Mosquito Bite Prevention
The best way to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses is to prevent the bites of infected mosquitoes. You can do this by taking measures to protect yourself from mosquito bites, taking steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors, and supporting mosquito control programs in your community.
- Protecting Yourself From Mosquito Bites
- Know when to expect mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that transmit disease in Indiana usually bite during the hours from dusk to dawn.
- Wear EPA-registered insect repellents. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. Not all repellents are effective against both mosquitoes and ticks. The EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that is best for you. Always follow product instructions:
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
- Treat your clothes and outdoor gear with 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remains protective through several washings. Permethrin should never be applied directly to the skin.
- Reduce the amount of exposed skin. Wearing long sleeves, long pants, hats, socks and shoes that cover the entire foot will make it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite.
Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Taking Steps to Control Mosquitoes Indoors and Outdoors
- If possible, use air conditioning rather than leaving your doors and windows open.
- Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
- Find and remove possible mosquito breeding sites around your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Removing sources of standing water can reduce the number of mosquitoes around your property. This will protect you and your family as well as your neighbors:
- “Tip and toss:” Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that could collect water outdoors, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots and trash containers.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
- If you have a septic tank, repair any cracks or gaps. Cover open vents or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Photo: Indiana Department of Health.
- Supporting Mosquito Control Programs in Your Community
- Community mosquito control programs can help to reduce the number of mosquitoes and prevent mosquito-borne diseases in your neighborhood.
- Community mosquito control activities may include elimination of mosquito habitats, application of insecticides to bodies of water to kill mosquito larvae and spraying of insecticides from trucks to kill adult mosquitoes.
- Mosquito control activities are most often handled at the local level, such as through county or city government.
- Contact your local health department for information about mosquito control activities in your area.
Photo: United States Air Force.