The MAC Team, West Nile Virus and Mosquito Prevention

  • Posted by admin
  • On July 10, 2012
  • bike courier, integrated pest management, mosquito abatement, mosquito bikers, pestec, san francisco, san francisco bike, west nile virus

Mosquito season is officially underway in California. Mosquito populations in twenty California counties have tested positive for West Nile Virus, including San Francisco’s neighbor to the south San Mateo County according to the California Department of  Public Health West Nile Virus Website. With record breaking heat waves effecting most of the United States, many experts are predicting an increase in disease carrying mosquitoes. But don’t worry San Francisco, the SF PUC Mosquito Abatement Courier Team (MAC Team) has been working since March to keep the City’s mosquito population in check.

The MAC Team rides the streets of San Francisco from Spring to Fall inspecting all of the City’s catch basins for mosquito activity and treating with a microbial larvacide when necessary. The bikers are helping keep the City’s mosquito population to a minimum to reduce the spread of mosquito borne diseases and there are a few things the residents of San Francisco can do to help.

First, you can contact us about mosquito activity on the streets in your neighborhood and we can investigate the cause. Report unusual mosquito activity to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Mosquito Control program at (415) 252-3806, or 311. You can also report dead birds online at or by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473). 

Property owners/managers and tenants can also help prevent mosquito activity on their property. Everyone should observe the following precautions:

  • Eliminate standing water to prevent mosquitoes that can carry the West Nile virus. Property owners/managers are required to eliminate all standing water sources. Water will also attract wildlife, rodents and other unwanted pests.
  • Repair or install window screens, or close windows before dusk.
  • Cover exposed skin when mosquitoes are active.
  • Do not over-water gardens. Allow the surface to dry between watering.
  • If you or a family member have been bitten by mosquitoes and develop high fever, with severe headache or stiff neck, contact your health care provider immediately.

The San Francisco Department of Health has some helpful tips for eliminating mosquito activity on your property in their Homeowner and Resident Checklist of Mosquito Sources:

Mosquitoes must have standing water to develop! Use these recommendations to eliminate common mosquito breeding grounds.

  • Fishponds: Stock with fish, remove excess vegetation and construct properly.
  • Swimming Pool & Spas: Chlorinate, cover tightly when not in use, and keep water off co cover. Drain or stock with fish if not in use.
  • Bird Bath: Change water frequently, at least once a week.
  • Containers: Empty, invert, dispose of, or cover to prevent mosquito entrance (boats, buckets, drums, etc.).
  • Basement & Under House: Drain the area and keep dry; correct leaky plumbing, dripping air conditioning or refrigeration. Water in basements or under ho houses can be a major source of mosquitoes in urban areas.
  • Catch Basins & Storm Drains: Do not dispose of litter, oil, paint or garden debris into these. Catch-basins are being treated at least monthly by the City and County to prevent mosquitoes, and are marked.
  • Sump: Construct so that water does not stand, or screen to prevent Mosquito entry.
  • Trim and thin shrubbery: Dense shrubbery is where mosquitoes rest during the day. It can also keep the ground damp by limiting light and air circulation.Avoid over-watering: Allow the ground to dry between watering.
  • Tires: Dispose of properly, or cover so that water does not collect inside.
  • Drains and ditches: Clear litter, weeds or other obstructions and allow water to flow freely.

Avoiding standing water is essential to eliminating mosquito breeding grounds. If you follow the steps above you can help prevent mosquito activity on your property. Remember that West Nile Virus is spread through mosquitoes, so the best way to prevent contracting the disease is to avoid bites, and the best way to avoid bites is to prevent mosquito activity. By maintaining your property, you can help keep the MAC Team fight mosquitoes and help keep San Francisco Healthy.



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