Frequently Asked Questions
- Do all mosquitoes transmit disease?
No. Most mosquitoes do not transmit disease. While there are about 70 different species of mosquitoes in New York State, only certain species transmit disease, such as West Nile virus.
- Where do mosquitoes live and breed?
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in moist areas, such as standing water. The eggs become larvae that remain in the water until the adults mature and fly off. Weeds, tall grass, and shrubbery provide an outdoor home for adult mosquitoes. They can also enter houses through unscreened windows and doors or broken screens. Many mosquitoes will breed in the water left in containers, such as flowerpots or discarded tires.
- When are mosquitoes most active?
Some mosquitoes are active between dusk and dawn, when the air is calm. However, others will feed at any time of day. Mosquitoes prefer a warm, moist environment. They are active from early summer until late fall in New York State. In southern states, mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile virus year round. New Yorkers should take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites when traveling to these states or countries where mosquito-borne diseases are found.
- How can I protect myself and my family?
To reduce mosquitoes around your home and property, prevent standing water by:
- Disposing of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.
- Disposing of used tires. Used tires are a significant mosquito breeding site. Call your local landfill or Department of Public Works to find out how to dispose of them properly.
- Drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers left outdoors.
- Ensuring roof gutters drain and are free of leaves and other material.
- Removing leaves from yards and gardens.
- Turning over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Changing the water in birdbaths twice weekly.
- Cleaning vegetation and debris from edges of ponds.
- Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
- Draining water from pool covers.
- Using landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
- Should we stay indoors?
It is not necessary to limit outdoor activities. However, you can reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by reducing standing water in your yard, making sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair. You can protect yourself by:
- Wearing shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active. Permethrin-treated clothing will also reduce your risk of mosquito-bites.
- Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors when mosquitoes are biting.