Mosquito-Borne Disease Prevention

 
 
Vector-Borne Disease
Public Health
 
No
No

What would you like to do?

What you need to know

Sections on this page

    About Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes, known as the deadliest animals on the planet, transmit diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and the West Nile virus (WNV). While there are at least 50 mosquito species present in Nebraska, only a few transmit disease.

    There are three endemic mosquito viruses of human concern that are carried by mosquitoes in Nebraska: West Nile virus (WNV), St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), and Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) viruses.

    Because it is difficult to tell how many mosquitoes may be infected with a virus, it is important to prevent exposure to mosquitoes at all times. Several ways to help prevent exposure to mosquitoes are preventing mosquito bites and controlling mosquitoes around your home and property.

    Personal Protection

    Use insect repellent on skin and clothes

    • Apply an EPA-registered repellent (e.g. DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, nootkatone) on skin and clothes to decrease bites.
      • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children. Insect repellents also are not recommended for children younger than 2 months.
      • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalypus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years of age.
      • Help children apply repellent and avoid putting repellent on their hands, eyes, mouth, or irritated skin.
    Spraying adult hands.
    Spray adult hands.
     Spraying child's arms, avoiding hands.
    Spray child's arms, avoiding hands.​
    • Treat items such as boots, pants, socks, and tents with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
    Spraying clothing.
    Spray clothing.
    Spray around tent while camping.
    Spray around tents while camping​.
    • Follow the instructions on the label to apply correctly. 
      • Reapply insect repellent every few hours, depending on which product and strength you use.
      • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
      • Learn more: Insect Repellent Essentials: A Brief Guide
        (Created by the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-borne Diseases) 

    Wear Long-Sleeved Shirts and Long Pants

    Avoid Direct Contact with Mosquitoes

    • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
    • Stay indoors during peak mosquito activity hours, usually dusk and dawn 

    Read MoreShow Less

    Mosquito Control on Your Property

    Pouring water our of a bucket
     

    Reduce Mosquito Breeding Habitats

    Turn over, cover, or throw out any items that could hold water:

    • Tires
    • Buckets
    • Planters
    • Toys
    • Pools
    • Flowerpots or Saucers

    Remove small pools of standing water from around your home:

    • Empty, scrub, and change the water in pet bowls, bird baths, fountains, and pools at least once a week
    • Check gutters and clean out leaves frequently
    • Tightly cover water storage containers (i.e. rain barrels) so mosquitoes can't lay eggs inside
    • Fill water-holding tree holes with dirt or sand
    • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not in use.

    Apply Pesticides Outdoors

    Do not treat water that will be used for drinking
     
    Apply larvacides according to label instructions to fountains, septic tanks, and pool covers that hold water – larvacides for mosquito control on  your property can be purchased at many hardware/home improvement stores.
    • Do not treat water that will be used for drinking

    Read MoreShow Less

    Local Mosquito Control

    Neither DHHS nor Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture (NDA) conducts routine mosquito control. Local municipalities are responsible for routine mosquito control.

    Applicators who apply pesticides for general or restricted use to control disease vectors (mosquitoes) for political subdivisions must have a license. This interpretation does not apply to a private individual who applies pesticide for their personal use.

    NDA is responsible for the certification and licensing of pesticide applicators in Nebraska.

    Mosquito Control Statutes:

    Building codes can play a key role in the fight against West Nile virus

    Building codes adopted by local governments can play a key role in the fight against West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. The International Code Council's International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) can help local officials enforce the cleanup of existing properties and combat the spread of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne viruses.

    The IPMC has sections that directly address eliminating mosquito-breeding areas or preventing mosquitoes from entering buildings. It requires that property owners maintain vacant land "so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety."

    The IPMC:

    • Requires property to be graded and drained so that no stagnant water accumulates,
    • Discusses proper drainage of roofs and gutters,
    • Requires the presence and proper maintenance of insect screens,
    • Requires a proper closing device for swinging doors,
    • Deals with the accumulation and disposal of garbage and rubbish, and
    • Talks about the extermination of insects.

      The IPMC contains a sample ordinance and administrative provisions. These can help in the adoption and enforcement processes.

    Read MoreShow Less

    Farmers & Ranchers

    Is my farm a mosquito-breeding site?

    Several habitats found on farms can support the production of mosquitoes. Mosquito larvae can develop in places like:

    • Watering troughs, small ponds,
    • Irrigation ditches,
    • Rain barrels,
    • Manure lagoons,
    • Ruts where farm equipment frequently travels, and
    • Any other areas where water can accumulate. Even hoof prints can provide a breeding habitat if they accumulate water.​

    How can I prevent mosquitoes from breeding?

    There are many ways to get rid of mosquito breeding areas on farms. Examples below:

    • Improve drainage in irrigated areas.
    • Fill in ruts where farming equipment often travels with stones.
    • Make sure you clean watering troughs regularly.
    • Remove or empty often containers that accumulate water, including discarded tires.
    • Air out small ponds and stock them with fish. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission can help you determine which species of fish would be best.

    If you cannot get rid of all the areas where mosquitoes can breed, larvicide is the most effective control technique. Several larvicides are well suited for farms, including:

    • Bacillus sphaericus,
    • B. thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i.),
    • Temephos,
    • Growth regulators,
    • Oils and monomolecular films.

    A private citizen is able to purchase and apply a general use pesticide product for their private use. This includes any larvicide for general use.


    Read MoreShow Less

    Wastewater Treatment Operators

    Is my wastewater treatment plant a mosquito-breeding site?

    Plants that treat wastewater provide good breeding sites for mosquitoes. The nutrient-rich water in polishing ponds is an ideal breeding area for mosquitoes known to carry West Nile virus.

    How can I prevent mosquitoes from breeding?

    There are many ways to get rid of mosquito-breeding areas at wastewater treatment plants. Examples include:

    • Use stones or other fillers to fill ruts and low spots that result from heavy traffic areas. This will help eliminate puddles and other areas of standing water.

    If you cannot eliminate all the areas where mosquitoes can breed, applying larvicide is the most effective control technique. Several larvicides are well suited for wastewater treatment plants, including:

    • Bacillus sphaericus,
    • B. thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i.),
    • Temephos,
    • Growth regulators,
    • Oils and monomolecular films.

    Only certified pesticide applicators can apply these larvicides. An applicator can help you choose the best product for your situation and determine what type of control activities to conduct.

    EPA - Pesticides and Mosquito Control 

    Read MoreShow Less

    Tire Pile Owners

    Is my tire pile a mosquito-breeding site?

    Piles of tires provide suitable areas for mosquitoes to breed, including those who carry West Nile virus. When water accumulates in discarded tires, they become attractive sites for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

    During the course of one season, just one tire can be a breeding site for thousands of mosquitoes. Transporting tires infested with mosquito eggs, larvae, or pupae increases the risk of spreading mosquito populations.

    How can I prevent mosquitoes from breeding?

    If there is a tire pile on your property, make sure that it does not create a nuisance. There are many ways to avoid mosquito breeding in tire piles.

    Dispose of standing water in the tires. You can do this by properly storing tires under a tarp. Make sure that rainwater does not accumulate.

    If you cannot get rid of all the areas where mosquitoes can breed, larvicide is the most effective control technique. Several larvicides are well suited, including:

    • Bacillus sphaericus,
    • B. thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i.),
    • Temephos,
    • Growth regulators,
    • Oils and monomolecular films.

    Only certified pesticide applicators can apply these larvicides. An applicator can help you choose the best product for your situation and determine what type of control activities to conduct.

    EPA - Pesticides and Mosquito Control 

    Read MoreShow Less

    Additional Resources