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Apr 20

Do Your Part from the Start! Prevent and Protect Against Mosquitoes

Posted on April 20, 2016 at 2:55 PM by OCOM Specialist

By Susan Finarelli, Office of Communications

NOTE: The City of Falls Church contracts with the Fairfax County Health Department for services like public education on preventing and protecting against mosquitoes. City residents are welcome to contact the Fairfax Council Health Department with questions on the following information.

Mosquito season is here and those pesky bloodsuckers are not just a nuisance, they can also transmit viruses such as West Nile, Chikungunya and Zika. Now is the perfect time to eliminate potential breeding sites in and around your yard where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs.
Prevent mosquitoes around your home and neighborhood and protect yourself from their bites by taking the steps outlined below during the spring, summer and fall.

Control mosquitoes in your yard:
  • Eliminate standing water. Tip and toss standing water from containers like tires, buckets, flower pots, corrugated drain pipes, tarps, bird baths, toys, etc. Discard containers or place indoors.
  • Treat standing water with a larvicide* if it cannot be eliminated. Mosquito-specific, environmentally-friendly larvicides are available. If you can’t get rid of the water, treat it to control mosquito larvae.
  • If mosquitoes are biting, you may want to treat your yard with an insecticide*. Used carefully and properly, an insecticide can help control biting mosquitoes. Pay particular attention to bushy green plants, ivy, other ground-covering plants and bamboo, which provide good hiding places for mosquitoes. Insecticides for your yard are available at your local hardware or home and garden store.
  • Organize a neighborhood clean-up. Get rid of litter and debris, discard old tires and manage vegetation that mosquitoes may be using as hiding places.
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
  • Wear insect repellent* containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 as the active ingredient.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes.
  • Keep doors and windows closed and make sure screens are in good repair.
*Use EPA-registered insecticides, larvicides and repellents. Follow label instructions.

While these precautions will help prevent mosquito bites, it is still important to watch out for the signs and symptoms of mosquito-borne viruses like Zika and West Nile. Symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms of West Nile virus range from mild (fever, headache, body aches or a skin rash on the upper body) to serious (high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, weakness, paralysis or coma).

Consult your physician if you think you may be sick with a mosquito-borne illness. Keeping mosquitoes away is not only good for your quality of life; it’s good for your health!

For more information, visit www.fallschurchva.gov/FightTheBite, call 703-246-8931 (TTY 711), or email fightthebite@fairfaxcounty.gov.