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Outdoors Activities During Mosquito Season

When is mosquito season in New York City?
Mosquitoes are most active from April to October.

Is there a specific time of day when mosquitoes are most active?
Mosquitoes tend to be most active, and tend to bite more, between dusk and dawn.

Should I take personal precautions against mosquito bites during the day?
It is not necessary to take personal precautions during the day when mosquitoes are much less active. However, long pants, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and socks should be worn during the day in areas where there are weeds, tall grass, or bushes. In addition, insect repellents containing the active ingredients DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus helps people reduce their exposure to mosquito bites that may cause West Nile virus. For more information, see the Insect Repellant Use and Safety Fact Sheet. Taking these precautions will minimize the possibility of exposure to mosquitoes.

Should I stay indoors and limit outdoor activities?
It is not necessary to limit outdoor activities but precautions should be taken from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus?
From June through October, when mosquitoes are most active, take the following precautions:

  • Wear protective clothing such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are searching for a blood meal.
  • Avoid shaded, bushy areas where mosquitoes like to rest.
  • Limit outdoor evening activity, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to help reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Always read the repellents label. For more information, see DOHMH's Insect Repellent Use and Safety Fact Sheet.
What can I do around my home to help reduce exposure to mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing or slow moving water. Also weeds, tall grass, and bushes provide an outdoor resting place for mosquitoes. In residential areas, standing water can accumulate in unused tires, cans, unused pools and pool covers and other receptacles that collect water. Mosquitoes can enter homes through unscreened windows or doors, or broken screens. Eliminate standing water and prevent mosquitoes from entering your home:

  • Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
  • Remove all discarded tires from your property.
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water?holding containers.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. If not in use, keep empty and covered.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Change the water in bird baths at least every 3 or 4 days.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears or holes.
  • Remind or help neighbors to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites on their properties.

Some local hardware stores may carry a product called Mosquito Dunk® that contains a larvicide - Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) - for use in areas of standing water around the home. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends eliminating standing water around the home to reduce breeding sites for mosquitoes and warns that direct handling of larvicides may cause skin and eye irritation. Use these products only as directed by manufacturer. If these products are purchased for home use, we recommend careful reading of the hazards label, directions, and details regarding storage and handling.

How will the public be notified in advance about spraying activities?
Residents can learn about adulticiding schedules in advance through public service announcements, the media, the City's website (nyc.gov/health/wnv), or by calling 311, the City's Information Line. DOHMH will provide notification at least 24 hours prior to a spray event.

If the City sprays pesticides, what should I do during the spraying?
If spraying occurs in an area where you are, DOHMH recommends that all individuals take the following precautions to avoid direct exposure to pesticides and to reduce the risk of any reactions to pesticides:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying.
  • Some individuals are sensitive to pesticides. Persons with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since there is a possibility that spraying could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on. But if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the recirculate function.
  • Remove toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outside areas. If toys are left outside, wash them with soap and d water before using again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water.
  • Always wash your produce thoroughly before cooking or eating.

Anyone experiencing adverse reactions to pesticides should seek medical care or call 311 or the NYC Poison Control Center at (212) POISONS (764-7667).

For more information on West Nile virus, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/health/wnv.

Last Updated: August 31, 2012