Mosquitoes In South Florida

Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animal in the world. Mosquitoes, of course, are not animals, they are arthropods, but these tiny biting creatures are vectors of harmful diseases that have killed millions of people worldwide and have caused severe illness in countless more.

During the summer and fall, mosquito bites also prevent people from enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. In tropical areas like South Florida, you may see mosquitoes in December and January.

If you are tired of mosquito bites or are concerned about the diseases mosquitoes transmit, give us a call. With our mosquito control program, you can enjoy your backyard and keep your family safe.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mosquitoes

What do mosquitoes look like?

Mosquitoes are winged creatures belonging to the order Diptera, the same as flies, gnats, and midges. Adults are 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch long. Their bodies consist of a head, thorax, and abdomen, and they have a pair of wings and six legs. They also have scales on their wings, legs, and other body parts. Mosquitoes have one pair of visible wings; however, underneath, there is a second pair of modified wings known as halters. These knobbed structures function as balancers during flight.

Both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar and other sugary secretions from plants for energy but only the female mosquitoes bite.

What are common types of mosquitoes?

There are more than 3,000 mosquito species worldwide. However, only four types are problematic in the United States.

Southern House Mosquito – Culex quinquefasciatus

The southern house mosquito is a tropical and sub-tropical mosquito found within latitudes 36° N and 36° S. In the United States, this species is found in southern states and throughout Florida. This species is active at night and is the primary vector of St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus. Adults are brown with proboscis, thorax, wings, and tarsi, a bit darker. Like all Culex species, the female lays her eggs on nutrient-rich standing water.

Northern House Mosquito – Culex pipiens

The northern house mosquito inhabits areas above 39° north latitude; this includes the northern United States and southern Canada. Females bite at night and lay their eggs in stagnant water. Adults have pale brown scales with whitish bands across the abdomen. Mated females overwinter in protected areas. This species is a major vector of the West Nile virus. This mosquito species is not found in South Florida.

Asian Tiger Mosquito – Aedes albopictus

Since its introduction in 1985, this species has spread throughout the eastern states from tropical to temperate climates. The Asian tiger mosquito has better adapted to rural and suburban settings than its cousin, the yellow fever mosquito, and now it is the predominant species in South Florida. You can easily recognize the adults by their black bodies with conspicuous white stripes. A distinctive white stripe runs down the center of the front half of the thorax. Females are aggressive biters and feed in the early morning and late afternoon. After a blood meal, it lays the eggs on the side of water-holding containers. Asian tiger mosquitoes are vectors of various diseases, including dengue, eastern equine encephalitis, chikungunya, Zika, and yellow fever.

Yellow Fever Mosquito – Aedes aegypti

The yellow fever mosquito was the most common species in Florida until the introduction of the Asian tiger mosquito in 1985. Adults resemble the Asian tiger mosquito, but they have a different pattern on the thorax. The Aedes aegypti has white scales on the thorax that resemble the shape of a violin. The abdomen is dark brown to black with silver stripes on the abdomen and legs. After a blood meal, females produce a batch of eggs ranging from 100-200 individuals. They lay eggs on the side of water-holding containers at two or more sites. During its lifetime, females can produce up to five batches. Before each batch, the female requires a new blood meal. This species bites during the day, and as the name suggests, it is the primary vector of the yellow fever virus. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is also an important vector of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses.

What is the difference between female and male mosquitoes?

The main difference between the two genders is that male mosquitoes do not bite. Females need the protein in the blood for the development of their eggs. Before it can lay a batch of eggs, the female mosquito requires a blood meal.

The life span of female mosquitoes is much longer than males. Adult females live one to two months while males only live for a few days.

The last anatomical difference between the two is that male antennae are bushy while females are not.

What is the life cycle of mosquitoes?

The entire life cycle of the mosquito takes about 10-16 days. Mosquitoes undergo complete metamorphosis and have defined life stages — egg, larvae, pupae, and adult.

