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.
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
*See EPA’s search tool here.
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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.
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.