Well-informed and active residents are necessary partners to combat disease carrying insects in our community. Please use the resources below to learn how to better protect yourself, your family, and your yard from mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit.
- Use an effective repellent, such as DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Follow label directions.
- Make sure door and window screens are intact. This prevents mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Be aware that Arlington mosquitoes tend to be most active during dawn and dusk — and during the day as well.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. And don’t forget the socks!
- Drain all sources of standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding:
- Eliminate standing water on tarps and flat roofs.
- Make sure that garbage can lids are placed securely on garbage cans.
- If the lid or cart is damaged and collecting water, request a cart repair by contacting 703-228-6570 or filling out the online “Report a Problem” form.
- Clean out birdbaths and wading pools once a week.Turn over or remove containers in yards where rainwater collects, such as old tires, potted plant trays, boats, buckets and toys.
- Clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly, and empty water from corrugated downspout extenders.
Read the Mosquito Reference Guide for more information about mosquitoes.
Use our informational poster, Is Your Home a Mosquito Paradise?, to help you remember ways to protect yourself and your family.
Mosquitoes require a minimum of five days and an aquatic environment to mature from egg to adult. Stormwater facilities are typically designed to drain within 72 hours and therefore do not provide an adequate breeding environment for mosquitoes.
Like any infrastructure, proper maintenance is required to ensure that the system functions as designed. The County has a maintenance contractor that inspects and maintains stormwater facilities on a monthly basis.
Parks, Schools and County Property
Arlingtonians love their parks — but parks can also be attractive to mosquitoes. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) staff members take steps to get rid of standing water in playgrounds and other areas. Some mosquitoes, however, prefer man-made water containers for breeding — like toys.
- Abandoned toys in playgrounds are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Community members are asked not to leave toys in public parks and playgrounds.
- As part of the maintenance efforts, DPR staff will empty abandoned toys of standing water. Broken or damaged toys will be removed.
Staff at Arlington Public Schools sites and other County property will include removal of standing water sources as part of their routine maintenance efforts.
Rain barrels could be a source of mosquitoes if not property maintained. Through a County-sponsored program, rain barrels are distributed with a screen for the top to prevent mosquitoes from getting in. If you think some mosquitoes might be able to get in your barrel, we also recommend the use of mosquito dunks to kill any larvae in the barrel.
What are mosquito dunks? A natural insecticide (in disc form), which kills mosquito larvae. It is harmless to birds, fish, wildlife, and pets. Simply place a dunk in any standing water to control larvae for up to 30 days. They are available at hardware stores, some pet stores and online.
Zika Virus is most commonly spread through mosquito bites. Arlington County’s Zika response is based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because Zika is a relatively new public health concern, Arlington is prepared to be flexible and to adapt our response as we learn more about the virus.
Please read more on our Zika Virus page about the virus and how you can help prevent Zika in our community.
West Nile Virus
Facts About West Nile Virus
- West Nile Virus (WNV) is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile can be found in Virginia and throughout the region.
- Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
- Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite.
- The best way to prevent WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
West Nile Virus Illness
WNV causes no illness in most people, mild illness in some people, but serious illness in a few:
- About 80% of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
- Up to 20% of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days to several weeks.
- About one in 150 people (<1%) infected with WNV develop severe illness with high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, neurological effects may be permanent, and death may occur.
- People over age 50 are at greatest risk of serious illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).
- Supportive treatment is available for serious cases.
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