More than 200 residents living around North Jackson Park were treated to E&E Pels Italian ice, a scavenger hunt, interactive games, and prizes at the first ever "Fight the Bite! Block Party" on Saturday, March 11, 2017. The event was hosted by the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, in collaboration with the City of Indio, to raise awareness about an invasive mosquito species in the community.
The park was transformed into a replica of a backyard with a birdbath, lawn chairs, buckets, a wheelbarrow, plants, a kiddie pool, and even pink flamingoes - all items that could hold standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Residents were asked to search all backyard items for plastic immature and adult mosquitoes and then report their findings to mosquito and vector control staff at the park. They then took part in a mosquito toss game where participants won points for throwing stuffed animal mosquitoes into one of six mosquito traps.
Participants who took part in the activities to learn about the mosquitoes and how to get rid of them from their own yards received a coupon that they turned in for a free Italian ice and prizes.
The invasive Aedes mosquito was introduced to California by travelers inadvertently bringing them in via buckets or plants from areas where these mosquitoes exist. Invasive Aedes were first detected in Indio in October 2016. Since then mosquito and vector control staff have been going door-to-door inspecting yards trying to find and rid the community of the potentially dangerous mosquito. The invasive Aedes is capable of transmitting viruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika - viruses not currently transmitted locally anywhere in California by mosquitoes.
Residents are urged to support the continued efforts to rid Indio of this mosquito by carefully inspecting their own yards for standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs and dumping and draining any water they find, even in containers as small as a water bottle cap.
While the mosquito and vector control district started aerial mosquito control applications over the neighborhoods in hopes of reducing the mosquito population, the only lasting solution will be each resident's commitment to eliminating standing water sources from their property. Thank you to all the Indio residents who took part. Call the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District to report mosquito activity at (760) 342-8287 and learn more at www.cvmvcd.org. Let's Fight the Bite. Together!