Mosquitoes, including those that carry the West Nile and Zika Viruses, are active in the city from April through October. During this time, mosquitoes seek to lay their eggs in slow-moving or standing water.
You can discourage mosquito breeding in residential areas by removing standing water where it collects, such as in:
- Unused tires
- Clogged gutters
- Unused pools and pool covers
Weeds, tall grass and bushes also provide an outdoor home for adult mosquitoes.
Diseases Spread by Mosquitoes
Most mosquitoes you see in the city are not carrying diseases.
Only a few of the many different species of mosquitoes can spread diseases, and only a small proportion of those mosquitoes actually carry a disease.
Disease spread by infected mosquitoes include:
How the City Controls Mosquitoes
From April through October, the NYC Health Department tries to reduce mosquito populations by:
- Removing standing water and applying larvicide to sites that cannot be emptied or drained. Larvicides are pesticides that affect only immature mosquitoes (called larvae) and are harmless to people. They are applied manually onto standing waters in residential areas and dropped by helicopter onto marshes and other large natural areas. Larvicides kill mosquito larvae before they grow into adults.
- Spraying pesticides from trucks to control adult mosquitoes in areas that have an increased risk of mosquitoes spreading disease. These sprayings — in residential and non-residential areas — are carefully conducted to avoid human exposure to the pesticides.
- Educating the public through outreach and education.
- Investigating standing water complaints filed through 311.
You can find out when and where the City will be spraying by checking the Mosquito Spraying Events Schedule. You can also get updates on mosquito spraying by signing up for NotifyNYC, or by following the NYC Health Department on Twitter at @nycHealthy.
How You Can Avoid Mosquitoes
To avoid mosquito bites, you should:
- Remove standing water that collects on your property, and remind or help neighbors to do the same.
- Use insect repellent.
- Wear protective clothing outside, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts, especially during the evening, night and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active and looking for a meal. During the day, avoid dark colored clothing that mosquitoes might find attractive.
- Make sure your windows have screens and repair or replace screens that have holes.
- Learn when mosquitoes are most active.
- You can also avoid wearing things that attract mosquitoes, such as colognes, perfumes, scented body lotions, and dark-colored clothing.
For more mosquito tips and fun facts, see the Health Department’s list of Mosquito FAQs.
Mosquito Control Publications