Health Services

Mosquitoes and Mosquito-Borne Diseases

RESOURCES

Dead Bird Hotline: Residents are encouraged to report sightings of dead birds, such as crows, blue jays and hawks that may have been infected with the virus to the Department of Health Services’ Public Health Hotline at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline will be active until Labor Day.

Mosquito Problems: To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

Medical Questions: For medical questions related to arthropod-borne diseases, contact your health care provider or call 631-854-0333.

 

Dump the Water Campaign: Read this brochure to reduce chances of being bitten by mosquitoes.

Brochure: Mosquitoes and Mosquito-Borne Diseases - Helpful information for Suffolk County residents to reprint as needed.

Website for Teachers: To teach students about mosquito biology

Pesticide Information

Adult Mosquito Spraying Schedule

No Spray Registry Form

Suffolk County Mosquito Control: The Suffolk County Vector Control Environmental Impact Statement and Wetlands Management Long-Term Plan.

Questions about spraying or pesticides: Send us an email SC.Vector@suffolkcountyny.gov.

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 Encephalitis 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 mosquitos 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

Rutgers University Asian Tiger Mosquito Information

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.

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

Mosquito-borne Diseases

West Nile Virus WNV

West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mild cases of West Nile infection (West Nile fever) may include a slight fever and head and body aches. Severe infections (West Nile encephalitis) may also include muscle weakness and may progress to encephalitis or meningitis.

Symptoms usually occur three to 14 days after exposure. There is no specific treatment for viral infections, other than to treat the symptoms and provide supportive care.  Persons over the age of 50 are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from West Nile infection. Healthy children and adults are at low risk for serious illness from West Nile virus.  Horses are susceptible to WNV infection and should be vaccinated.

West Nile Virus in Suffolk County 2000 - 2012

Year
Mosquito Samples Testing Positive
Humans Cases*
2012
210
14
2011
81
4 (0)
2010
295
25 (3)
2009
17
1
2008
41
9 (0)
2007
12
0
2006
57
2 (0)
2005
76
9
2004
8
0
2003
40
10 (2)
2002
34
8 (2)
2001
68
1 (0)
2000
121
0

* Number in parentheses indicates number of deaths * Number in parentheses indicates number of deaths

New York State Department of Health Information 

Centers for Disease Control West Nile Virus Webpage

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year.

Most persons infected with EEEV have no apparent illness. Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors.

There is no specific treatment for EEE; care is based on symptoms. You can reduce your risk of being infected with EEEV by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying indoors while mosquitoes are most active. If you think you or a family member may have EEE, it is important to consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis. Horses are susceptible to EEEV infection and should be vaccinated.

New York State Department of Health EEE Information

CDC EEE Information

CDC EEE Transmission Information

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)