Mosquito Safety Tips
The most effective way to avoid getting sick from viruses spread by mosquitoes when at home and during travel is to prevent mosquito bites.
Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy. They can spread viruses that make you sick or, in rare cases, cause death. Although most kinds of mosquitoes are just nuisance mosquitoes, some kinds of mosquitoes in the United States and around the world spread viruses that can cause disease.
Mosquitoes bite during the day and night, live indoors and outdoors, and search for warm places as temperatures begin to drop. Some will hibernate in enclosed spaces, like garages, sheds, and under (or inside) homes to survive cold temperatures. Except for the southernmost states in North America, mosquito season starts in the summer and continues into fall.
Examples of viruses spread by mosquitoes:
When used as directed, insect repellents are the BEST way to protect yourself and family members from getting sick from mosquito bites.
- Use insect repellent: When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Use an EPA-registered insect repellentExternal with one of the following active ingredients:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning, or window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
For more information, see the Mosquito Bite Prevention fact sheet. Cdc-pdf[967 KB]
Standing Water on Public Property
When notified of standing water on city-owned property, forestry personnel apply a mosquito-specific granular larvicide to the water to eliminate larval mosquitoes. The larvicide application is "environmentally friendly" and non-toxic to any creature except mosquitoes.
Property owners are responsible for controlling mosquito propagation on private property. The City recommends that property owners eliminate standing water by improving drainage channels, removing debris from rain gutters, and by changing water weekly in birdbaths, fountains, flower pot basins, and pet water bowls on their property. Tire swings and discarded tires offer an ideal environment for mosquito propagation; shaded, standing, and generally undisturbed water. Remove or replace the tires if possible or drill small drain holes where the water tends to collect. Mosquitoes that are most likely to carry the West Nile Virus do not breed in fresh or flowing water.
The City of Manhattan recommends that individuals use mosquito repellents according to the directions provided by manufacturers, limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk and eliminate standing water in their homes and yards. Learn more about mosquito control and its benefits to curbing the spread of the West Nile Virus, by visiting the local library or the K-State Research and Extension Library.
Know the Facts
- Mosquitoes need stagnant water to develop. Even a few inches of water can serve as a breeding source.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide (breath) and body heat.
- Mosquitoes can feed/bite during the day and night time but are most active at dawn and dusk.
- A mosquito usually undergoes a life cycle in 14 days but depending on the environment, it can be as little as four days or as long as one month.
- Mosquito larvae look like small worms wiggling in the water.