Virginia Beach Mosquito Control Flies Into Mosquito Season

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Public Works - Mosquito Control Bureau has begun its summer activities to reduce mosquito populations throughout the city.

Every year, crews treat and control the mosquito population in order to combat some of the diseases transmitted by mosquitos:  West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, Chikungunya virus, malaria – and added to this year’s watch list – the Zika virus.

Mosquito Control officials are working closely with officials from the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health to monitor mosquito activities and inform the public.

“Although most people will have mild or no symptoms if they contract these diseases, some individuals can become very ill and have long-term side effects,” said Dr. Heidi Kulberg, District Director.  “The Zika virus has captured headlines recently due to its association with birth defects in babies whose mother acquired the virus during pregnancy.”

A big challenge this year for our community will be preventing the Zika virus from gaining a presence in our community. The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes species mosquito, specifically the Asian Tiger, here in Virginia Beach. This species of mosquito is primarily active during the day. It uses standing water in containers such as potted plant trays and bird baths as its habitat and it takes one week from the time an egg is laid until an adult has emerged. It does not fly far and usually remains within 200 yards of its habitat.

The most effective way to keep the Zika virus and all the other mosquito borne illnesses out of Virginia Beach will be for people to “TIP and TOSS” the standing water in all containers at least once a week and  eliminate any other standing water in their back yards and local community.Residents can take a number of steps to prevent or limit mosquito activity and the transmission of diseases:

  • ​​Turn over or remove containers in your yard where rainwater collects, such as potted plant trays, buckets, or toys. 
  • Empty bird baths once a week.
  • Remove old tires from your yard.
  • Eliminate standing water on flat roofs, boats, and tarps.
  • Clear obstructions in ditches so they flow and drain. Fill in puddles with soil, or a mixture of sand and gravel, or dig drainage ditches to drain puddles.
  • If puddles or ditches cannot be drained or filled in, treat standing water with mosquito larvicides (dunks or granules) that can be purchased at any hardware store.
​Additionally, people who spend a lot of time outdoors should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including:

  • Wear long, loose, light colored clothing, long sleeves, and a hat.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellant and follow label instructions.
The Mosquito Control Bureau adds a second layer or protection by implementing its measures to control the mosquito population:  larviciding and adulticiding.

Larviciding is the destruction of immature mosquitoes found in standing water.  Crews are larviciding when they go to known breeding sites throughout the city and treat standing water with materials which destroy the water borne stages of mosquitoes.  This method of mosquito control kills insects before they get the chance to mature, fly and begin biting.

In a typical season, crews will treat about 1,000 acres of standing water against immature mosquitoes, killing mosquitos before they ever get the chance to fly and bite.

Adulticiding is when night time personnel apply pesticides from machines mounted in pickup trucks in areas of the city where there are large populations of adult mosquitoes.  This is probably the most well-known activity by the public, and the one that receives the most notoriety and attention from the public.  It is, however, a late-stage effort to control adult mosquitoes that somehow manage to escape the previous larviciding efforts.

Throughout a single summer, the Bureau’s personnel will perform adulticiding treatments on between 500,000 and 700,000 acres of area throughout the City.

From November through April, crews provide ditch maintenance services which reduce the amount of standing water available to mosquitoes for egg laying and maturing.   This involves no chemicals and is considered one of the more permanent forms of mosquito control.

Mosquito Control’s biology lab personnel play an important role in the City’s efforts by testing mosquitoes and sentinel chicken blood for diseases carried by mosquitoes, according to Jennifer Pierce, biologist with the lab.  “We set traps in yards and locations throughout the city, take the mosquitos we trap back to the lab, and study them.  The information we collect is used by our field crews to determine the locations of our adulticiding efforts.

To request services from the Mosquito Control Bureau, please call 757.385.1470 and identify your control request or mosquito problem.

To learn more about the Zika virus, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website:

You can find additional information about mosquito control, prevention steps, disease information, videos and fact sheets at the Virginia Department of Health’s website: