Posted by Michelle, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 14, 2012 at 10:43 am
I emailed the Santa Clara County Vector Control, and this is what they emailed back:
Dear Concerned Residents and Guests of the Palo Alto Baylands and surrounding areas,
Thank you for contacting our district concerning the unusual mosquito situation in the Palo Alto Baylands neighborhoods.
1. What is the cause of the mosquito outbreak?
The Mayfield Tidal Gate, which controls the flow of bay tide water to the entire Flood Control Basin, has been rendered inoperative due to a massive hole, or breach, which eroded the structure under the waterline below the tide gate doors. Unable to restrict the tidal flow and prevent flooding, this broken gate structure is now allowing vast areas of marsh flooding to occur in normally seasonally bone-dry areas. This area of flooding, over 200 acres worth, contains many years’ of previously dormant mosquito eggs. These eggs became activated when flooded with salt water and became the mosquito outbreak which is now afflicting the Palo Alto Baylands surrounding area.
2. What is Santa Clara County Vector Control District doing to control this situation?
Since the discovery of the Tidal Gate problem, we have been performing continuous larvicidal treatments over the flooded areas of the basin. These larvicidal treatments, using the safest, most environmentally-friendly products, are extremely effective at eliminating the summer salt marsh mosquitoes in their juvenile larval form, before they have a chance to hatch off and bite. These treatments are weekly and ongoing and will continue as long as the areas remain flooded.
3. What can a person do to avoid getting bit?
Wear mosquito repellant over exposed and on top of clothes, rather than under clothing. These day-time/night-time biting mosquitoes are very aggressive and will readily bite through clothing as thick as denim jeans and thicker. Spraying or wiping a repellant containing DEET on top of clothing will help tremendously.
Please contact the Santa Clara Valley Water District, at ValleyWater.org, for updates on the tide gate repair project.
We are continuing to do all we can to control and eliminate the current mosquito problem. Your health and welfare are very important to us and we thank you for your patience.
Paul Reyes – Vector Control Technician II