High tides, heat causing uptick in mosquitoes

SAN DIEGO -- Mosquitoes are pestering several San Diego County communities right now and experts say high tides and heat are largely to blame.

A number of residents in Imperial Beach have been complaining about the bugs near their homes.

“Ah! I’m being bit right now," Matt Henry said as FOX 5 interviewed him Tuesday evening. “They’re flying around us right now."

Henry and his family live down the road from the Tijuana Estuary, a place that has turned into a mosquito breeding ground.

Chris Conlan, San Diego County's Supervising Vector Ecologist, says Imperial Beach, Del Mar and Pacific Beach are all seeing large numbers of what is known as the black salt marsh mosquito due to high tides mixed with the heat.

“It allows those mosquitoes to breed a lot faster," Conlan said. "So the tides come in, the water gets into areas it normally doesn’t get into, but when the water recedes, it’s left behind in some of those pools up there and then it gets warmer because of the heat and the mosquitos can go through a generation much faster."

Conlan said the good thing about this species of mosquito is it is not known to transmit illnesses to humans, unlike the species that carries the West Nile Virus, which the county reports has only been found in Santee this year.

“Very little findings of West Nile Virus so far this year," Conlan said. "We’re up to two pools of mosquitos that have tested positive. It was two batches, which is actually fairly low for this time of year."

Regardless of what kind of mosquitoes residents are dealing with, Conlan said the county is working to put a stop to them with upcoming larvicide drops by foot and air. 

In the meantime, Henry is fighting mosquitoes himself by clearing standing water and keeping citronella plants around his home.

According to county officials, locally there have been no reported cases of West Nile Virus in humans this year.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, experts advise you to clear standing water, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and wear bug spray.