After mating in flight and taking a blood meal, the female mosquito flies to a protected place to rest. The ideal resting site includes areas that are moist, shaded, and out of the wind to prevent dehydration. For the next two to three days, the females digest the blood and wait for the eggs to develop.

The Anopheles and Culex mosquito lay the eggs directly on water, while the Aedes mosquito deposits the eggs on the inner walls of containers with water, just above the water surface; this is why the Aedes mosquito is also known as the container mosquito.

The eggs will hatch with water and optimum temperatures in two to three days. In the case of the Aedes mosquito, the eggs will hatch once covered with water, so depending on rainfall, it could take days or months. That is why the Aedes mosquito population explodes in South Florida during summer rains.

The larvae live in water for four to seven days and go through four instars before they develop into a pupae. The larvae are also known as wigglers or wrigglers. The larvae feed on algae, bacteria, and other microorganisms in the water.

At the fourth molt, the larvae become pupae, also known as tumblers. The pupae are very active but do not feed. This stage lasts for two to three days. At the end of the pupal stage, the skin splits open, and the adult works its way out. The newly emerged mosquito quickly dries up on the surface of the water and flies away.

Where do mosquitoes hide in my yard?

Mosquito bodies are fragile and can quickly dehydrate when exposed to sunlight and wind. In order to prevent desiccation, mosquitoes rest in shaded areas that keep in some moisture and also block the wind. Mosquitoes usually rest under the foliage of trees and shrubs and between tall grass. Other protected areas around the home include under decks, inside gutters, under the eaves, porches, overhangs, storm drains, planters and pots, old tires and tire swings, tree stumps, and cracks in septic tanks, kid’s toys, and others.

When are mosquitoes most active?

The common mosquitoes we are most concerned with feed either during the day or at night. Most Culex and Anopheles species bite at night. The Aedes species bite during the day, mainly in the early morning or late evening.

Mosquitoes also need water for the eggs to develop into larvae. In South Florida, mosquitoes are very active during the summer due to the heavy rains and high temperatures.

Anytime temperatures are 70° F or more, mosquitoes start to thrive, and most species function best at 80° F. At 60° F, they become lethargic, and most species become inactive or die below 50° F.

In South Florida, mosquitoes can be active all year long.

How do mosquitoes find us?

It has long been known that female mosquitoes have sensory organs that can detect carbon dioxide and body heat to track us down when it is time to take a blood meal. Recent studies show mosquitoes have a third sensory organ on their antenna, an olfactory receptor that can detect smelly chemicals in our sweat.

Here is the order in which each sense is activated to find you:

  1. A mosquito senses the exhaled carbon dioxide at a distance of 30 feet or more.
  2. As they close in, they begin to sense human odor. When they get very close, they begin to detect body heat.
  3. Once mosquitoes land on you, they can taste your skin with their legs.

Mosquitoes have a keen ability to zero in on these signals from far away and process this information so they can locate people to bite and decide who will be their prey.

Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others?

Females use various sensory receptors to find people when it is time to have a blood meal. However, the key sensory signal mosquitoes use to choose their victims is our smell, more precisely, our funk or body odor. Some people’s body odors are like filet mignon for mosquitoes. If you have this signature odor, you will be dinner.

Studies have demonstrated that it might be possible to create a chemical that will interfere with this olfactory receptor and prevent it from operating.

Are people with one blood type more prone to mosquito bites than others?

A recent study published in the American Journal of Entomology discovered that the Aedes aegypti mosquito likes blood type O more than other groups.

In laboratory testing, artificial membrane feeders were used to expose Aedes aegypti females to all four blood groups at once. In this experiment, the yellow fever mosquito was more attracted to the type O feeder than the other feeders. The study also reported no direct impact of the preferred blood group on the number of eggs laid.

This study suggests that people with O blood type should take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Below is the link to this study:

Why do mosquito bites itch?

