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Early spring heat brings out mosquitoes

Avoid their bite; wear long sleeves and repellent

Mosquito on skin
This is an inland floodwater mosquito ( Aedes vexans ), among the
"first biter" varieties. (Photo courtesy Montana State University)

People love temperatures in the 70s – and so do mosquitoes.

Our current warm spell has brought out early-season mosquitoes in force, and they’re hungry.

“This is a typical trend that we see every year in February when we get a few days of sunny and warm weather,” said Gary Goodman, manager of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, in a district release Thursday. “These mosquitoes are ones that had been hibernating during the past few months. The warm temperatures have brought them out of resting and they are aggressively biting.”

According to the district, these mosquitoes are common in spring and are considered more of a seasonal nuisance than deadly threat. They’re not the species that carries West Nile Virus or other diseases. They just like to bite.

Sacramento is home to more than 50 mosquito species, according to the UC integrated pest management experts. Among the most common “first biters” is the inland floodwater mosquito ( Aedes vexans ). It doesn’t need a flood to hatch; just water and warmth. Its species name comes from the Latin word for “annoy.”

District crews have been inspecting and treating potential trouble spots where mosquitoes breed, noted the district.

This week, service requests shot up along with the heat. Those requests “increased significantly” when temperatures hit the high 60s and low 70s, says the district.

“People are enjoying the outdoors and they are noticing the mosquitoes more,” added Goodman.

As our warming trend continues, the district asked residents to keep an eye out for places where mosquitoes can breed. Drain any stagnant water that may have collected in flowerpots, saucers, buckets, bird baths, wheelbarrows or other containers. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a few tablespoons of water.


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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