1. What’s the big deal about mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes transmit at least three human diseases that have been
found in the United States. All of them are potentially fatal. These
diseases include West Nile Virus, Malaria and Dengue Fever.
2. What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999, it can lead to
serious complications of the liver or nervous system, inflammation of
the brain (encephalitis), meningitis or paralysis. It is the most widely
known disease, likely due to its rapid spread throughout the nation.
West Nile Virus has spread across the country from Pennsylvania to
Washington state since 1999. More than 3,700 cases have been
confirmed since that time. Forty-one states and Washington D.C. now
have confirmed cases of West Nile.
3. Do we get Malaria in the US?
Malaria was thought to have been eradicated in the U.S. but was
detected in mosquitoes in Fairfax County, VA in 2002. From 1973 to
1983, travelers introduced 2,575 cases of malaria into the United
4. Are Americans at risk for Dengue Fever?
A small but important risk for dengue fever exists in the United States.
Travelers introduce up to 100 to 200 cases into the U.S. each year.
5. What do you use to treat for mosquitoes? Couldn’t the
treatment be more harmful than the mosquitoes?
Many homeowners erroneously believe that all pest management
professionals do is spray chemicals to treat their homes. This is simply
not true anymore. Many pest management professionals today use an
Integrated Pest Management or IPM approach. IPM controls pests by
getting rid of the three things they need to survive: food, shelter and
water. And consumer education is a vital part of any IPM program. This
approach consists of inspection, identification of the pests,
employment of two or more control measures, and evaluation of
effectiveness through follow-up inspections. Control measures include
mechanical methods such as caulking, sealing and sanitation;
biological methods such as encouraging pest-eating birds or fish;
cultural methods; and, when warranted, chemical methods. When
applied professionally and used according to label instructions,
professional pest management products that have been registered
with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pose little threat to
humans or pets.
6. How often should a property be treated for mosquitos?
The length of effectiveness is dependent upon several variables
including temperature, humidity, surfaces treated, materials or control
methods employed. The time lapse between treatments depends upon
these factors and specifically the materials used.
7. Can treatment of mosquitos affect our health?
Every care is taken when such pest management products are being
used. When licensed, professionals use them in accordance with EPA-
approved labeling, these products pose little threat to humans or pets.
8. Can a family stay at home while their home is being treated, or
9. Why should homeowners consult a pest management
professional instead of letting the public health department
handle mosquito management?
Not every community provides municipal mosquito management. Only
a concerted community-wide effort can properly manage these pests
and reduce the risks associated with them. Therefore, homeowners
must do their part. Pest Management Professionals can help
homeowners reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and decrease the
risks for mosquito-borne illnesses by inspecting properties for
mosquito breeding sites, treating to control mosquitoes or suggesting
corrective actions, and providing basic information, current news
releases and references to other resources.
10. What can homeowners do to reduce the risks from
There are many ways a homeowner can reduce the risks from
mosquitos: Eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites by replacing
all standing water at least once a week. This includes bird baths,
ponds and swimming pools. Remove unneeded vegetation or trash
from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed,
dumped or removed. Introduce mosquito-eating fish such as gambusia,
green sunfish, bluegills and minnows to standing water. Screen
windows, doors, and other openings with fine mesh, sealing around all
screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry.
Avoid going outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most active:
during dusk or dawn. Use repellent on exposed skin whenever and
wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite. The most effective repellents
currently available contain the active ingredient N,N-diethylbenzamide
(DEET), in concentrations up to about 35% (greater concentrations
don’t offer better protection). Wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged
pants, preferably treated with a repellent as well.