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There are several diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitoes:

Healthcare Provider information on Zika Virus is available on our Emergent Health Issues page.

Mosquito-borne infections can range from mild symptoms that can be treated at home to more severe infections requiring hospitalization for care. In rare cases, death can occur.

Preventing and minimizing exposure to mosquitoes and their bites is the best defense against mosquito-borne illnesses. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Use insect repellent anytime you are outside. View our "How to Choose an Insect Repellent??" flyer to learn more. 
  • Keep a can of insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin near your front door, in the shed or garage, or even your car. Read labels carefully for age restrictions and instructions on how to apply. For the greatest assurance for selecting a safe and effective repellent, select a product registered by the EPA or use their easy search tool.
  • Wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Maintain your property. Keep grass mowed and shrubbery trimmed and maintained. Eliminate stagnant water by cleaning gutters, emptying recycling containers and bins, and disposing of used tires. Install and repair screens: Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tips Sheet.


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.