If mosquitoes are hovering over your green swimming pool, it's time to drain the water for the good of the community, abatement officials said.
The Merced County Abatement District recently took aerial photographs to see if and how many neglected swimming pools there are in the county, according to a news release.
Officials found that there were 1,679 neglected swimming pools in Merced County that could be ripe breeding grounds for mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis Virus, the release states.
"This is the first time Merced County Mosquito Abatement District has used aerial photography to assess the neglected swimming pool situation," said General Manager Rhiannon Jones, noting the number of pools was much higher than expected.
In previous years, the district had monitored neglected swimming pools through people calling service requests and regular monitoring of pools, Jones told the Sun-Star Wednesday. The number of neglected pools was expected to be about 150.
The majority of neglected pools discovered by the district, 1,180, were considered "green," meaning that they weren't being chlorinated and maintained, leading to a growth in algae.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in that water because larvae feed on that algae, Jones said.
The 289 neglected pools deemed "empty" during storms could hold rainwater that also attracts mosquitoes, Jones said. And 208 of the pools were considered "murky," meaning it was transitioning to becoming "green."
The district will soon be sending owners of neglected pools letters with a photo of the neglected pool "strongly encouraging" them to maintain their pools, Jones said.
These steps can be taken by pool owners to help mosquito abatement:
- Drain standing water
- Use algaecide and/or chlorine to clean pools
- Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are around, usually dawn and dusk
- Report neglected swimming pools to the district at 209-722-1527
- Those who can't afford to maintain pools can call the district for a home inspection treatment
- Those who don't want chemicals in the pool can be provided mosquito larvae-eating fish for the pool