Mosquitoes are flying insects that feed on human and animal blood. Female mosquitoes feed on blood for egg development. The bite of a mosquito typically results in an itchy welt, but can occasionally transmit diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. There are about 50 different species of mosquitoes in Suffolk County.
How and where and when do mosquitoes breed?
Many types of mosquitoes lay their eggs in containers around the home such as flower pots, children’s toys, discarded tires, clogged gutters, ornamental ponds without fish, non-maintained pools or puddles on pool covers. There, the eggs hatch into larvae, develop into pupae and emerge as adults. Some species of mosquito will utilize natural freshwater habitats such as wetlands, ponds, puddles or water-filled tree holes. Other species of mosquito are able to develop in salt water habitats (e.g. saltwater marshes) and may be particularly troublesome in coastal areas. Most mosquitoes are active and will bite between dusk and dawn.
Do mosquitoes bite during the day?
Most mosquitoes are active between dusk and dawn, however, Asian tiger mosquitoes are active during the day and they will bite humans. The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), native to Southeast Asia, was first collected in the United States in Houston, TX in 1985. This species is thought to have been introduced by the import of used tires containing Asian tiger mosquito eggs. The species spread throughout the southern US and has expanded its range northward.
The Asian tiger mosquito was first detected in Suffolk County, NY in 2004. Currently, they are found in Western Suffolk County, and their range is moving eastward. They are capable of transmitting West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis virus. In other parts of the world, they are known to transmit other viruses that cause dengue fever and chikungunya fever.
Asian tiger mosquitoes are named for their black and white striped legs. They are container breeding mosquitoes, meaning that they lay their eggs inside water-filled, natural or artificial container habitats. There, the eggs hatch into larvae, develop into pupae and emerge as adults. Around the home, commonly used containers include tires, wheel barrows, plastic buckets, flower pots, plastic cups and aluminum beverage cans.
Centers for Disease Control Asian Tiger Mosquito Information
Centers for Disease Control Asian Tiger Mosquito Photograph
How can I avoid being bitten by a mosquito?
If you are outdoors, it is important to take proper precautions against mosquito bites. Such precautions include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, placing mosquito netting over infant carriers, considering staying indoors when mosquitoes are actively biting, and installing or repairing window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors. Help reduce the number of mosquitoes by emptying ad scrubbing all sources of standing water that mosquitoes may use for breeding, such as containers, clogged gutters, etc. Bird baths should be scrubbed clean and refilled weekly.
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Is it safe to use mosquito repellents?
Repellents may be used to repel mosquitoes. Always read and follow all label directions carefully. CDC recommends repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin and IR3535 (Avon’s Skin So Soft) may be applied to the skin and clothing. Lower concentrations of DEET are preferable, especially for children. Repellents containing permethrin may be applied to clothing only.
New York State Department of Health Mosquito Information
Rutgers University Mosquito Information
Rutgers University Mosquito Life Cycle
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): This website contains information out pesticides, health and safety, environmental effects, controlling pests, regulation of pesticides, compliance and enforcement, grants and partnerships, science and policy and more. It also contains a section for kids.
Pesticide Poisoning: If you think you have been adversely affected by a pesticide product contact your medical provider immediately. For information on pesticide poisoning, visit the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs or call the NPIC - National Pesticide Information Center at 1.800.858.7378 .
Pesticide Regulatory Programs: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)