Mosquitoes present both a public health concern and a community nuisance to citizens, particularly with emerging mosquito-transmitted diseases such as West Nile virus, Eastern equine and LaCrosse encephalitis.
Water is the necessary ingredient for a mosquito breeding habitat. Generally there are two types of water habitats that contribute to mosquito breeding:
Natural water features consist of stagnant, non-flowing or poorly maintained ponds, creeks, stormwater ditches, depressions, wetland areas or other similar ground features that allow for standing water over an extended period of time.
Artificial containers are manmade items capable of collecting water and storing water in a stagnant, non-flowing condition. These items include such things as rain barrels, buckets, tires, birdbaths, swimming pools, ornamental ponds, pet bowls or storm gutters.
The most effective measure to prevent mosquito breeding is to eliminate the breeding habitat – stagnant or standing water. As we enter into mosquito breeding season, Wake County Government encourages citizens consider the following measures to address mosquitoes:
Drain the Water! Mosquitoes need about 4–5 days of still water to complete their life cycle. Draining the water in rain barrels and cisterns can be effective if all the water is removed. Drain stored water collected at the bottom of barrels or cisterns to ensure that the container is completely empty.
Eliminate Mosquito Entry Points. Cover rain barrel inlets with screening that resists corrosion and seal all openings around pipes, door screens, etc., with rubber gaskets or exterior caulking.
Eliminate Standing Water. Make sure to remove or drain water that has collected in artificial containers such as pet bowls, used tires, gutter downspouts, buckets and rain barrels. Also, drain swimming pools that are not being used and remove debris from creeks that stop them from flowing and create standing water conditions.
Treatment of Standing Water. If it is not possible to remove or drain the standing water, another effective way to limit breeding habitats is to treat standing water with Mosquito Dunks or Chemical Larvicides. These two agents are applied to the water habitat, and they disrupt the reproductive life cycle of the mosquito. Mosquito Dunks and Chemical Larvicides can be purchased at your local hardware or garden store. Please use these materials as directed.
Mosquitofish are freshwater fish that can consume large quantities of insect larvae in natural ponds or ornamental ponds. They can be purchased from your local pet store or anywhere that sells pond fish.
Bat Boxes. Adding a bat box is another alternate prevention method to reducing mosquitoes. Research has shown that one brown bat can consume up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour. There are several Internet resources that address this subject.
Complaint Investigation and Enforcement
Mosquito-related complaints can be reported to the Wake County Code Enforcement Coordinator at 919-856-2613.
Questions concerning human cases and symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases should be directed to the Wake County Human Services Communicable Disease staff at 919-250-4462.
For more information about the West Nile Virus, contact the N.C. Communicable Disease Section at 919-733-3419.