Warm winter weather introduces early mosquito season

This warm February has brought a peskier problem, mosquitoes.

Posted: Feb 24, 2020 7:21 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - This warm February has brought a peskier problem... mosquitoes.

While winter weather usually kills most mosquitos, this warm winter has produced an overlap of mosquitos from last summer.

Western Malaria mosquitoes are the mosquito Butte County is experiencing.

People can expect to see more of the blood-sucking pests over the next few months. While the name can sound scary, they aren’t necessarily a threat.

The District Manager of Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District, Matthew Ball said Western Malaria mosquitoes are less likely to hold the West Nile virus.

"With the weather that we're seeing right now, we can be finding the baby part of those West Nile mosquitoes in manmade containers in peoples backyards right now," Ball said. "So they need to start containing their swimming pools because the mosquitos that can carry the West Nile are coming."

These mosquitoes are bred in rice fields. Ball said the reason we are seeing the same mosquitoes this winter from last summer is that the female mosquito hibernates and awakens in the wintertime. 

"Basically their metabolism kicks off at 62-degrees so if we get 62-degree weather, they come out of hibernation and they're very hungry, the reason why it's lasting so much longer is we have too many days in a row that exceed 62-degrees,” Ball said.

Ball added that only the female mosquitoes bite.

Glenn Russel lives near a canal in Oroville and says he can't handle the mosquitos anymore.

"Help get rid of them, they’re so bad all throughout the day, it's not just at night and in the morning. They're just everywhere all day and it's bad especially with this canal,” Russel said.

Rich Simon walks around Riverbend Park often and says he sees swarms of mosquitoes.

"Once the sun drops down they’re very active and they actually come down and attack you," Simon said.

Ball said the best way to prevent getting a bit is to wear appropriate clothing and repellent. Ball said they try to spray but it's very difficult with the warmer weather.

Even though people deal with the annoyance of the pest, Butte County Public Health said the threat of the West Nile virus is not typically active until June.

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We've had beautiful weather over northern California today and it will continue through Wednesday before changes begin. Those changes will first involve cooler air and stronger wind, with rain and snow chances following.
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