Why can't California have mosquitoes?

sammy zone 7 TulsaJune 22, 2007

We live in Oklahoma where there are loads of mosquitoes, and there is the hottest sun.

I asked my daughter the other day if she used bug spray when she walked her cats, and she said that California doesn't have mosquitoes like Oklahoma does. I am so jealous.

I have to spray for mosquitoes. We have a creek running through the back of our yard, and the spray is necessary. If I put on a sun block first, the OFF doesn't seem to work as well. (I use Deep Woods Off). My skin looks funny. My forearms are dark brown, but my upper arms are white. I have so much sun on the back of my neck. I know the greasy texture of the Off must attract the sun.

Do any of you use a product that you find tolerable to ward off the dangerous rays of sun and bugs?

I have not seen any advertised, and I think Avon is the only place where I am aware of one being sold. I don't really like their products, and would like to find something else. I must have the strong Deet since the mosquitoes are so awful. They are bad all season, not just now.

Do you have suggestions?

Sammy

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pagan(8b)

I am with you on that one... to judge from what I see on the tube, california has NO insects and outdor living is at it's finest!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 8:13PM
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labrea_gw

Agents arent the only bloodsuckers in California

Here is a link that might be useful: Holly bloodsuckers

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 8:33PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Well, my daughter has gone camping, walks her cats daily, and spends much of her time outside. Perhaps she is eating something very healthful that is repelling mosquitoes.

Labrea, thank you for that link. It was very informative and discouraging at the same time. I wish there were alternatives to Deet, and it looks like there are not.

Pagan, we do see people in California doing whatever they want without worrying about mosquitoes. I have called the city actually twice this week. They came out Tues. evening and sprayed, and came today to put things in the creek. (Then it rained, and I hope did not wash them away.)

Sammy

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 9:19PM
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aprille(z9 CA bay area)

We do see the occasional Mosquito here ... but nothing quite as bad as we have back home in Sri Lanka - when we go for visits we don't take any of the mosquito repellents from here b'cos none work! Try Citronella Oil - a few dabs here and there keep the mosquitoes away - but it smells really strong.

Aprille

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 12:41AM
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farmgirl(9 NoCA)

I don't know why you think California doesn't get mosquitos. We have abatement programs and large scale night-time spraying programs done with planes, despite the objections of various environmental groups. We've had outbreaks of West Nile fever as well. One does not venture out at dusk or after dark without dealing with the little buzzards. You didn't say where your daughter lives. I'm in Sacramento, barely above sea level, with miles of rivers, creeks, streams, sloughs and the ever popular delta region. What remains of irrigated farm land is also a breeding place, especially the rice farms. We are "encouraged" to empty anything that could hold more than a tablespoon of water. It doesn't take much water to provide a breeding place for 'skeeters.

And the sun is just as brutal here. I've upgraded my sunscreen to an SPF 50. I also wear a large-brimmed hat and had custom sunglasses made for the glare. If you do not like the feeling of your current bug repellant, Avon's Skin So Soft is supposed to work as well, altho it is difficult to apply to clothing to prevent deer ticks and the Lyme Disease they carry.

I am thankful that we don't have chiggers.

Carol

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 1:55AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Thank you Aprille and Carol.
She lives in Riverside, and is hoping to move to Santa Cruz. She has lived in Monterrey and San Diego. She mentioned casually that she did not have to worry about them in Riverside like she does in Oklahoma. It may be that because of West Nile Virus you have more diligent spray programs than we do in Oklahoma where we have hard freezes every year. However, here in Oklahoma we always give heart worm pills to the dogs year round since we can have very high temps in any month. It is just that we will also have winter freezes.

I simply hate the smell of Skin So Soft and have read that it is not that effective. I also hate the smell of Off, but it does seem to work. When I go in the sun, I put on Banana Boat SPF 30 then Off (Deet 25) I feel like a greasy mess, and I wonder if the Off doesn't destroy some of the SPF 30.

Frankly I never thought that the state of California would allow spray programs since so many people there seem to be environmentally aware.

Sammy

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 7:19AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I hate mosquitos and noseeums - I really can't go out without a spray, certainly not past evening. I tried a product called Bug N Sun, and it did not work at all for me [I am a total mosquito magnet]. It had less than 10% Deet, which is less than the back woods Off you are using [me, too]. It was supposed to combine SPF and Deet, but I give it a thumbs down for effectiveness.

There is a combined product from Hilton Head with natural ingredients that actually really worked, but I can't get the product name to come to me :( The SPF was low, though. Bug Off! [?] I'll look it up.

They say catnip was proven to really repel mosquitos, so I may try a decoction.

Attract bats using a bat house, I'm told. I love bats but don't know if the bathouses really attract them.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 7:47AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Mosquitos love me and the only thing I've found that works is a repellent that DH sells. Off does nothing but attract them to me!
Sammy, send me your address in e-mail.

Carla

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 9:33AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Well, I found one place that sells Pest-Off [the right name] online.

