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Mosquitoes F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mosquitoes

What does the City of Albuquerque do to control mosquitoes?

The Urban Biology Division of the Environmental Health Department enforces integrated mosquito management methods to control mosquitoes as well as reduce disease transmission in Bernalillo County. City of Albuquerque implements larval control through water management and source reduction and with the use of environmentally-friendly EPA-approved larvicides. When source elimination or larval control measures are not achievable, or in the case of imminent disease, application of adulticides by certified applicators trained in the special handling of these products is used. The Urban Biology Division also employs biological control through the use of mosquitofish.

What attracts mosquitoes to me?

Carbon dioxide is the most universally recognized mosquito attractant and draws mosquitoes from up to 35 meters (just over 114 feet). Once in the general vicinity of a potential host, other cues predominate, including body odors (sweat, lactic acid, etc.) and heat. Odors produced by skin microflora also play a part in inducing the mosquito to land. Over 350 compounds have been isolated from odors produced by human skin. Visual stimuli, such as movement, also factor into host-seeking.

How long does it take for mosquitoes to breed?

Under the right conditions, it can take as little as a week for mosquito larvae to emerge as adults. In general, warmer weather means faster development.

What are the disease concerns associated with mosquitoes in Albuquerque?

The biggest concern for human disease associated with mosquitoes in Bernalillo County is West Nile virus. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes in Bernalillo County. Call 311 to report high mosquito populated areas and standing water or to request a spray of your neighborhood. Use insect repellents containing DEET when outdoors. Always follow the direction on the product. Avoid outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Keep your property free of mosquito breeding habitats. Dog heartworm can also be transmitted by mosquitoes in Bernalillo County. It is important to have dogs on heartworm prevention medicine year-round.

I got bit by a mosquito, will I contract Zika?

No. Zika virus is transmitted by a certain species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These two species of mosquito are not found in Bernalillo County. 

How do I report standing water to the City for treatment?

If you notice stagnant water at a site within Bernalillo County such as a swimming pool that is not maintained, water fountain that is not running, or open containers that are holding water, call 311 to report this site as a potential mosquito larval breeding site.

What is larviciding?

Larviciding is controlling mosquitoes in their larval stage. Control of larval mosquitoes is the backbone of the Urban Biology Division mosquito control program. Larvicides are products used to reduce immature mosquito populations. They can be either biological or chemical products. Larvicides are applied directly to water sources that hold mosquito eggs and larvae. When used well, larvicides can help to reduce the overall mosquito population by limiting the number of adult mosquitoes that are produced.

Is it safe for animals to drink water treated with larvicides?

Yes. Larvicides are effective only against mosquito larvae.

What is adulticiding?

Adulticiding is controlling mosquitoes in their adult stage. Adulticides are products that rapidly reduce adult mosquito populations. This can become necessary when larval control measures are insufficient or not feasible. Adulticiding may be initiated when there is evidence of significant populations of mosquitoes in a region or if there is evidence of mosquito-borne disease in Bernalillo County. The most common method of adulticiding is ultra-low volume (ULV) spraying. ULV spraying is the process of putting very small amounts of liquid into the air as a fine mist of droplets. These droplets float on the air currents and quickly eliminate mosquitoes that come into contact with them. ULV adulticides are applied when mosquitoes are most active, typically late evening or pre-dawn. Currently, the City of Albuquerque uses a permethrin product for adult mosquito control with ground ULV application. The ULV spray machines are mounted in the bed of trucks.

Are pesticides used in mosquito control safe?

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates mosquito control through enforcement of standards instituted by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. This legislation mandated documentation of extensive testing for public health insecticides according to EPA guidelines prior to their registration and use. These data requirements are among the most stringent in the federal government and are met through research by established scientists in federal, state and private institutions. This process ensures that the public health insecticides available for mosquito control do not represent health or environmental risks when used as directed. The dosages at which these products are legally dispensed are at least 100-fold less than the point at which public health and environmental safety merit consideration. In fact, literature posted on the websites of the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators and National Pesticide Information Center emphasize that proper use of pesticides by established mosquito control agencies does not put the general public or the environment at risk from runoff, leaching or drift when used according to label specifications. (For the federal government's position on risks associated with mosquito control insecticides, visit http:/www.epa.gov/pesticides).

Does spraying for mosquitoes affect animals other than mosquitoes?

The extremely small droplet aerosols utilized in adult mosquito control are designed to impact primarily adult mosquitoes at the time of the application. Degradation of these small droplets is rapid, leaving little or no residue in the target area at ground level. These special considerations are major factors that favor the use of very low application rates for these products, generally less than 4 grams active ingredient per acre are instrumental in minimizing adverse impacts.

If I don’t see fog trucks in my area, does that mean the City of Albuquerque isn’t controlling the mosquitoes?

We do most of our mosquito spraying in late evening or pre-dawn. Our machines are very quiet and typically do not disturb citizens. We also have larviciding equipment and technicians covering the whole county during the daylight hours on a weekly basis throughout the summer.

Why is mosquito spraying conducted at night or early morning?

A majority of mosquito species are active at night (late afternoon) or early morning and these hours are the best times to target them. These times also reduce the impact we have on non-target species (honey bees, butterflies, etc.). Other benefits of fogging at night include: less people outside and lower temperatures.

What can I do if I do not want my house/property sprayed for mosquitoes?

City of Albuquerque Urban Biology Division maintains a mosquito no-spray list. Please call 311 and request your address to be added to our mosquito no-spray list. Be prepared to provide your contact information and address.