Biting mosquitoes can be a bother and spread disease. Mosquitoes in North Carolina can spread West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and La Crosse Encephalitis.
Most people have mild or no symptoms of these diseases, but a few can get really sick. Symptoms can include sudden:
- High fever,
- Chills, and
If these illnesses get worse, they can cause seizures, coma, brain damage or even death.
People who travel outside of NC may get other diseases from mosquitos. These include Zika Virus, Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya. Learn more about these and other disease you can get while traveling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Going to the American Tropics?
Were you recently in the American Tropics
What to know before you go (Avoid bug bites)
Most mosquito complaints locally are about the Asian Tiger Mosquito which bite in the daytime.
How can I prevent mosquito bites?
- Use air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are in a place where there are mosquitoes inside, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
- If you can, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
- Treat clothing with permethrin or buy clothes treated with permethrin.
- Use an EPA registered insect repellent like DEET on skin:
- If you need both sunscreen and repellent, use them separately, putting on the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
- There is no need to put repellents on skin under clothing.
- Follow the product label when using repellents.
- More information about insect repellent use and safety.
Where do mosquitos breed?
- Mosquito eggs only need about four to five days in still water to hatch. They can become adult mosquitoes within two weeks!
- Mosquitoes lay eggs in water trapped in things around our homes such as rain barrels, buckets, tires, birdbaths, swimming pools, ornamental ponds, pet bowls, gutters and natural areas like ponds, ditches, puddles and wetlands.
How can I prevent mosquitos around my home?
The best way to stop mosquitoes from breeding is to get rid of the water they breed in. You can help by:
- Tipping and tossing standing water in:
- pet bowls
- wading pools
- tire swings
- Throwing out empty bottles, cans, used tires and other garbage that water can collect in.
- Turning over buckets, planters, wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
- Keeping your home repaired:
- Clean rain gutters so that water flows freely
- Fix dripping hoses and faucets
- Repair septic problems
- Make sure water drains from ditches
- Check sprinkler systems for standing water
- Covering rain barrels with screens and seal openings around pipes, door screens, etc., with rubber gaskets or caulking.
- Treating standing water. If you cannot drain standing water, treat it with a chemical larvicide such as Mosquito Dunks. These are put in standing water and work by not letting mosquito eggs hatch. You can buy them at your hardware or garden store. Follow the product label.
- Buying pond fish. These are fish that eat a lot of insect eggs in ponds. You can buy them at pet stores. Be careful not to put these fish into water that drains into streams or rivers. They can harm other fish and wildlife.
- Thinning shrubs and cutting down tall grass and weeds will also help reduce mosquitoes as they inhabit cool, shady areas to escape hot temperatures that can be deadly to mosquitoes. Mosquitos love English Ivy!
- Adding a bat box. Bat boxes are homes for bats. One bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour!
- Spraying or hiring someone to spray insecticides around your home. These insecticides can drift during spraying. Please talk to your neighbors about your plans before spraying. Some people have bad reactions to these sprays. Some sprays may also kill needed insects like beetles, lady bugs, honey bees and lacewings as well as fish. These insecticides should not be allowed to get on fruits and vegetables that will be eaten.
- Wake County does NOT operate a spraying program.
Who do I call if I have a complaint about mosquitoes?
- If you have a complaint about mosquitoes, please call the Wake County Environmental Services at 919-856-7541.
- If you have questions about diseases you can get from mosquitoes, you can call:
- your doctor
- the Communicable Disease staff at Wake County Health & Human Services at 919-250-4462 or
- the Communicable Disease Section of the NC Division of Public Health at 919-733-3419.
Where can I get more information?
- Mosquitoes and Ticks pocket guide
- Stop mosquitoes from breeding around your home! (WCHHS)
- Healthy Traveling brochure (WCHHS)
- Traveler's Health (CDC website)
- Mosquito-borne Illness in NC (NC DHHS)
- Going to the American Tropics? (CDC)
- Pregnant? Protect yourself (CDC)
- Were you recently in the American Tropics? (CDC)
- What to know before you go (prevent bug bites) (CDC)
- Sick with Chikungunya, Zika or Dengue? (CDC)