Mosquitoes are small insects that begin their lives in water before becoming the biting, blood-sucking adults with which we are all familiar (only the females bite).
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The egg, larval, and pupal life stages of the mosquito are found in standing water before the adult mosquito emerges and flies away. Depending on the mosquito species, it can take anywhere from 4-30 days to complete this life cycle from egg to adult.

Most often mosquitoes are thought of as a nuisance but are also a public health threat because they can transmit a variety of diseases to humans including West Nile Virus (WNV), which can cause encephalitis. Mosquitoes can become infected with the WNV by biting a wild bird that carries the virus and then transmit the disease to people and other animals with their bite.

While it's unrealistic to try to eradicate mosquitoes, there are things you can do to help minimize mosquito populations around your child care facility and bites experienced by children in your care.

Eliminate sources of standing water:

  • Dispose of any refuse that can hold water, especially tires.
  • Twice a week empty out standing water in yard containers, such as children's toys, recycling containers and birdbaths.
  • Empty children's pools when not in use and turn them over or prop them up so water can drain out.
  • Make sure gutters are cleaned out and free of debris in the spring and check them regularly.

Other ways to use precautions:

  • Encourage natural enemies of mosquitoes, such as dragonflies and damselflies. Ornamental ponds can be stocked with goldfish to eat mosquito larvae.
  • Make sure window and door screens fit properly and don't have any rips or tears in them. Do not leave unscreened windows and doors open.
  • Limit the amount of time spent outside from dusk until dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing if going outside during this times. Long-sleeved shirts and pants offer the most protection.
  • Use insect repellents properly. Read, understand and follow all directions and precautions given on the label. Be especially careful when using insect repellents on children. Do not apply to their skin and do not allow children to apply a repellent by themselves.