Allison Bray, Environmental Health Specialist II, County of San Diego, Vector Control Program
San Diego is home to several species of mosquito that can spread diseases, including a recent arrival – the invasive Aedes mosquito. This species behaves a little differently than San Diego’s native mosquitoes. It bites during the day and prefers to breed in small containers of water (as little as ¼”) in and around people’s homes. Finding these small breeding sources can be tricky, and many residents don’t even know what they should be looking for.
In true Girl Scout form, scouts across San Diego have stepped in to help all residents Be Prepared! As part of the San Diego County Vector Control “Fight the Bite” patch project, Girl Scouts are spreading the word about preventing mosquito breeding. Each scout visits friends, family members and neighbors to survey them about their existing knowledge of mosquitoes and to inspect their homes and yards for standing water (which they dump out). The scouts then share information with their community to fill in knowledge gaps they identified during their surveys and to share where residents should be looking for standing water based on their inspections.
Girl Scout troop 6602 based out of the City of Chula Vista was the first group to complete the project. When asked about their favorite part, the scouts agreed that it was when they went around looking for and dumping out standing water. One scout’s grandmother had been having problems with mosquitoes, and when the scout inspected her backyard, she found several potential breeding sources, including a flower vase containing just a small amount of water.
As a reward for completing the project, each scout received a “Fight the Bite” patch, and the entire troop was invited for a tour of the Vector Control facility where the scouts learned all about mosquito control and potential careers in vector control.
For more information about the Girl Scout patch project or how to prevent mosquito breeding in your own community, visit: www.SDFightTheBite.com or contact the Vector Control Program at: (858) 694-2888.