In New York City, there are 51 different types of mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes do not transmit disease, and some do not bite humans at all. Some mosquitoes have the ability to spread diseases like the West Nile virus or Zika virus.
Keeping Mosquitoes Out
Mosquitoes are attracted to light. They will fly to bright windows at night and gather on and around doors with outside porch lights. Mosquitoes can easily fly into homes when doors are opened. The following steps will help prevent mosquitoes from entering your home:
- Repair any holes in window screens.
- Place door sweeps on doors that have large gaps at the top or bottom.
- Replace porch lights with yellow bulbs (mosquitoes aren't usually attracted to yellow bulbs).
- Close gaps in window mounted air conditioners.
Mosquitoes that Breed Year-Round
Some mosquitoes may breed year-round, but mosquitoes that breed during colder months do not carry the West Nile or Zika viruses. Colder weather mosquitoes live mainly in sewers, wet or damp cellars, or in blocked drains.
If you have mosquitoes in your home during colder months, you should:
- Inspect basement walls and ceilings for mosquitoes.
- Use caulk to fill gaps between waste pipes entering your home and the floors or walls.
- Install fine metal screens on all tubs and sinks.
- Hire an exterminator certified by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
Traveling to a Place Where Mosquitoes are Spreading Zika
If you are traveling to an affected area, take steps to avoid mosquitoes. The type of mosquito linked to the current Zika outbreak is very aggressive. These mosquitoes bite during the day and early evening.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under 3 years old).
- Use repellents approved by the EPA and follow the directions on the label.
- Apply sunscreen first, then repellent.
- Insect repellent is safe for pregnant women.
- Do not use insect repellent on infants younger than 2 months old. Do not allow young children to apply insect repellent themselves.
- Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or any irritated skin or cuts.
- Adults and children should wear long sleeves and pants. Wear clothing treated with permethrin (a chemical that repels insects).
- Stay in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
- Use a mosquito bed net if you cannot keep mosquitoes out of your residence. Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- Get rid of standing water that collects in and around your residence, because standing water attracts mosquitoes.
- If you are sexually active and not pregnant, health experts recommend using birth control and condoms while you travel and for a time after you return home. Condoms may stop Zika from spreading sexually. Birth control helps prevent pregnancies in which one or both sex partners might have Zika. For more information, visit the Birth Control page.
Learn more about preventing mosquitoes and mosquito bites.
Learn more about the Zika virus.