Vector Control: Be Prepared for a Buggy Spring

Winter storms provided environments conducive to many insects, including mosquitoes

Los Angeles County, Calif. – Recent storms followed by warm temperatures provided the perfect opportunity for many insects to emerge throughout Los Angeles County, which is causing many residents to worry about a surge of mosquitoes.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) is informing residents that many of the “swarming” insects and “giant mosquitoes” are more than likely harmless insects often mistaken for mosquitoes.

Most notable is the common crane fly, which is a harmless, non-biting insect that is larger than a quarter. Crane flies emerge from the soil and have a short life span. Other insects, such as fungus gnats and midges, fuel many “swarming insect” calls received by vector control. They, too, do not transmit any diseases.

Vector control recommends residents remember a simple tip for quick insect identification: If the insect is smaller than a quarter and it bites, it is most likely a mosquito.

Image of mosquito compared to a quarter

Caption: An adult mosquito compared to a quarter

Image of crane fly compared to a quarter

Caption: An adult crane fly compared to a quarter

“Nuisance insects, along with mosquitoes, can be expected when temperatures warm in late winter and early spring,” said Susanne Kluh, Director of Scientific-Technical Services at GLACVCD. “The insect of real concern is the one that bites, and that is the mosquito.”

Vector control urges residents to eliminate any standing water in all containers around the home. Mosquitoes will use any standing water to deposit their eggs. Within a week, hundreds of mosquitoes can emerge from a bucket of standing water.

“Let’s take this opportunity to stop mosquitoes before they take flight,” said Levy Sun, public information officer at GLACVCD. “The risk of West Nile virus, and even Zika outbreaks, can be reduced by simply removing stagnant water sources.”

While residents do their part to tackle the standing water around their homes, vector control staff are in the field monitoring breeding sources and controlling mosquito populations throughout GLACVCD’s jurisdiction. For more information, please visit the GLACVCD’s website at