What follows the monsoon rains? Bugs. More specifically, floodwater mosquitoes are likely to be all over the place thanks to big storms that rolled through the Valley last weekend.
The Vector Control mosquito experts at Maricopa County Environmental Services said the biting bugs can hatch and live their entire life cycle in just a bottle cap full of water. Three to six days after a big rain is prime time for millions of mosquito eggs to hatch across the Valley and desert areas near the city.
“Real nasty biters,” said John Townsend, director of Maricopa County’s Vector Control unit. “[Floodwater mosquitoes] don't live very long. So after they've hatched out those females want to come get a blood meal so they can lay more eggs and the next time it rains they'll hatch."
This starts the vicious cycle. The worse monsoon season turns out to be, the more bites you'll battle.
Vector control sets mosquito traps all over the Valley, tracking how many there and testing for the disease.
So far this year they haven’t found any Zika. But they have found 62 samples that tested positive for West Nile virus.
Vector control fogs the spots where disease mosquitoes are caught, or anywhere they find too many mosquitoes in general. They deploy a secret mosquito assassin — little Gambusia fish dumped in ponds and abandoned pools.
“The mosquitos are up there on the top because they have to breathe air, the larvae have to breathe air,” said Townsend. “And they'll come up and eat them.”
Maricopa County will actually give you free Gambusia fish if you believe it could help control mosquitoes on your property. You can also file a mosquito complaint with the county.
However, one of the easiest mosquito control techniques is to empty any standing water on your property right after any rain.