Services and Programs

District services and programs are funded by your tax dollars and therefore are provided to all Contra Costa County residents at no charge.

Mosquitoes

A vector control technician inspects a creek for the presence of mosquito larva (click to enlarge photo).

Our county’s diverse ecological regions create a range of mosquito sources. The District regularly surveys more than 10,000 acres of marshland along the waterfront, acres of irrigated farmland in the eastern county and numerous ponds, creeks and residential sources countywide.

Upon request for service, the District will inspect your property for mosquito problems and provide advice on controlling their populations.

With 23 different kinds of mosquitoes that inhabit a variety of water sources, it’s important that the homeowner or caller provide our District employee with a mosquito sample that can be identified to determine its possible source. Simply swat a mosquito and save it or tape it to a piece of paper for the District employee.

 

 

 

 

Mosquitofish

Biologist Chris Miller prepares to transfer young mosquitofish to a separate tank (click to enlarge photo).

Free mosquitofish for private ponds, horse troughs, non-maintained swimming pools and spas, rain barrels and more. Mosquitofish can eat up to 500 mosquito larvae per day. Click here to learn more about how you can get your free mosquitofish.

Rats & Mice

A vector control inspector reports his findings to a resident during a rodent inspection (click to enlarge photo).

Homeowners, business owners or any group in Contra Costa County can request a site visit to assist them with rodent issues by phoning the District or making an online service request.

District services include rodent identification (rodent need not be present) and advice for prevention and control. We make house calls! Detailed report is issued.

District employees do not bait nor set traps, but provide valuable, detailed information, guidance and recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skunks

A vector control inspector searches underneath a deck for evidence of skunk invasion (click to enlarge photo).

In an effort to reduce the incidence of rabies by suppressing skunk populations, the District works with homeowners to discourage skunks from visiting their property.

District employees survey properties, provide guidance and recommendations and may loan live-catch skunk traps if specific criteria have been met.

A free inspection for skunks on a residential property can be made by calling the District or scheduling a request for service online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellowjackets

A vector control aide removes a portion of an underground yellowjacket nest (click to enlarge photo).

Yellowjackets are beneficial insects that eat garden pests and pollinate crops through daily foraging; however, they are also considered a vector since they can cause people discomfort or be dangerous to individuals who are allergic to their venom.

The District provides extermination of ground-nesting yellowjackets since these species are aggressive toward people. We do not provide a service for other species of yellowjackets, nor those that make their nest on or in structures.

For ground-nesting yellowjackets, simply locate the nest and call us for service or make an online service request. The nest’s location must be identified and the location shared with District employees. This can be achieved by drawing a map, pointing a garden tool, or identifying the site with a marker (red sock, garden glove, etc.).

 

 

 

Ticks & Lyme Disease

Vector control ecology staff prepare to identify a tick species (click to enlarge photo).

The District surveys public parks and other areas for the ticks that transmit Lyme disease. The District also provides tick identification services. Simply bring in or mail the tick to the District in a sealed Ziploc plastic bag or plastic vial with a slightly moist cotton ball.

District biologists will identify the tick free of charge. As of April 1, 2010, the District no longer tests ticks for Lyme disease that are brought in by the public. Lyme disease testing is conducted for surveillance purposes only. A list of local laboratories that will conduct Lyme disease testing can be found by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Africanized Honeybees

Africanized honey bees (AHB) are descendants of bees brought from Africa to Brazil in the 1950s in an attempt to improve honey production in that country. Some African queen bees escaped accidentally and began to interbreed with the local European honey bees. The resulting AHB hybrids have been moving north ever since and are currently established in Southern California.

Honey bees are beneficial insects that are essential for pollination of many native California crops and plants. If a bee swarm does not present an immediate threat, it is best to leave it alone. Another option is to have a beekeeper relocate the swarm. You can contact the Mount Diablo Beekeeper’s Association at (925) 458-3900 for assistance. If the bees are in a high traffic area, appear aggressive or otherwise pose an immediate threat, call the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District. A technician will try to respond the next working day. The District does not treat hives or swarms that are inside a wall or other structure - contact a licensed structural pest control company for assistance.

Entomology Laboratory

District Entomologist Steve Schutz prepares to test adult mosquitoes for the presence of West Nile virus (click to enlarge photo).

The mission of the Marilyn Milby Entomology Laboratory is to protect the public from vector-borne disease and injury by monitoring, analyzing and
anticipating disease and vector distribution through surveillance and research; to ensure that the District has control programs that are effective and environmentally sound; and to serve as a credible and accessible information resource for other District programs, the public and other agencies.

Environmental Projects

In addition to protecting public health, the District is also dedicated to protecting the natural environment. Healthy wetlands support populations of natural predators, producing fewer mosquitoes than habitats modified or damaged by human activity. The District plays a leadership role in the conservation and restoration of Bay Area wetlands, protection of endangered and threatened species, and promotion of biorational (environmentally compatible) control methods in order to protect both human and environmental health.

Public Affairs

Community Affairs Representative staff discuss the District's programs and services to patrons of a local farmer's market (click to enlarge photo).

The Public Affairs Department personnel work closely with county constituents. Community affairs representatives provide general and tailored presentations to various groups and school children of 12 or more people. District personnel also participate in a variety of events, workshops and community discussions.

Integrated Vector Management

A vector control inspector prepares to release mosquito-eating fish into a neglected swimming pool (click to enlarge photo).

Integrated Vector Management (IVM) is an ecosystem-based strategy, which focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and the use of resistant varieties.

Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism.

Pest control methods are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and non-target organisms and the environment.