Reducing Mosquito Exposure Around Your Home

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing or slow moving water. Weeds, tall grass, and bushes provide mosquitoes an outdoor resting place. In residential areas, standing water can accumulate in unused tires, cans, clogged gutters, unused pools and pool covers and other receptacles that collect water. Mosquitoes can enter homes through unscreened windows or doors, or broken screens.

What can I do around my home to help reduce exposure to mosquitos?

  1. Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property:
    • Remove all discarded tires from your property.
    • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water holding containers.
    • Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
    • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. If not in use, keep empty and covered.
    • Drain water from pool covers.
    • Change the water in bird baths at least every 3 or 4 days.
    • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  2. Remind or help neighbors to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their properties.
  3. Use window screens, and repair or replace those in your home that have tears or holes.

Some local hardware stores may carry a product called Mosquito Dunk® and similar products that contain a larvicide - Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) - for use in areas of standing water around the home. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recommends eliminating standing water around the home to reduce breeding sites for mosquitoes and warns that direct handling of larvicides may cause skin and eye irritation. These and similar larvicides should be used only as directed by the manufacturer. If these products are purchased for home use, we recommend careful reading of the hazards label, directions, and details regarding storage and handling.

*Never use foggers or bug bombs inside the home to control insects, and avoid the use of aerosol insecticides.

If my neighbors don't take care of the standing water in their yards, should I report them to the Health Department?

We ask NYC residents and business owners to take primary responsibility for eliminating standing water on their property. However, DOHMH takes reports to track and respond to significant problem areas. You can file a standing water complaint online or by calling 311.

What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus?

From June through October, when mosquitoes are most active, take the following precautions:

  • Wear protective clothing such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus are searching for a blood meal.
  • Avoid shaded, bushy areas where mosquitoes like to rest.
  • Limit outdoor evening activity, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to help reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Always follow instructions on the repellent's label. For more information, visit Insect Repellent Use & Safety.

More Resources