Prevent mosquitoes in Maricopa County

Mosquitoes can breed in a little as a bottle cap of water. (James Gathany CDC)

The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department is warning residents not only about a greater quantity of mosquitoes, but also — and more importantly — a higher number of mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile virus and Saint Louis encephalitis. 

As of May 24, MCESD’s Vector Control Lab has already reported 93 positive WNv positive mosquito samples and 55 SLE positive mosquito samples. These statistics contrast with the same time period in 2018 when there were just seven WNv positive mosquito samples and two SLE positive mosquito samples, according to a release.

While human cases are low — Maricopa County Public Health has reported two-laboratory confirmed WNv positive human cases this year — all need to do a part to protect ourselves and others. MCESD implements an aggressive year-round mosquito surveillance and abatement program: every month it deploys more than 800 mosquito traps to thousands of areas that are monitored and then treated as necessary.

What can you do?

There are some simple things residents can do to prevent mosquito breeding around the home and neighborhood. They include, according to the release:

  1. Eliminate standing water. Drain any container around your home that may collect water. (Even small amounts can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.)  If you have a decorative pond or a swimming pool, make sure the pump is working and water is circulating.
  2. When outdoors, make sure you and your loved ones are avoiding mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves, long pants and light colored-clothing. 
  3. Apply insect repellent, following label instructions. Look for active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, or Oil of Lemon eucalyptus.
  4. Protect yourself day and night. Different mosquitoes bite at different times and can vector different diseases. Daytime biting mosquitoes are considered more of a nuisance than the night time biting mosquitoes that can carry WNv and SLE. 
  5. Call 602-506-0700 to report a mosquito problem. If you and others in your neighborhood are experiencing mosquito problems, have one person submit a complaint online or to give us a call. One call is all that is needed to initiate monitoring of an area and follow-up with proper action or treatment.

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