The following is a republished press release from the Tompkins County Health Department and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements directly to The Voice, email

Mosquitoes are considered a nuisance pest, but occasionally they can transmit viruses to people and some animals. Although your chances of being infected with a disease through a mosquito bite are small, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten. Reduce the mosquito population around your home and property, reduce or eliminate all standing water:

  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of outdoor recycling bins so they can drain freely.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters and make sure they drain properly.
  • Remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.
  • Drain temporary pools of water or fill with dirt.
  • Turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Change the water in birdbaths twice weekly.
  • Clean vegetation and debris from edges of ponds.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, hot tubs and other water features, such as fountains and garden ponds.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
  • Dispose of used tires, which are a significant mosquito-breeding site. The Tompkins County Division of Solid Waste Management will dispose of tires and other debris for a small fee. Call them at 273-6632 for information.

It is not necessary to stay indoors. However, try to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. In addition to reducing standing water in your yard, take the following steps:

  • Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that screens are free of rips, tears and holes.
  • Cover your skin as completely as possible. Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use mosquito repellent. Always apply according to label directions. Information on choosing and safely using insect repellents is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at
  • Cover baby carriers and beds with mosquito netting when outdoors.
  • Avoid going outdoors at sunrise, sunset and early evening when mosquitoes are most active.

Prevention of mosquito bites is the most important way to reduce your risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For information about mosquito-borne diseases, please visit the New York State Department of Health websites for details on West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Zika Virus.

Featured image: “Mosquito” by Tom is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.