The Orange County Mosquito Safety Division is charged with the task to battle the mosquito populations and keep their populations under control. In part because they’re annoying and make you itchy, but mainly because mosquitoes sometimes carry diseases that can harm people, pets, and livestock.
The Mosquito Defense Network (not their official name, we just like it) employs a myriad of different techniques to swat away the mosquito problem, but we recently learned of one of their secret weapons; fish.
According to Kelly Deutsch, Manager of the Mosquito Control Division (that’s the official name), has been distributing populations of a native fish called the Gambusia (or Mosquito Fish – guess why) around in lakes, ponds, and bodies of water for years.
Sometimes called topminnows, Mosquito Fish are commonly found in natural bodies of fresh water, and the OCMCD (Orange County Mosquito Control Division) has been raising them in abandoned swimming pools, nearby lakes, retention ponds, and in two breeding tanks at their head offices to increase their population while simultaneously planting them in new waterbodies that they’re not already present in, as often as possible.
Deutsch is basically the Johnny Appleseed of Mosquito Fish, a “Johnny Gambusia” if you will.
The program will soon be expanded with the hopes of increasing the amount that is bred in captivity so they can release them more frequently.
Side Note: They’re viviparious, which means they give birth to live young, not eggs.
Orange County residents can order a school free-of-charge by calling the 311 help line and requesting the service. The amount of fish you receive will depend on the size of the water body you want to seed. Don’t call them about buckets or bird baths, that’s ridiculous. Just empty them out once a week to keep larvae from hatching.
Side Note: Deutsch told us that contrary to the popular belief that bats will eat all of your mosquitoes, they really prefer moths and beetles. Mosquitoes are too small and require a lot more energy to catch. But you should still put up those bat houses, they need a little added help nowadays.
Click HERE for more information on the County’s mosquito programs.