The mouth part of female mosquitoes consists of a long proboscis used to pierce the skin and drink blood from people or animals. When a female bites, it injects saliva into the host. The saliva contains certain proteins which most people are allergic to. The allergic response ranges from a small itchy welt to a severe systemic reaction that includes hives, swelling, and swollen lymph nodes.

How to keep mosquitoes away?

The very best thing homeowners can do to keep mosquitoes away is to remove standing water around the home where females might want to lay eggs. Follow these steps to reduce potential breeding grounds:

  • Empty or eliminate containers that can hold water.
  • Clean debris from gutters.
  • Inspect for leaking plumbing and water collection from air conditioner overflow.
  • Apply larvicides to permanent fixtures that collect water or drains that you cannot empty weekly.
  • Prune or remove dense vegetation to remove resting sites and reduce moisture by improving airflow.
  • If you own a pool, be sure to apply chlorine regularly.
  • Repair cracks or spaces in septic tanks. Install missing or broken ventilation screen cover.
  • Fill in low-lying areas or tree holes that collect water.

If mosquitoes continue to ruin your outdoor entertainment, it is best to call a professional pest control company to apply an adulticide outdoors. When mosquitoes land to rest on the treated surfaces, they will die. To take back control of your yard, call GOTBUGSIKILL today! With our mosquito program, you will keep your family safe from bites and reduce the risk of contracting dangerous mosquito-borne diseases.

How to prevent mosquito bites?

The best way to prevent mosquito bites is to avoid contact with mosquitoes as much as possible. If you are going to spend time outdoors, follow these recommendations from the CDC:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents and follow label instructions.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves.
  • Mosquitoes are most attracted to black, aqua, red, or orange. Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Treat clothing or gear with 0.5% permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.
  • Use large commercial fans. The air movement can exclude mosquitoes from small areas.

To prevent mosquitoes from flying indoors, keep windows and doors close and install or repair screens on windows. If available, use air conditioning. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded insects; when the temperature falls, they become less active and less likely to bite. Another benefit of air conditioning is it removes humidity from the air and makes it less favorable for them.

How to treat mosquito bites?

Luckily mosquito bites stop itching and heal on their own in a few days. Medical experts from the CDC and Mayo Clinic suggest these home remedies to make you more comfortable.

  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply an ice pack or cool, moist cloth for ten minutes to reduce swelling and itching.
  • Make a paste with baking soda and water. Dab the bite with the paste, wait ten minutes, and wash off.
  • Over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream will help reduce the itching: Cortizone 10, Benadryl, Calamine, and others.
  • Take an oral antihistamine for stronger reactions like Benadryl, Chlor-Trimethon, Allegra, and others.

Mosquitoes are vectors of some of the deadliest diseases. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen, such as fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, difficulty breathing, bleeding, seizures, severe rash, and severe stomach pain.

How do mosquito barrier treatments work?

The most important tool pest control companies use to control mosquitoes is a backpack mister blower. This machine is basically a leaf blower with a water tank on top. These misting units are great because they can treat large outdoor areas quickly. Water from the tank is sucked and blown through an application nozzle. Misting blowers can break up water to droplet sizes ranging from 51-100 microns. These droplets are so light that they stay suspended in the air momentarily. With the air movement, the product can easily penetrate the foliage and coat many surface areas where mosquitoes hide and rest, such as the underside of leaves. Another advantage of backpack mister blowers is that they use less chemicals than a regular backpack sprayer.

How long does it take for a mosquito treatment to work?

Mosquitoes are among the most difficult pests to control because they are flying bugs and only die once they land on a previously treated surface. Misting blowers are great because they allow the pest management professional to apply product to those hard-to-reach areas.

Because the mosquito has to land on the treated area to die, it takes a few days to kill most of the adults. After an initial treatment, it takes about three to five days to notice a substantial improvement.

Customers need to understand that the objective of mosquito treatments is to reduce the population so you can enjoy your yard. No system will eliminate every single mosquito from your home. If your pest management professional can achieve an 85% to 90% mosquito reduction, they are doing a good job.

