Fight the Bite!

Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy. They can make you really sick.

Mosquito-borne diseases are spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Diseases that are spread to people include Zika virus, LaCrosse encephalitis, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria. Mosquitoes also carry diseases and parasites that affect dogs and horses, including dog heartworm, West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

Although most people do not become sick after a bite from an infected mosquito, some people have a mild, short-term illness or (rarely) severe or long-term illness. Severe cases of mosquito-borne diseases can cause death.

Not all mosquitoes are the same.

391296 03: FILE PHOTO: An Asian Tiger mosquito in an undated photo. Officials are warning about a rare mosquito invading the West Coast that has been known to carry Dengue fever and other diseases abroad. Health officials say that the bugs are coming from Asia in shipments of popular bamboo plants. (Photo by Jack Leonard/New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board/Getty Images)

Asian Tiger mosquito. (Photo by Jack Leonard/New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board/Getty Images)

Different mosquitoes spread different viruses and bite at different times of the day.

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus spread Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika viruses. They like to live in and around people’s homes and are primarily daytime biters, although they can also bite at night.

Culex species spread West Nile virus and bite from evening to morning.

 

 

Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

 

USE INSECT REPELLENT

a human hand pointing to the instructions on a can of insect repellent

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
A chart showing examples of insect repellents broken down by active ingredients and product brands that contain those ingredients. The first active ingredient listed is DEET. Some examples of brand name products containing DEET are OFF, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon. The second active ingredient listed is Picaridin, also know as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icardin. Some examples of brand name products containing Picaridin are Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan, which is found outside the United States. The third active ingredient listed is Oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. An example of a brand name product containing Oil of lemon eucalyptus is Repel. The fourth and final active ingredient listed is IR3535. Some examples of brand name products containing IR3535 are Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.

*See EPA’s search tool here.

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Mosquito Repellent Tips

  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
  • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Natural insect repellents (repellents not registered with EPA)

  • We do not know the effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents, including some natural repellents.
  • To protect yourself against diseases like chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, CDC and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness.
  • Visit the EPA website to learn more.

 

PROTECT YOUR BABY OR CHILD

a babies crib covered by a mosquito net
  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or cut or irritated skin. an adult male applying insect repellent to a child's face
    • Adults: spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
    • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

a bottle of insect repellent shown spraying clothing
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Treat items such as boots, pants, socks, and tents with permethrin* or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
    • Permethrin-treated clothing will protect you after multiple washings. See product information to find out how long the protection will last.
    • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions.
    • Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.

*In some places, such as Puerto Rico, where permethrin products have been used for years in mosquito control efforts, mosquitoes have become resistant to it. In areas with high levels of resistance, use of permethrin is not likely to be effective.

MOSQUITO-PROOF YOUR HOME

a mosquito protected house

Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs.

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.illustration of a woman pouring water from a bucket
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
  • For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.

Kill mosquitoes outside your home

  • Use an outdoor insect spray made to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest.
    • Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.

Keep mosquitoes out of your home

  • Install or repair and use window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open.
  • Use air conditioning when possible.

Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like vases and flowerpot saucers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.illustration of a mosquito that has been crossed out with a red mark

Kill mosquitoes inside your home

  • Use an indoor insect fogger* or indoor insect spray* to kill mosquitoes and treat areas where they rest.
    • These products work immediately, and may need to be reapplied. When using insecticides, always follow label directions. Using insecticide only will not keep your home free of mosquitoes.
    • Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid places like under the sink, in closets, under furniture, or in the laundry room.