EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors held an off-site meeting in Salton City where residents were encouraged to voice their concerns.
Resident Miriam Juarez reported an increase in mosquito activity in the neighborhood.
The Imperial County Public Health Department conducted an investigation in which they visited the resident’s home and other areas throughout the Salton City community. The Public Health Department concluded the pests were not mosquitoes, but boatmen bugs.
According to the report, “Boatmen bugs are not a vector, disease-transmitting insect, or an agricultural pest.”
Public Health Department Deputy Director Jeff Lamoure explained the increase in boatmen bugs throughout the community is due to the decreasing fish population in the Salton Sea; fish ate the adults and larvae, keeping the bug populations low.
According to Lamoure, residents have reported an increase in boatmen bugs over the last two years. Based on reports, Lamoure said the activity seems to increase in late September and throughout October, lasting approximately one-and-a-half to two months.
Boatmen bugs breed in all bodies of water, including lakes, residential pools, etc. When looking for new breeding sites, adult bugs tend to swarm, and at night, are attracted to light sources. Lamoure recommends reducing light sources at night and checking screens on windows and doors to eliminate breeding locations.
One of the challenges of boatmen bug infestation, according to Lamoure’s report, is that there is no known effective chemical treatment to be used in the Salton Sea to control the breeding of the bugs.
Lamoure recommends that residents with pools maintain chlorine levels to eliminate algae, which is the bug’s primary source of food. He also said installing a pool filter “savor” sock in pool skimmers will prevent bugs from getting into pool filters, damaging them. Using a pool cover during high bug activity times can also help.
The population of the boatmen bug throughout Imperial County will continue to be monitored and recorded, according to Lamoure.