How long does it take to do a barrier treatment, and how long does it last?

The time to do a barrier treatment is based on the amount of vegetation. A home with moderate vegetation takes about two gallons of solution and about 18-20 minutes to complete from the time we pull up to the time we drive away.

Chemicals are susceptible to U.V. degradation and rain. Exposure to these elements affects the longevity of the treatment. In South Florida, mosquito barriers last no more than 30 days.

What products are used for mosquito treatments?

Mosquito treatments are done with pyrethroids or with natural products called essential oils.

Pyrethroids are man-made formulations derived from pyrethrins, a pesticide found naturally in some chrysanthemum flowers. These synthetic formulations hold up better to U.V. degradation and rain, so they last longer. In recent years chemical companies have come up with amazing control release technology that is taking pyrethroids to the next level. Some formulations feature a polymer layer and other microencapsulation technology that locks the active ingredients in capsules of thinner and thicker walls. These long-lasting formulations protect the active ingredients from the elements making them more effective for mosquito control.

Essential oils consist of blends of various oils, such as clover, cottonseed, rosemary, peppermint, and geraniol. Natural insecticides kill pests on contact by plugging the spiracles (respiratory openings) of insects so they cannot exchange gases. Once the botanical oils dry up, they become repellents.

How long do I need to wait before going into the yard after you have sprayed?

In the industry, we say the label is the law. Pretty much every product used for foliar sprays states that people and pets should remain away from the treated area until sufficient time has passed for the product to completely dry. We recommend our customers wait 20-30 minutes before going outside.

Are mosquito barriers effective against any other pests?

The products used for mosquito control are broad-spectrum insecticides. Mosquitoes are the primary target of barrier treatments; however, the treatment will also kill spiders, fleas, ticks, flies, gnats, and no-see-ums.

What if it rains after my yard has been treated?

Rain is one element that affects the longevity of the treatment, so it is not an ideal event. It is also not ideal because it creates new breeding grounds for female mosquitoes to lay eggs.

When it comes to rain, the most important thing is not to spray when it is raining or when there is imminent rain moving in. Once the product is allowed to dry, it binds to the foliage, so the rain will not wash it off.

During the summer months, we experience almost daily rain in South Florida. Many of these events are just passing showers that last a few minutes; then, the sun comes out. When doing mosquito barriers, it is important to look at the radar to ensure enough time for the product to dry.

How much do mosquito treatments cost?

The cost of mosquito barrier treatments is calculated based on the time we spend doing the application. The time it takes to do the service correlates very closely to the amount of solution used. A large property with little foliage could take less time to complete than a small property with dense foliage all around. For a property with moderate foliage, it takes about 18-20 minutes to complete and about two gallons of solution. Because of rising costs and variations in properties, it is impossible to give an estimate. When you contact GOTBUGSIKILL, we will provide you with a rough estimate by looking at a satellite picture and the size of your property.

How to get rid of mosquitoes without chemicals?

The first step homeowners must take to reduce the mosquito population is to eliminate all possible breeding grounds that females can use to lay eggs. No chemicals are required to get rid of water-holding containers. And if there are places where you cannot drain water easily once a week, there are natural larvicides available.

Essential oil treatments are gaining popularity because they are botanical oils that repel mosquitoes from your yard without the negative impact of adulticides. These natural treatment options are usually more expensive because you need more concentrate, and they also require more frequent treatments to achieve the same control. Manufacturers of these essential oils are constantly improving formulations, so soon, they might be able to compete head-to-head with pyrethroids.

Because mosquitoes disrupt outdoor activities every year and are vectors of several dangerous diseases, there is always a strong demand for new solutions. Every now and then, innovative solutions emerge for mosquito control. Two new systems have been developed recently; the In2Care and the Inzecto mosquito systems.

