The 100,000 Mosquitoes That Emerge Daily From Each Neglected Swimming Pool In An Abandoned Ventura County Neighborhood Pose A Serious Public Health Threat

Between November 8th and November 16th, the Woolsey Wildfire devastated urban and suburban areas in both Los Angeles County and Ventura County. In Ventura County, every home in the luxurious Hillside Estate located in a Bell Canyon enclave was destroyed by the fire, causing residents to abandon the neighborhood. Today, the neighborhood remains abandoned and debris ridden, but the swimming pools remain. Taking a dip in these neglected pools is not advisable, as each pool in the neighborhood contains visible scum and many forms of dangerous bacteria. Unfortunately, these pools pose a health threat to residents whether they go swimming in them or not, as experts estimate that as many as 100,000 mosquitoes emerge from each of the 32 pools daily. Luckily, many of these pools are being treated in order to destroy the abundance of mosquito eggs, larvae and mating adults that each pool contains.

There are 15 common mosquito pest species inhabiting Ventura County. Some of these mosquitoes breed within natural water sources and mainly inhabit rural areas, but the most dangerous species maintain an urban habitat where they breed primarily within stagnant water sources found on residential properties. According to Ventura County public health officials, the mosquito-borne diseases that are of concern in the county include St. Louis encephalitis, easter equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, and even malaria, though the latter is exceptionally rare in the US. The recent discovery of West Nile-infected mosquitoes in the county has made the public health threat posed by neglected pools more alarming.

All residential swimming pools serve as breeding sites for disease-carrying mosquito species that maintain urban habitats. However, most swimming pools are regularly maintained and treated with chemicals by homeowners, which discourages mosquito breeding activity. The abandoned pools located within the Hillside Estate neighborhood, on the other hand, were infested with massive amounts of mosquitoes, larvae and eggs, before a treatment program was initiated. Removing all sources of stagnant water on properties leaves urban mosquitoes with very few breeding sources, which reduces urban mosquito populations significantly. Those who own swimming pools should consider covering their pool when its not in use, and it is important to remember that one single teaspoon of water is enough to nurture mosquito eggs and larvae during maturation into flying adults.

Do you think that swimming pool owners should be legally required to cover their pools in order to reduce disease-carrying mosquito populations?