For Your Safety: Avoid Mosquitoes

While Fire Island is known for it's pristine beaches and ocean waters, the environment can be a harsh place for visitors. Moquitoes are very common on Fire Island and not being prepared can ruin your vacation. Salt marsh mosquitoes are prevalent on Fire Island and can be a nuissance throughout the warmer months, especially when large amounts of salt marsh mosquitoes hatch at the same time within 7 to 10 days of a full or new moon. Although salt marsh mosquitoes do not transmit diseases, these large hatches can chase off the most rugged of visitors. When visiting the park, check the lunar cycle to estimate a large salt marsh mosquito hatch and try your best to avoid it.

 

What You Can Do To Avoid Mosquitoes

  • Safely apply appropriate insect repellents (28-30% DEET or citronella).
  • Wear a 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 when mosquitoes are most active during 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.
 

Why don't you spray?


The National Park Service is mandated to protect the environment within its boundaries, while ensuring human health and the safety of park visitors, residents and employees.This includes native specieis, like mosquitoes.

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


Fresh water 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 fresh water mosquitoes live at Fire Island, the risk of contracting EEE or WNV at the park is low. The majority of mosquito bites on Fire Island come from salt marsh mosquitoes which do not readily transmit diseases. Salt marsh mosquitoes can be aggressive and annoying, and protecting yourself by covering up, using mosquito repelent, and avoiding being outside during dawn and dusk is important to avoid bites.

The park regularly tests mosquitoes in the summer and early fall to ensure there is no human health risk to visitors and staff. If mosquito testing detects WNV or EEE, the park may take action by increasing testing, closing visitor sites, or spraying to keep people safe. Fortunately, this is not common and the risk of mosquito-borne disease is low at Fire Island. For more information about mosquito management at Fire Island visit:

 

Last updated: September 2, 2020

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120 Laurel Street
Patchogue, NY 11772

Phone:

631-687-4750

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