The In2Care system works by contaminating breeding grounds around your property, including your neighbor’s. The female mosquito is attracted to a station filled with water. Inside the station is a net that floats above the water. When the female rests on the net to lay eggs, it picks up two active ingredients; a larvicide and a fungal spore. The female then flies away to lay more eggs on other breeding grounds. Soon, all the breeding grounds around the property become contaminated with larvicide. Any eggs on these contaminated breeding sites will never see the light of day. After a few hours, the female dies from the fungal disease. 

Please find the link to In2Care here:

The Inzecto system also employs stations, but the mode of action is completely different. The stations also hold water, attracting the females to lay the eggs. Inside the station, there is an infusion of leaves, creating an ideal breeding ground helping to attract more mosquitoes. The walls inside the station are treated with an insecticide. When the female mosquito rests on the walls of the container to lay eggs, it picks up a lethal dose of the active ingredient and soon dies. The interior walls are coated with a special polymer that protects the active ingredient. The station is also treated with a larvicide so that any eggs will not become adults. This new technology enables the insecticide to be effective for up to three months.

Please find the link to Inzecto here:

The GOTBUGSIKILL professionals have tested both systems extensively. We discovered that both are quite effective and a great alternative to chemical treatments. Although you can use either system as a stand-alone treatment, you’ll achieve the best control when used in combination with foliar sprays.

Are mosquito sprays dangerous for pollinators like honeybees?

Unfortunately, synthetic pyrethroids are dangerous to honeybees because they are broad-spectrum insecticides that will kill any insects that walk on the treated surface.

Every team member of GOTBUGSIKILL follows a strict protocol in order to do no harm to honeybees when doing foliar sprays. Honeybees are crucial insects to the food supply chain because they are the number one pollinator in the world. Without their magic, farmers would not be able to raise crops, and tens of millions of people across the globe would starve to death.

Our mosquito control program is one of the best in South Florida because we use the best products in the industry. These superior products are more expensive but last longer because they are made with a special technology that protects the active ingredient better than generic formulations.

The key to saving honeybees is not to spray flowering plants; our technicians know that! With the new generation of pyrethroids, we can skip a blooming plant and know that the product we applied during the previous service is still working.

One great advantage of essential oils is that they are repellents and do not harm honeybees.

Where do mosquitoes breed?

For the mosquito to complete the life cycle, the female needs water to lay her eggs. With over 3,000 mosquito species, these aquatic environments are extensive. In general, each mosquito species develops in one of four breeding grounds.

  • Floodwater & Rainpool Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes in this group lay their eggs on the surface of moist ground. During rainfall, water puddles on the fields and larvae begin to hatch. Floodwater mosquitoes typically appear two weeks after heavy rains and flooding.
  • Salt-marsh Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes in this group lay eggs on mud in marshes near coastal areas and stay dormant until covered by high tide.
  • Permanent Water Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes in this group lay their eggs in protected areas near the shore of permanent bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, canals, ditches, etc.
  • Mosquitoes of Natural Cavities & Artificial Containers: Mosquitoes in this group lay eggs in containers where water pools after rain, such as tree holes, bromeliad plants, roof gutters, discarded tires, aluminum cans, birdbaths, rain barrels, kid’s toys, etc. One of these areas is the breeding ground for the southern house mosquito, northern house mosquito, Asian tiger mosquito, and yellow fever mosquito. 

How dangerous are mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are the deadliest creatures on earth, causing more than 700,000 deaths each year and millions of people becoming sick. Mosquitoes are also responsible for killing horses, dogs, and cats. Malaria accounts for more than 400,000 deaths annually, with 219 million cases globally.

By comparison, snakes kill 50,000 people, dogs 25,000 people, and sharks 10 people annually. The deadliest animals following the mosquitoes are humans. About 475,000 people die every year from war conflicts, gun violence, acts of terrorism, and murders.

Mosquitoes are dangerous because they are vectors of several diseases caused by parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Other arthropods also transmit vector-borne diseases:

  • Plague is a bacteria transmitted by infected fleas.
  • Epidemic typhus is a bacteria transmitted by infected body lice.
  • Lyme disease is a bacteria transmitted by infected ticks.
  • Chagas disease is a parasite transmitted by the kissing bug.

