• Miles of uncrowded white sandy beaches extend to the horizon, separating the clear blue ocean and undulating grass-covered dunes.

    Fire Island

    National Seashore New York

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  • New Backcountry Camping procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through Recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Davis Park or access points west, and involve a 2½ to 10 mile hike. More »

For Your Safety: Avoid Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes under microscope.

Mosquitoes on Fire Island are a major component of the natural food chain. Mosquitoes are also vectors of organisms that can cause human diseases.

While Fire Island National Seashore has an active mosquito monitoring program to detect the presence of infected mosquitoes, you should make every effort to avoid becoming a part of the "food chain."

 

What You Can Do To Avoid Mosquitoes

  • Protect yourself. Safely apply appropriate insect repellents (28-30% DEET or citronella).
  • Wear hat, long sleeves, pants and socks or net "bug out" suits when in mosquito habitat to keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Time your outdoor activities to avoid each species' particular feeding time. Use extra protection if you are out at dawn or dusk.
  • Check your surroundings for sources of stagnant water (gutters, birdbaths, septic systems, buckets and open containers, tarps, puddles) that provide breeding habitat for freshwater mosquitoes. Empty standing water.

Always use insect repellents safely.

 

The National Park Service is mandated to protect the natural resources within its boundaries, while ensuring human health and the safety of park visitors, residents and employees. This is a delicate balancing act.

Mosquitoes are an integral part of complex estuarine ecosystems. In their larval stages, mosquitoes are at the beginning of the food web for commercial and recreational fisheries. As adults, mosquitoes provide food for birds and other wildlife. Dragonflies, birds, and bats eat adult mosquitoes, and small fish and diving beetles eat tiny mosquito larvae suspended just below the water's surface.

Mosquitoes begin as tiny eggs deposited in wet areas such as ponds, marshes, mud flats, or outdoor containers such as old tires or buckets. You can eliminate mosquito breeding areas by eliminating anything that can collect rainwater.

Male mosquitoes eat only plant nectar which aids in pollination, but females need to eat blood to produce eggs. Mosquitoes generally seek rabbits and deer, but they may choose any warm-blooded animal including humans. They locate prey by detecting carbon dioxide (CO2) which all animals, including humans, exhale when breathing.

 
Dressed in protective gear, a park biologist collects mosquitoes from a trap in the shrubs.

Park biologist (mosquito technician) collects mosquitoes from a gravid trap on Fire Island, then sorts and sends samples out for testing.

Mosquitoes are known to transmit both Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus and West Nile virus (WNV), and several other arboviruses that can cause human illness. Although several species of mosquitoes live at Fire Island, the risk of contracting EEE or WNV at the park is low. To ensure the health and safety of people, the National Park Service has implemented a relatively extensive mosquito surveillance program at Fire Island National Seashore to detect any incidence of EEE or WNV in the mosquito population.

The National Park Service works closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Suffolk County Department of Health Service, Suffolk County Vector Control, and local Fire Island and Long Island municipalities to determine the best course of action to protect residents, visitors and employees of the Seashore. When threats to human health (such as the presence of West Nile Virus) occur, actions to protect the public may include control methods such as applying larvicide or spraying. The public is notified 24 hours in advance of any spray event. Information on the date and exact location of any spraying can be found on the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Division of Vector Control's web site or by calling 631-852-4939.

 

For More Information

Learn more about Fire Island National Seashore's mosquito monitoring program.

A safety flyer, Mosquitoes and People, is available at park offices and visitor centers.

 

Did You Know?

Crowd of people form a line at ferry terminal building.

The Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal is a short, 2-block walk from the Long Island Railroad Station in Patchogue, New York. From there, you can enjoy a delightful 25-minute passenger ferry trip across the Great South Bay to the facilties at Watch Hill. (Open mid-May to mid-October only.) More...