We get it at a local health food shop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pest Off mail order

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 9:46AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Carla, will do.

Meredith, they do not list any ingredients anywhere on their site. I think the fragrances would be good, but I don't know if there will be a good insecticide in the spray.

Sammy

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 10:55AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I know; it must be to keep the active ingredient[s] secret, but it does work well. It's all natural and that surprised me as well as it works!

Did y'all have Brendle's stores in OK? Doug Brendle found this product in Hilton Head and they sell it in his Health stores. He was a big fisherman.

It used to have SPF 8, but they have changed the bottle. I don't know if it's still made in Hilton Head or not... a hard thing to track down nowadays apparently. I'll go to the herb shop again and get a bottle for more details and to USE :)

I've been doing the backwoods OFF thing, and that doesn't seem to last long is my problem with it. I don't know that I mind Deet, BTW.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 11:10AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I will check for the stores, but I must say that I don't know that Deet bothers me as much as the odor of Deep Woods Off. I bought a pump bottle the other day, and it has a different fragrance. It almost made me sick, and the pump spray hurt my hand. Gee I feel weak at times. I don't see how anyone could use that pump repeatedly around a body.

Sammy

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 11:18AM
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nickelsmumz8(8)

California does have mosquitoes, and it does also have huge abatement programs!

But it really is more annoying-bug-free than most places in the US.

OTOH, you pay handsomely for the privilege of living there.

Bugs around here are not bad, either.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 12:16PM
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ramblinrosez7b(JerseyShore)

The mosquito is New Jersey's state bird. We have tons of mosquitos. Mosquitos like the humidity I think and it is so dry in Calif. I lived in Southern CA for many years and never got bit by any mosquitos, there were none. California does have smog, where I lived anyway, but every state has something.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 3:45PM
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farmgirl(9 NoCA)

Sammy:
I apologize for ripping about the 'skeeters. I'd just been swarmed on despite the application of bug killer. SoCal is reclaimed desert. What water they have comes from either the Colorado River or from the norther half of the state. Up here, we do not discuss politics, religion or water rights in polite conversation. We pay a premium for water or suffer shortages so SoCal can have far too many golf courses and swimming pools. I lived briefly in San Diego and La Mesa many years ago. I enjoyed the beaches but not the hot, dry inland areas.

The environmental groups lose out to Agriculture when a new crop pest shows up like the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter that ravaged the vineyards. But the E-groups can shut down a construction site in a heart beat on behalf of a frog, newt, bird or obscure fish. In defense of mass spraying programs, it isn't just people that are being protected. The large horse population in the state is subject to mosquito-borne diseases like equine encephalitis. The poultry industry also has a vested interest in mosquito control.

I hope you find something to help with your bugs. I'm getting ready to declare war on ants, earwigs, slugs and snails.

Carol

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 9:55PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I just think it is funny that the spray program keeps down the bugs. We need more of it here. If you find anything for ants, let me know. We had an invasion of odorous ants in our house once, and it took the bug company a year to get rid of them. (Do not ever let the city deliver mulch unless you have a place to store it that is way far away from your house. It could be loaded with ants or termites.)

Sammy

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 4:56PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Just for the record, we do not have a spray program for mosquitos in San Diego County. We have no water either. This last winter we had far less than our normal 10 inches of rain. Mosquitos need water to breed, ergo...no mosquito problem.
Howevah... if I turn off the pump on my pot fountain for a week, I get mosquito lavae developing, so they are around, if they can find standing water. Go up to the mountains where there are seasonal creeks, springs, and waterfalls, and...surprise! Mosquitos! Nasty little buggers, too.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 11:13PM
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farmgirl(9 NoCA)

Sammy:
For ants, I've used many of the products available for exterior application: sprays, powders, granules. Unless you get down into the heart of the nest, nothing much helps. However, if you can bear the wait of using bait, try Terro in either the syrup form for inside the house or the powder for outside nests. The ants will swarm to the syrup, drink their fill, carry it back to the nest and, in about a week, no ants. The powder is more of a tracking-type. They carry it back to the nest. Again, no ants in about a week. I had the little beggars in the walls of the house. I didn't want to drill holes thru the sheetrock and spray.

Carol

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 2:56AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Catkim, my daughter lived in San Diego for a number of years, and now lives near Los Angeles.

Carol, Terro didn't work for me. I have gotten Max Force online, but we had to resort to the pros. We had a true infestation - they were everywhere. There is something about the odorous ants, that they will feel threatened, and make multiple queens, and keep on reproducing. It was just awful. Also Terro liquid dries hard, and is a bad thing to get on the window ledges.

Sammy

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 6:21AM
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Molineux(6b)

My late father worked for mosquitoe control in VA for several years and the exposure to the pesticides (along with the long term second hand exposure to cigarette smoke at his part time job in a pool hall) proved a contributing factor to his later development of Chronic Obstructive Disease (COPD). For those who aren't familiar with it, COPD is a persistent inflamation of the lungs (usually caused by chronic bronchitis or emphysema) that permanently obstructs the airways. It has been linked to allergies, smoking, and exposure to pesticides. It is also the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. My father died at the age of 64, 8 days before his 65th birthday.

