Painted Lady butterflies in March, more mosquitoes in April?


Have you seen them? University City is “blooming” with painted lady butterflies, the result of Winter rains, according to Chris Conlan, with the San Diego County’s Vector Control office. The butterflies build up their populations in the deserts near the Mexican border where it’s a little warmer and then begin migrating north, laying eggs all along the way on the various weeds and flowers they use for food. Eventually they will end up in northern California and Oregon to spend the Summer. The increase in the normal painted lady butterfly migration this year is due to the abundance of rain and could last into April.

Conlan indicated that the same conditions that create more butterflies are likely to mean increased numbers of other insects. Residents are likely to notice more insects such as crane flies, spiders, gnats, ticks, beetles and other crawlers. It could also mean an increase in mosquitoes and other vectors.

The Vector Control Program monitors the population of vectors — animals like ticks, fleas, rodents and mosquitoes — that can transmit diseases to people. For more information about how to protect against vectors and the kinds of diseases they can spread, visit the County’s Vector Control program at


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