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Mosquito Control Guidelines

Guidelines For Mosquito Control Programs

NCAP is committed to promoting alternatives and does not recommend the use of pesticides. However, we recognize that many communities faced with West Nile virus outbreaks will begin or expand mosquito spray programs. NCAP recommends the following guidelines for pesticide programs developed in response to West Nile virus:


  • Communities should act carefully and thoughtfully. Planning should begin early so that crisis actions are not necessary. Educate the local community about West Nile virus.
  • No pesticides should be used unless there are also "source reduction" efforts to reduce mosquito breeding habitat. In addition to management of public areas, source reduction should include cooperative efforts with residents and businesses. Comprehensive public education about source reduction is essential.


  • Focus on programs to kill mosquito larvae. Larval control is more targeted than mosquito sprays aimed at adults.
  • Applications of pesticides (larvicides or adulticides) should target areas where mosquitoes are abundant. Before using a pesticide, vector control districts should conduct systematic monitoring to identify where mosquito population levels are high.
  • Pesticide applications should be conducted when they are most effective.
  • Choose application techniques to minimize exposure of people and the environment. Ground applications can be more precisely targeted than aerial applications.
  • Choose pesticides that selectively target mosquitoes.
  • Choose pesticides that minimize hazards to people and the environment.
  • Community-level assessments of health and environmental hazards associated with spray plans help identify local conditions that warrant specific accommodations to protect people and wildlife. More general state or national-level assessments may not address local needs.
  • Pesticide products contain "inert" ingredients that are often kept secret from the public. Insist on disclosure of all ingredients in the pesticide products used for mosquito control.
  • Community residents and businesses should be notified at least 72 hours prior to any pesticide application.
  • Community residents should be informed about what they can do to minimize pesticide exposure.


  • Monitor mosquito populations before and after pesticide applications in order to target applications and document their efficacy.
  • Monitor pesticide contamination of the environment to identify potential problems.
  • Establish a "hotline" to collect reports of any suspected pesticide-related illnesses from residents and physicians.

No Spray Registry

  • Provide community residents the option to be excluded from the mosquito abatement program's pesticide treatments. This option assists certified organic farmers and others wishing to avoid pesticide exposure.
  • Require community residents participating in the no spray registry to commit to managing mosquitoes on their property.
  • Notify community residents of the no spray registry option.

Do You Live Within a Mosquito Control District?

In order to determine your community's preparedness for dealing with West Nile virus, first try to determine if you live in a mosquito control district by checking the appropriate web site below. If your community has a mosquito control or abatement district, contact them regarding the items covered in NCAP's "Guidelines for Mosquito Control Programs" (above). If there is no mosquito control program, contact your local health department to ask about your community's preparations.

State Mosquito control programs Health Department
CA California:
Local Mosquito Control Agency Information
California Dept. of Public Health:
West Nile Virus
ID Idaho Careline (Dept. of Health & Welfare)
West Nile Virus Resources
or contact county commissioners.
Idaho Health Services
MT Montana Dept. of Agriculture:
Montana Dept. of Public Health & Human Services:
Hot Topic - West Nile Virus
OR Oregon Dept. of Human Services:
Mosquito Control Districts by County
Oregon Dept. of Human Services:
County Health Departments
WA Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington:
Mosquito Control Districts
Washington Dept. of Health:
Local Health Depts/Districts
All other states Centers for Disease Control: Links to State and Local Government WNV Web Wites
NPIC National Pesticide Information Center: West Nile Virus State Links