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Personal Precautions Against Mosquitoes

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 & 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 recepticles 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 this larvicide may cause skin and eye irritation. Use this product only as directed by manufacturer. If this product is purchased for home use, we recommend careful reading of the hazards label, directions, and details regarding storage and handling.

To report standing water, call 311, or use the Standing Water Complaint online Form