PUNGO, Va. - Flood waters have been a problem for many people across Hampton Roads, and now some are dealing with an increase in mosquitoes.
“You come in and you’re all bit up. It’s just been terrible,” said Pungo resident Kathleen Denton. “They’re horrible. I step outside and there’s like 20 or 30 of them on my arm.”
Denton said she has lived in Pungo since 1989.
She said in recent days the mosquitoes have been overwhelming. Experts say the mosquitoes will likely increase and continue to be a nuisance after warm temperatures follow the heavy rainfall we've seen across our region.
Virginia Beach Mosquito Control Biologist Jennifer Barritt said there are several things people can do to protect themselves.
She suggests emptying standing water on your property, wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellent.
She said the city works to treat and spray mosquitoes but said the rain is making it difficult.
“We are aware that there are problems and we’re trying to get out there and help after all the water that we’ve had,” said Barritt.
Denton said she is frustrated and just wants the rain to stop.
“It will dry out someday,” she said.
Below is information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
The most effective way to avoid getting sick from viruses spread by mosquitoes when at home and during travel is to prevent mosquito bites.
Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy. They can spread viruses that make you sick or, in rare cases, cause death. Although most kinds of mosquitoes are just nuisance mosquitoes, some kinds of mosquitoes in the United States and around the world spread viruses that can cause disease.
Mosquitoes bite during the day and night, live indoors and outdoors and search for warm places as temperatures begin to drop. Some will hibernate in enclosed spaces, like garages, sheds and under (or inside) homes to survive cold temperatures. Except for the southernmost states in North America, mosquito season starts in the summer and continues into fall.
Examples of viruses spread by mosquitoes:
- Eastern equine encephalitis
- Japanese encephalitis
- La Crosse encephalitis
- Louis encephalitis
- West Nile
- Yellow fever
When used as directed, insect repellents are the best way to protect yourself and family members from getting sick from mosquito bites.
- Use insect repellent: When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning, or window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
For more information, see the Mosquito Bite Prevention fact sheet.