Now back to mosquitos. We have tiger mosquitos here in Maryland. West-nile virus outbreaks have in the past been reported and are linked to the mosquitos. The biting insects are relentless. An unprotected person can't step outdoors for five minutes without becoming attacked. I've tried Skin-so-Soft and the mosquitos just laugh at it. The only thing that has worked for me is Deep Woods Off. I would be willing to pay a lot of money for a version of it that combined the high level of DEET with a spf 30(or higher) sunscreen. I worry what the longterm DEET exposure will do to my health but frankly I'm more worried about the mosquito borne pathogens.

When working outside I spray down with Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock SPF 45, followed by an application of Deep Woods Off. Both products work well together. I do wear a headband or hat to keep sweat out of my eyes because the sunblock/DWO mix can really sting.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 9:00AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Longterm DEET exposure, yeah, see that's a quandry for me, too. It's just that I use it SO OFTEN in the garden, all over so much of my skin.

Well, HERE is the link I'd use to buy the Pest-Off online. This is the bottle I have, with the cartoon bug on the front. No Deet, works better for me than Deep Woods OFF and has a much better scent and feel. Some sunscreen, at least...

Here is a link that might be useful: Pest-Off best link

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 9:37AM
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farmgirl(9 NoCA)

The Bullfrog line of sunscreens now has one with insect repellent added. I think it's supposed to be fragance-free as well. Has anyone tried it?

On the subject of COPD, my mother had it. A combination of old TB scars, San Joaquin Valley Fever (a fungus) and smoking. She died in 2000. My father has it. Still smokes. We lived on the fringe of my grandmother's orchard where some of the now-outlawed insecticides, like DDT, were sprayed annually and drifted over the house. We had cattle and I was doused with the spray used to control various flies as well. It was my job to stir the herd while Dad applied the spray. The odds are not in my favor.

Carol

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 9:39AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Patrick, I made a note of that product, and will get it today.

Meredith, I will order that one today as well. Thanks.

Carol, What a bummer! So much for the healthful country living!

I grew up in Indiana, and so many of my friends lived on farms where they were exposed to almost everything. I wonder if they also have been exposed to these products.

Sammy

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 11:06AM
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Molineux(6b)

I noticed the second dead bird in my yard last Friday. Swarms of mosquitos. Looks like the west nile is back.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 10:36AM
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debrazone9socal(z9losangeles)

There is no large general abatement "program" for mosquitos or any other bugs. Abatement is driven by conditions, which usually means there is standing water which could be a breeding ground. Abatement usually consists of removing the water. The only spraying program (other than agricultural spraying) I'm aware of was several years ago when an introduction of non-native species was creating problems. Even then, it was limited to areas where needed.

California is subtropical, and very arid in comparison to anywhere east of the Rockies, as is most of the West. This has a significant effect on populations of pests who thrive on moisture (of course, we've got other critters....like scorpions!).

The warm water of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico (because of the Gulf Stream) causes the air blown inland towards the east coast, south and midwest to be very moist and much of the weather there is influenced by this (especially when it mixes with cold air coming from Canada...watch out!). However, west of the Rockies there is no influence on the climate of this warm, moist air. The Pacific is much colder than the Atlantic, so the air blowing inland contains far less moisture, and the dry, arid inland air (or air blown down from Alaska) keeps things dry. The most we get is thick fog ("June gloom") from the mix in spring and summer, as the ocean begins to warm up.

So...we have far fewer rainstorms and less groundwater overall. Most of our water comes from the Sierra snowpack (thank you, Mr. Mulholland, and we're sorry about Mono lake). In the winter the Jet Stream shifts south, and winter storms come our way (usually, anyway), which is why it's our rainy season, and why some raging rivers dry up in the summer months. The further north you are, the more rain you'll have. Hence the greenery of coastal Washington and Orego (although inland Washington is much more arid than you'd expect, because some storms are blocked by the Cascade chain).

So, because we are more arid, we have fewer pests that require standing water to breed. Nevertheless, have I mentioned the fleas? Or ants?

Coastal regions are greatly influenced by the Pacific Ocean air, making these areas almost perfect, climate-wise. There are only a handful of places on earth with similar climates: the south of France and the coast of Chile. But you should not expect "tropical" here. The dry air greatly affects temperature, more so as you travel inland. There can be a 30 degree drop between daytime temps and nightime lows.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 4:21PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Debra, thank you for this information. That is a very good explanation, and easy to understand why my daughter said that California didn't have mosquitoes like Tulsa does.

It is good to hear from you again. I miss the stories of your children, and want to hear more about your jewelry making hobby. I see more and more people wearing jewelry that their family members have made for them.

Sammy

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 6:55PM
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