When the female mosquito takes a blood meal, it injects an anticoagulant with her saliva. When the mosquito is infected with the disease, it transmits it with its saliva from one human to another or animal to human, acting as a vector. Many wild animals and birds are reservoirs for these diseases, so they are practically impossible to eradicate. Thanks to strong intervention by public health officials, public education, and partnership with mosquito control companies, these diseases usually do not become an epidemic in the United States.

Are mosquitoes dangerous to my pet?

Yes, mosquitoes will take a blood meal from any large or small animal, including horses, dogs, cats, foxes, wolves, raccoons, birds, and rodents.

Heartworm disease is common in dogs and caused by the bite of an infected mosquito with the parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis. Several mosquito types transmit this parasite, including the Aedes and Anopheles species.

Adult heartworms clog the heart and major blood vessels. By clogging the main vessels, the blood supply to key organs like the lungs, liver, and kidneys is reduced. The decrease in blood and associated reduction in oxygen leads to organ malfunction. Adult female heartworms are 6-14 inches long and produce millions of offspring called microfilaria. Adult males are half the size.

The microfilaria live mainly in the small blood vessels of dogs. When a female mosquito bites an infected dog, it ingests the offspring during the blood meal. The infected mosquito then becomes a vector for the parasite infecting other dogs. Foxes and wolves are also hosts for these parasites.

Dogs diagnosed with heartworm disease can be successfully treated with a vaccine called Immiticide. There are now safe and affordable heartworm preventives to protect your dog from this dreadful disease.

What diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are by far the most studied insects because they are vectors of the deadliest diseases in the world. The most common vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include:


Malaria is a parasite transmitted by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito. The parasite first grows and multiplies in the liver and then in the red blood cells. The parasite then destroys the cell by bursting and releasing daughter parasites which invade other cells. According to the CDC, in 2020, 627,000 people died from malaria, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. Symptoms include fever, chills, and a flu-like illness. Malaria is not endemic in the United States; about 2,000 cases each year. The vast majority of the cases are from travelers and immigrants returning from sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia.

Malaria is not a contagious disease, so it doesn’t spread from person to person like the cold or flu. And cannot be transmitted sexually. There is no vaccine for malaria, but it can be treated with prescription drugs before it becomes life-threatening.

For more information about malaria, visit the Centers for Disease Control. 


The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Many people infected with the Zika virus are asymptomatic or present mild symptoms such as fever, rash, headache, joint pain, and muscle pain. Infection with this virus is concerning during pregnancy because it can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly. Babies with microcephaly have smaller heads and smaller brains that have not developed properly. There are no vaccines or medicine for Zika, so the best way to prevent the disease is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika outbreaks. Zika virus can be sexually transmitted from person to person with unprotected sex.

In 2016, a large Zika virus outbreak occurred in Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands, with limited local transmission in Florida and Texas. Since 2019 there have been no confirmed Zika virus cases in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control for the latest information about areas at risk of Zika. 


Encephalitis is brain inflammation caused by a viral infection, bacterial infection, autoimmune response, or mosquito bite. Encephalitis is a serious medical condition that requires immediate supportive treatment such as intravenous fluids and pain medication. Prompt treatment will lower the risk of lasting disability or death.

In the United States, infected mosquitoes are vectors to five viral diseases that cause encephalitis:

  1. Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
  2. Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE)
  3. St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)
  4. California Encephalitis (C.E.)
  5. West Nile Virus (WNV)

Encephalitis can also result from other viral diseases such as measles, rubella, and chickenpox. Vaccines for these viruses have reduced the rate of encephalitis.

Eastern equine encephalitis is the most dangerous arthropod-born (also known as arboviral) encephalitis. Symptoms of EEE include fever, chills, body aches, and joint pain. The illness lasts for one to two weeks, and most people have a full recovery. When EEE results in neurologic damage, the symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. About a third of all the people with encephalitis due to EEE die. On average, 11 cases of neuroinvasive EEE are reported every year in the United States. People who recover often end up with long-term physical or mental impairments. In small children, it can cause mental retardation. There is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for EEE.

