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Archive for the 'Mosquitoes' Category

Dragonflies — Mother Nature’s mosquito hawks

Dragonfly by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1dragonfly dave harper oakley

One of the most under appreciated critters, in my opinion, is the dragonfly. Nature’s natural defense of West Nile disease. The dragonfly’s hideous little larvae monsters remain in the water just like the mosquito larvae. Though when they evolve and break loose they are an air force taking down mosquitoes at all altitudes. Coming in many color phases they are very cool and should be appreciated. The butterfly gets more credit, but the dragonfly does the important work.
Dave Harper, Oakley, California

Dragonfly larvae are the scariest-looking little aquatic predators I’ve ever seen. They make fast work of mosquito larvae (and other aquatic insects), which that catch and eat with their powerful jaws. And as you say, once the dragonfly larvae metamorphose into adult dragonflies, they become living fighter planes that track down adult mosquitoes on the wing. /Gary

Posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Under: Dragonfly, Mosquitoes | 1 Comment »

West Nile virus found in mosquitoes & bird from Oakley

Giant mosquito sculpture. Photo by Flickr user Arthur Chapman used under a Creative Commons License.
mosquito by Arthur Chapman


Detection late in the year, but inevitable

The Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District is reporting the first virus-positive mosquitoes and bird this year, both from Oakley. The group of mosquitoes was collected from the vicinity of Empire Avenue and El Monte Drive, and the bird was found near W. Cypress Road and O’Hara Avenue.
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Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010
Under: Mosquitoes, Mosquitofish, West Nile virus | No Comments »

West Nile update: 2nd horse, more birds, skeeters test positive in CoCoCo

Brentwood remains high risk area; Antioch’s risk lowered.

The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District is reporting one horse, one group of mosquitoes and six dead birds that have tested positive this past week for West Nile virus in the county. The horse and the mosquitoes were from Brentwood. Two of the birds were from Brentwood, two from Antioch, one from Concord, and one was from Danville. Brentwood remains a high risk area for West Nile virus infection in Contra Costa County.
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Posted on Friday, October 10th, 2008
Under: Birds, Horses, Mosquitoes, Mosquitofish, West Nile virus | 2 Comments »

Mosquitofish vs. West Nile: Good idea gone bad?

Good news, or bad news?

There was a story on Sept. 26 in the San Jose Mercury News by Lisa M. Krieger: “Hungry mosquitofish — the defense against West Nile — is also munching threatened frogs.”

The story explains that mosquitofish dine on larval mosquitoes as planned when county vector control people distribute thousands of the fish to residents for free to fight skeeters in backyard pools and ponds … BUT … “scientists have learned the tiny fish also have an appetite for the tadpoles of frogs, toads and other amphibians — including the threatened red-legged frog and the endangered Santa Cruz long-toed salamander.”
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Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
Under: Mosquitoes, Mosquitofish, West Nile virus | No Comments »

Are you at risk for West Nile virus infection?

Sentinel chickens, more birds test positive for West Nile virus in Contra Costa County, CA.

Contra Costa County Mosquito & Vector Control District says the California cities of Antioch and Brentwood remain areas of high risk for West Nile Virus infection.
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Posted on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
Under: Birds, Chickens, Mosquitoes, Squirrels, West Nile virus | No Comments »

Brentwood & Antioch are high risk areas for West Nile virus infection

Utilizing the state’s virus-modeling program, the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District has identified southeast Brentwood as a high risk area for West Nile virus (WNV) infection. The area is Central Boulevard to the north, Guthrie Lane to the east, Creek Road and Claremont Drive to the west, and Payne Avenue to the south. Antioch remains at high risk for WNV infection as well.

In addition, virus-positive dead birds from Antioch and Walnut Creek, as well as two virus-positive squirrels from Antioch are being reported.
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Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2008
Under: Mosquitoes, West Nile virus | No Comments »

West Nile mosquito spraying kills other insects

The following brief from the Associated Press appeared in today’s Contra Costa Times "Around The State" section:

"Sacramento — Mosquito spray deployed this summer in the Central Valley exterminated more than the targeted insect, killing ants, beetles, midges and other tiny creatures, according to field samplings by UC Davis.

"The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District hired pilots to spray the skies above Davis and Woodland for two nights in August. The EverGreen Crop Protection EC 60-6, a short-lived pesticide, was aimed at killing enough mosquitoes to break a cycle of West Nile virus infection that can move from bird to bug to human.

"The spraying spared larger insects such as dragonflies and butterflies. But Walter Boyce, co-director of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, said researchers should study the effects of the insecticide on threatened or endangered bugs."

I couldn’t agree more with Walter’s statement. It’s very important to do what we can to stop the spread of the West Nile virus in California and other states, and one immediate action that can be taken is to kill the mosquitoes that carry the virus. People are dying from this deadly disease.

But right now there’s a LOT of insecticide spraying going on throughout the state of California and it offers researchers a unique opportunity to study the secondary effects of this spraying on other non-target species of insects.(This is all the more important since I recall that there was some talk early on by a few mosquito and vector control districts that this spraying would only kill mosquitoes.)

Walter suggests they focus on threatened and endangered insects, but I think we should take a look at the effects on ALL species of insects.

Threatened and endangered bugs are important because their populations are already dangerously low. But common insects are also important because they are food sources for many species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. And maybe somewhere down the line, they also feed other threatened of endangered creatures.

These studies might also uncover a method of controlling the West Nile virus that doesn’t affect non-target species. That would be nice.

Posted on Monday, October 9th, 2006
Under: Mosquitoes, Pesticide, West Nile virus | 4 Comments »