- All mosquitos breed in water; in fact, they spend 3/4 of their life cycle in standing water.
- Female mosquitos can lay 50 to 400 eggs in rafts on the water, singly on the side of a container, or in the dirt along with flood-prone areas like ditches.
- Water temperature and organic matter will allow eggs to hatch in as few as 24 hours.
- Mosquito larvae breathe air through an air tube or siphon and need calm water to develop.
- Adult mosquitos can emerge in as few as 3 days. Adults rest during the day, usually in buildings, plants, and moist grass.
- Female mosquitos mostly bite animals and occasionally bite humans. The blood meal is for egg development. Most mosquitos are only active at dusk, dawn, and night.
- Mosquitos must have water to complete their life cycle. Stop their life cycle by draining standing water on your property.
- Drain or fill in low places in your yard.
- Keep gutters, culverts, and drain ditches free of grass and debris.
- Adult mosquitos rest during the day. Keep grass short and shrubbery trimmed so adult mosquitos will not hide there.
- Use screens on windows and doors. Repair any holes in screens to keep mosquitos outside.
- Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- Remember the 4 Ds of Mosquito Protection: Defend, Drain, Dress, & Dusk/Dawn
- Water can collect in many places. Keep the following free of standing water to prevent mosquitos:
- Flower Pots
- Kiddie Pools
- Kids' Toys
Using Insect Repellant
- Use EPA registered insect repellants
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)
- Paramethane-diol (PMD)
- The higher the percentage of active ingredients, the longer the protection.
Do's & Don'ts of Repellant
- Follow all label instructions
- Reapply every few hours
- Apply sunscreen first and insect repellant second
- Help children properly apply repellant
- Apply insect repellant on cuts
- Apply insect repellant under clothes
- Use on babies under two months old
- Wear clothes that cover your arms & legs
- Avoid standing water
- Avoid trash cans without lids
The 4 D's of Mosquito Protection
Using Insect Repellent
- Always follow all label instructions
- Reapply every few hours, depending on the product and strength
- Do not apply repellent onto a child's hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin
- Spray repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child's face
- Do not use on children under 2 months of age
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first, and insect repellent second
- Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered repellent
- Active Ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, Bayrepel, Icaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), IR3535
- Do not use permethrin directly on the skin
- Purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear
- Permethrin-treated clothes will protect you after multiple washings
- Use permethrin to treat clothing
- Follow product instructions when treating clothing yourself
The EPA has not evaluated natural repellents, but they may also be useful:
- Cedar Oil
- Citronella Oil
- Geranium Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Soybean Oil
Mosquitos Need Water to Breed
Eliminate standing water from:
- Bottles, barrels, buckets, etc
- Canoes and other boats
- Children's toys
- Leaky outdoor faucets
- Low areas in your yard
- Overturned garbage can lids
- Recycling containers
- Swimming pool covers
- Tree holes
Keep other water sources clean:
- Bird baths
- Pet water dishes
- Roof gutters
- Swimming pools
- Keep pools clean and circulating year round
Even the smallest of containers that collect water can breed hundreds to thousands of mosquitos.
Wear Proper Clothing
Protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing:
- Clothing that is treated with permethrin
- Clothing treated with permethrin can protect after multiple washes
- Light-colored clothing
- Many mosquitos are attracted to dark clothing
- Long-sleeved shirts and pants
- Loose-fitting clothing
- Many mosquitos can bite through tight-fitting clothing
Dress your children to protect them, or use mosquito netting to cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers.
Peak Times for Mosquitos
If you have activities planned during dusk and dawn, protect yourself and your family accordingly:
- Use mosquito repellent
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
Try to plan activities later in the day to avoid mosquitos.
There are several mosquito-borne encephalitic arboviruses in Texas.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
- LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC)
- St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)
- West Nile Virus (WNV)
- Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE)
West Nile Virus
WNV is a mosquito-borne virus that can result in serious illness and sometimes death. The virus can infect humans, birds, horses, and other mammals. Humans become infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. Incidence of WNV is higher in infants and persons over 50 years of age; however, any individual can contract WNV.
WNV is spread by the Culex species of mosquito. They tend to bite from dusk to dawn. Be aware when planning activities during this time always remember the 4 Ds of Mosquito Protection.
Zika Virus, Dengue Fever & Chikungunya
Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya are also diseases that mosquitos can transmit to humans. In this area, two species (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) can carry these viruses. These species lay their eggs on the walls of water-filled containers. Eggs stick to containers like glue and remain attached until they are scrubbed off. When water covers the eggs, they hatch and become adults in about a week.
Adult mosquitos live inside and outside and prefer to bite during the day. A few infected mosquitos can produce large outbreaks in a community and put your family at risk of becoming sick.
Protect yourself, your family, and your community by eliminating all standing water in and around your home. Drain, scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water. Tightly cover water storage containers (like rain barrels) so that mosquitos cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.