In North Carolina (NC) mosquitoes can be both a bother to people, as well as a way of spreading disease. 

Diseases spread by mosquitoes in NC

Diseases spread by mosquitoes of concern to NC

How to prevent mosquito bites

Places mosquitoes breed

How to prevent mosquitoes around your home

Who to call

More information

Diseases spread by mosquitoes in NC

Mosquitoes in NC can spread West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and La Crosse Encephalitis (LACV). 

Most people have mild or no symptoms of these diseases, but a few can get really sick. Symptoms can include sudden:

  • headache
  • high fever
  • chills
  • vomiting

If these illnesses get worse, they can cause seizures, coma, brain damage or death.

Diseases spread by mosquitoes of concern to NC

There are some diseases that people who travel may get from mosquitoes in areas of the US or other countries. These include Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya.

Since late in 2013, Chikungunya has spread across the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) into parts of Florida. The type of mosquito that spreads Chikungunya is found in NC. As of March 2015, the only people from NC who have gotten Chikungunya have gotten it while traveling.

Learn more about these and other diseases you can get while traveling from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Healthy Traveling brochure (WCHS)

Chikungunya Fact Sheet (WCHS)

Going to the American Tropics (Caribbean)? (CDC)

Were you recently in the American Tropics (Caribbean)? (CDC)

What to know before you go (prevent bug bites)  (CDC)

How to prevent mosquito bites

  • Use air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are in a place where there are mosquitoes inside, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
  • If you can, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
  • Treat clothing with permethrin or buy clothes treated with permethrin.
  • Use insect repellents with DEET on skin:
    • If you need both sunscreen and repellent, use them separately, putting on the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
    • There is no need to put repellents on skin under clothing.
    • Follow the product label when using repellents.
    • More information about insect repellent use and safety.

What to know before you go (prevent bug bites)  (CDC)

Places mosquitoes breed

Mosquito eggs only need about 4 to 5 days in still water to hatch. They lay eggs in as little as one inch of water in natural areas like ponds, ditches, puddles and wetlands.

Mosquitoes also lay eggs in things that collect water, such as rain barrels, buckets, tires, birdbaths, swimming pools, ornamental ponds, pet bowls and gutters.

How to prevent mosquitoes around your home

The best way to stop mosquitoes from breeding is to get rid of the water they breed in. You can help by:

  • Draining water from rain barrels and cisterns. Make sure no water is left in them.
  • Keeping mosquitoes out. Cover rain barrels with screens and seal openings around pipes, door screens, etc., with rubber gaskets or caulking.
  • Tipping and tossing standing water in :
    • pet bowls
    • used tires
    • planters
    • birdbaths
    • buckets
    • wading pools
  • Throwing out empty bottles, cans and other garbage that water can collect in.
  • Turning over buckets, planters, wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
  • Keeping your home repaired:
    • Clean rain gutters so that water flows freely
    • Fix dripping hoses and faucets
    • Repair septic problems
    • Make sure water drains from ditches
    • Check sprinkler systems for standing water
  • Treating standing water. If you cannot drain standing water, treat it with a chemical larvicide such as Mosquito Dunks. These are put in standing water and work by not letting mosquito eggs hatch. You can buy them at your hardware or garden store. Follow the product label.
  • Buying mosquitofish. These are fish that eat a lot of insect eggs in ponds. You can buy them at pet stores or anywhere that sells pond fish.
  • Adding a bat box. Bat boxes are homes for bats. One bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour!

Who to call?

If you have a complaint about mosquitoes, please call the Wake County Code Enforcement Coordinator at 919-856-2613.

If you have questions about diseases you can get from mosquitoes you can call:

  • your doctor
  • the Communicable Disease staff at Wake County Human Services at
    919-250-4462 or
  • the Communicable Disease Section of the NC Division of Public Health at
    919-733-3419.

More information 

Chikungunya Fact Sheet (WCHS)

Healthy Traveling brochure (WCHS)

Traveler's Health (CDC website)

Mosquito-borne Illness in NC (NC DHHS)

 
 
What to know before you go (prevent bug bites)  (CDC)