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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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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