes can follow a stream of carbon dioxide from as far as 50 feet away. Mosquitoes are also attracted to substances like lactic acid on your skin, which your body produces in greater amounts when exercising. Mosquitoes may also be attracted to certain scents or fragrances and are more attracted to dark colors than light colors.

How long do mosquitoes live? 

Most female mosquitoes live for less than 2 weeks and most male mosquitoes live for less than a week. However, when the conditions are right, some mosquitoes will live up to 8 weeks. The life cycle of all mosquitoes includes four different stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. It takes about a week for the mosquito to go from and egg to a biting adult.

How do I know if that ant is RIFA? 

RIFA can be only distinguished from other southern ants by professionals using magnifying equipment. Adult RIFA are reddish to dark brown and range from 1/8 to 1/2 inches long.Fire ant mounds vary in size but are usually in direct proportion to the size of the colony. For example, a mound that is 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches high may contain 100,000 workers, several hundred winged adults and one queen.One of the identifying characteristics of a RIFA colony is the earthen nest or mound, with a hard rain-resistant crust.RIFA respond rapidly and aggressively to any disturbance of the colony. A single fire ant can sting repeatedly and will continue to do so even after their venom sac has been depleted. Initially, the stings result in a localized intense burning sensation followed by the formation of a white pustule at the sting site within 24 - 48 hours.Fire ants prefer oily and greasy foods and forage for sweets, proteins, and fats. They also feed on many other insects, as well as earthworms and carrion. Workers forage around their mound often in underground tunnels that radiate from the mound.

Why are mosquitoes attracted to me? 

Carbon dioxide is the most universally recognized mosquito attractant and draws mosquitoes from up to 50 feet away.  As we breathe, we exhale Carbon dioxide.  Other cues include body odors, such as sweat, lactic acid, perfumes, and body movement.  

What is a vector? 

A vector is “Any animal capable of transmitting the causative agent of human disease or capable of producing human discomfort or injury, including but not limited to: mosquitoes, flies, mites, ticks, other arthropods, and rodents and other vertebrates”. (California Health and Safety Code Section 2002(k)).The District’s objectives are to keep vector populations below levels where they become a serious public health problem, leading to an outbreak of disease.By monitoring environmental conditions that can increase risks for vector-borne disease, the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District can help protect the overall health of the public.

Where are mosquitoes usually found? 

Most adults spend the day in damp, shady areas where they can find protection from the sun; some of them will even hide in your house. Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs in and plants to hide in so they are usually found around water and plants. Mosquito eggs are laid on water or damp soil where the young mosquitoes grow and develop.Different mosquitoes prefer different kinds of water. Some like swamps or ponds and others prefer water in swimming and wading pools, old tires, watering cans, flower pots, trash cans, etc. When the young mosquito turns into an adult, it leaves the water and flies away.

Why do mosquitoes bite? 
  • Only female mosquitoes bite! They need the proteins in mammal blood to produce eggs. Mosquitoes have a battery of sensors to track their prey.
  • Chemical sensors - Mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide and volatile compounds up to 100 feet. Mammals and birds give off these gases as part of their normal breathing. Certain chemicals in sweat also attract mosquitoes.
  • Visual sensors - Mosquitoes can see and orient towards potential blood meal that contrast with their background. The ability is enhanced when the potential host is moving.
  • Heat sensors - Mosquitoes can detect heat from warm blooded animals from short distances.
How do mosquito control districts control mosquitoes? 
  • Integrated mosquito management methods currently employed by organized control districts are endorsed by the CDC and EPA.  They employ comprehensive and specifically tailored control methods for each stage of the mosquito life cycle.  Larval control through water management and source reduction is a prudent pest management practice, as is the use of the environmentally friendly EPA approved larvicides.  When source elimination and larval control measures are unattainable or in the case of imminent disease, the EPA and CDC have emphasized in a published joint statement the need for considered application of adulticides.  A successful mosquito management program includes the following elements:
  • Larval and adult mosquito sampling (surveillance and trapping)
  • Source reduction
  • Larviciding and adulticiding when indicated by surveillance
  • Resistance monitoring
  • Disease surveillance in mosquitoes
  •  And public education
What can I do to avoid being bitten? 

If possible, avoid scheduling outdoor activities during dawn and dusk.  Wear light, loose fitting clothing. Wear mosquito repellent.

How do mosquitoes get into my house? 

Mosquitoes can get into any space through any tiny portal available; broken windows, screens, bathroom vents and garages.

Which mosquitoes transmit West Nile Virus? 

Culex species is usually the primary vector.

How high do mosquitoes fly? 

In general, mosquitoes that bite humans prefer to fly at heights of less than 25 feet.

Why do mosquitoes feed on blood? 

Female mosquitoes feed on blood so that their eggs can mature prior to laying.  It serves no nourishment function. Males do not take blood meals at all.  In order to obtain energy, both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectars.

What does it mean to be a virus? 

Viruses are distinct from all other biological entities on Earth because they lack one key feature of all living organisms: the ability to reproduce on their own.Like living cells, viruses are comprised of genetic material protected by proteins, and sometimes membranes, but their genomes are vastly smaller than their bacterial counterparts — up to 100s of times smaller! With limited genomic capacity, a virus cannot reproduce on its own. Instead, viruses require a host cell to supply the building materials and machinery needed to make more viruses while the virus provides the genetic blueprint.Because viruses are completely dependent on their hosts to replicate, they have evolved a vast arsenal of tricks for getting into host cells, co-opting those cells to make more viruses, and then escaping to infect more cells. Viruses have developed these tricks through millions of years of evolutionary battle with their hosts — the host evolves to avoid the virus and the virus evolves countermeasures to evade host defenses and gain access to its cellular machinery. After so much back and forth, most host-virus interactions are very species specific and indeed, many viruses only infect specific kinds of cells within their hosts. Each virus has evolved a life cycle strategy to overcome its inability to reproduce on its own, and that strategy affects when and where disease outbreaks occur.After figuring out how to invade and replicate in host cells, viruses also have to get from host to host. Some viruses are spread via biting (rabies), sex (HIV), sneezing or coughing (influenza), or fecal contamination of drinking water (polio). WNV uses mosquitoes to carry it from bird to bird, birds being the hosts that it uses for amplification within the environment.


Join our mailing list