For Your Safety: Avoid Mosquitoes

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

  • 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.

Mosquitoes Are Part of Estuarine Ecosystems

The National Park Service is mandated to protect the natural features 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.


Monitoring Mosquitoes

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.


Last updated: June 22, 2018

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