The height of mosquito season is upon us and mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases such as West Nile Virus(WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) to humans. Recent testing of mosquitoes found WNV in mosquitoes in the region. Although Portsmouth does have a routine mosquito control program that helps to reduce the number of mosquitoes, the best protection is self-protection. Measures that can be taken to reduce your exposure to mosquitoes include eliminating areas around your home that can breed mosquitoes or provide preferred habitat, mosquito proofing your home, and using personal protective measures when outdoors.
Safeguarding your property
- Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and only need small amounts.
- Eliminate standing water around residential and commercial areas by discarding outdoor containers such as plastic containers, bottles, cans, etc.
- Remove discarded tires from your property.
- Ensure roof gutters drain property.
- Change out bird bath water twice a week.
- Tightly screen rain barrels to ensure mosquitoes can't deposit eggs.
- Cover outdoor trash and recycling containers.
- Keep swimming pools and hot tubs clean, chlorinated and circulating, or if empty, covered so they do not collect water inside or on the cover.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Mosquitoes rest in weeds, tall grass and bushes. Keep lawns mowed and shrubs trimmed.
DO NOT PLACE ANYTHING IN WATER TO CONTROL LARVAE; EVEN DUNKS SOLD IN HARDWARE STORES ARE NOT LEGAL FOR HOMEOWNERS TO USE. For further information please contact the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Division of Pesticide Control at 603-271-3550.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRAIN OR ALTER NATURAL WATER BODIES FOR MOSQUITO CONTROL. THE MANAGEMENT OF PONDS AND WETLANDS IS REGULATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES AND ANY ALTERATIONS WOULD REQUIRE A PERMIT. For further information please contact Peter Britz, Environmental Planner, City of Portsmouth (603) 610-7215.
Safeguarding your home
- Ensure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace torn or missing screens.
Personal Protective Measures
- Many mosquitoes are active at dawn, dusk and evening; however we also have species that bite during the day. Therefore, weather permitting, long sleeves and pants offer some protection against bites.
- Repellants which contain DEET have been shown to be effective.
- Other repellants containing picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptis and IR3535 have shown some effectiveness. Oil of lemon eucalyptis should not be used on children under the age of three.
- Always use repellants according to the manufacturer's label
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended DEET with a lower concentration of 10% for children, and should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
- Do not allow young children to apply repellants themselves and do not apply directly on children. Adults should apply repellants to their hands and transfer it to the child's skin.