EEE is a bird disease transmitted to humans and horses by the Aedes mosquitoes. Birds are the reservoir for the virus; however, horses and humans are dead-end hosts.

For more information about eastern equine encephalitis, visit the Centers for Disease Control.


The West Nile Virus (WNV) has become the most prominent mosquito-borne disease in the USA. Most people infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms. The disease is usually mild, and about 1 in 5 infected people develop fever, headaches, and body aches. About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a serious medical condition of the central nervous system, such as inflammation of the brain and membranes surrounding the spinal cord. Severe illness is most likely to occur in the elderly or those with a compromised immune system, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and transplant recipients.

West Nile virus is transmitted by an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Sparrows and robins are the primary reservoirs of WNV in the United States. WNV kills some birds, but certain species are mildly affected and can develop high levels of the virus in their bloodstream, infesting subsequent mosquitoes that bite them. Mosquitoes with WNV can also infest horses and mammals. Unlike birds, people and horses are dead-end hosts, meaning they cannot pass the virus to other biting mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes remain infected for life after acquiring the virus. Mosquitoes in the Culex species are the most important vectors of WNV.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat West Nile Virus, so the best way to avoid the virus is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Most cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, summer through fall, but in tropical areas occur nearly year-round.

For more information about the West Nile virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control.


Dengue is a virus spread to people by an infected Aedes mosquito, Ae. aegypti & Ae. albopictus. About 400 million people become infected with dengue every year, 100 million get sick, and 40,000 die from the infection.

Only 25% of people infected with dengue get sick. Mild symptoms of dengue include high fever, nausea, vomiting, rash, headache, body aches, and pain behind the eyes. About 1 in 20 people who get sick with dengue develop severe dengue, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can cause internal bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (sock), and death. Severe symptoms of dengue include bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in urine or stool, vomit, severe stomach pain, and difficulty breeding.

This disease is most common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world and is often the leading cause of illness and death in those areas. Dengue is common in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Local cases and limited spread of dengue occasionally occur in states with hot and humid climates, such as Hawaii, Florida, and Texas.

Seek medical attention right away if you experience symptoms of severe dengue. For more information about dengue, visit the Centers for Disease Control. 


Chikungunya is also a virus transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito. The virus shares similar symptoms to dengue, but death or serious complications from chikungunya are rare.

In 2013 the first documented outbreak of chikungunya with local transmission was reported in the Caribbean. In 2014 the first local transmission was identified in Florida. Local transmission of chikungunya has been non-existent since 2015, and only a few dozen individuals test positive each year after returning from affected areas in the Americas. The virus has been identified in 40 countries.

The symptoms start between three and seven days after the bite from an infested mosquito. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, but other symptoms include headache, muscle pain, and rash. The elderly and people with medical conditions are more susceptible to the disease and should avoid mosquitoes.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent or drugs to treat chikungunya. Most people recover within a week. After you have chikungunya, the body develops antibodies that will protect you for life.

For more information about chikungunya, visit the Centers for Disease Control.


Yellow fever is a virus transmitted to people by an infected Aedes mosquito bite. This virus is mainly in tropical and subtropical areas of South America and Africa. About 200,000 cases of yellow fever are reported each year, with 30,000 deaths.

The species that transmit this virus is the Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito. The incubation period is between three and six days, and most people infected with the virus show no symptoms. Few people will develop mild symptoms of fever, chills, headaches, body aches, nausea, and vomiting. In rare cases, severe symptoms include jaundice and bleeding.

There are no medicines to treat or cure yellow fever infections. However, there is a vaccine that provides lifelong protection for most people. If you have mild symptoms, make sure to rest, drink lots of fluids, and take pain medications such as ibuprofen to make you more comfortable.

For more information about yellow fever, visit the Centers for Disease Control.

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