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 in an effort to control the species of mosquitoes currently in existence while also on the lookout for the potential arrival of new and invasive mosquito species. The county is also home to many insects that resemble mosquitoes.
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, however we will still be able to provide service without a one (results may be limited without a sample). Simply swat a mosquito and save it or tape it to a piece of paper for the District employee.
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.
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.
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.
You can greatly minimize the risk of disease transmission by never handling bats, not breathing dust from bat droppings, and vaccinating your dogs and cats against rabies. Please click here for more information.
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.).
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.
All 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. The vast majorities of bee swarms in Contra Costa County are ordinary European honey bees in pursuit of a permanent home and are docile unless provoked. Both European and Africanized honey bees are non-aggressive in this stage as they are not protecting their honey nor their hive. The swarms typically move away in a day or two. Do not kill, swat or threaten the bees because that may cause them to release a pheromone that incites other bees to become aggressive in an effort to protect their colony.
District services for bees are very limited. The District does not respond to bee stinging incidents. In the case of a bee stinging incident that requires emergency services, please call 911 for assistance. We treat bee swarms or hives that are a threat to people in public areas such as a school or shopping center. The District does not treat bee hives that are in or on a structure or on private property. The District does not determine if bees are Africanized or European.
For help with bee swarm collection/removal, please visit the Mount Diablo Beekeeper’s Association online or contact a colony removal specialist or a private pest control company.
For more information about Africanized honey bees, click here:
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.
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.
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 (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.