In Vermont, mosquito season begins in the spring, but does not typically pose a health risk until the summer months. By July, some mosquitoes may be carrying viruses that cause diseases like West Nile virus (WNV) or Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
It is important to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites to protect yourself from these diseases. This can be done by protecting yourself from mosquitoes and preventing mosquitoes from breeding around your house.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors at dawn and dusk.
- Use insect repellent labeled as effective against mosquitoes.
- Cover baby carriages or outdoor playpens with mosquito netting.
- Fix any holes in your screens and make sure they are tightly attached to doors and windows.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water that lasts more than four days. To reduce the number of mosquitoes around your house, get rid of standing water. You can do that by taking these actions:
- Dispose of, or regularly empty, any metal cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, and other water holding containers (including trash cans) on your property.
- Dispose of, or regularly empty, discarded tires.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors so water can drain out.
- Clean clogged roof gutters of leaves and debris that prevent drainage of rainwater.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Change bird bath water every three to four days.
- Aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish.
- Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated.
- Remove standing water from pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
Insect repellents help people avoid both mosquito and tick bites. This helps prevent illnesses carried by mosquitoes and ticks. Use repellents that are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These products have been evaluated for their safety and effectiveness. Look for the EPA-registration number on the label.
Most of the EPA-registered mosquito repellent products contain one of the following ingredients:
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
There are other repellent products that can be applied directly to skin. These provide some protection from mosquito bites, but may not offer the same level of protection or last as long as the products listed.
Repellents for use on clothing:
- Permethrin on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear repels mosquitoes and other insects, and maintains this effect after laundering. This may be a good choice for people who spend a lot of time outside.
- Products containing DEET can also be used on clothing.
Apply mosquito repellent when you are going to be outdoors, especially at dawn or dusk.
Length of protection varies with the type of active ingredient, air temperature, amount of physical activity and perspiration, water exposure and other factors. Reapply repellents as directed on the label.
Products that contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, and permethrin are safe when used according to the directions on the label.
Each of these ingredients has been registered with the EPA. EPA registration of repellent active ingredients means that the ingredients have been reviewed and approved for effectiveness and human safety when applied according to the instructions on the label.
Carefully follow the directions on the repellent’s label.
- Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label.)
- Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
- Do not apply to eyes or mouth. Apply sparingly around ears. Do not spray directly on face – spray on hands first and then apply to face.
- Do not allow children to handle the product. Apply repellents to your own hands first and then put it on the child.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
- If you or your child develops a rash or other bad reaction from an insect repellent, stop using the repellent, wash the repellent off with mild soap and water, and call a local poison control center for further guidance or seek medical care.
If you plan to travel out of Vermont, follow the guidelines outlined in this flyer