ORANGEVALE, Calif – Recent rain brought at least some temporary relief from California's persistent drought, but it also stirred up an annoying, and potentially dangerous problem.
Standing water is providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes that made it through a relatively mild winter, according to Dr. Gregory Lanzaro, Director of the UC Mosquito Research Program at UC Davis.
"If the mosquitoes are coming off early, it means the conditions are good, the survivorship of the mosquitoes will increase, and we can expect increased densities of mosquitoes," Lanzaro said.
Lanzaro says longer days, standing water and warm temperatures are the three main factors that trigger mosquito larvae to hatch.
The fact that mosquitoes are hatching now means there will be a long, and potentially active mosquito season, the mosquito expert says.
"If there's plenty of water available, standing water around, then the number of breeding sites that are available for mosquitoes increases, and we'll have a bigger crop of mosquitoes," Lanzaro said.
Young lacrosse players in Orangevale ran into a swarm on their practice field Sunday night.
"Usually on my legs, all over my legs mostly," 11-year-old Tyler Silber said, describing where the mosquitoes bit him. "Sometimes on my arms."
The players said the mosquitoes are more of a nuisance than anything.
"It's annoying," Silber said.
"It's terrible!" his friend Spencer said.
West Nile is still a concern, and Lanzaro says there's a direct relationship between the number of times you're bitten and your chances of getting the virus.
He says it is critical to report increased mosquito activity in your neighborhood to the nearest mosquito and vector control district.
"Aside from swatting, you might pick up the telephone and call the district and say, 'hey we seem to have a large number of mosquitoes.'"