Mosquito-borne diseases are a threat from spring through fall in Oklahoma City, and the best ways to fight them are to drain standing water and protect your skin with repellent and long clothes.
Wear repellent and long sleeves
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using mosquito repellents with DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE or PMD). Essential lemon eucalyptus oil not formulated as a repellent is not recommended.
Check the label of insect repellents in stores to make sure one of those is listed as an ingredient. Spray the repellent on your exposed skin and clothes. Also check the label to be sure it's OK to apply to your skin, as some repellents are designed only to be sprayed on clothes.
It’s also helpful to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you’re outside.
Drain or report standing water
Drain standing water on your property to help fight mosquitoes at home. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, and the larvae will hatch if the water isn’t drained or treated with larvicide.
You can report standing water on public property to the Action Center online or by calling (405) 297-2535.
You can report standing water on private property to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department online or by calling (405) 425-4347, (405) 425-4348 or (405) 425-4319.
Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn
Mosquitoes can be a threat all day and night, but they’re most active at dusk and dawn.
The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to avoid being outside at dusk and dawn. Whenever you must be outside, remember to wear repellent on your exposed skin and clothes, and wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
OKC, City-County Health Department partner to fight mosquitoes
The City of OKC and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) are partners with our residents in the fight against mosquito-borne illnesses.
The City of OKC tests standing water on public property for mosquito larvae. If larvae are present, crews control them with larvicide that prevents them from emerging as adults. It’s not harmful to people, pets or wildlife.
The City does not spray for mosquitoes.
OCCHD monitors the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses locally by exchanging information with local physicians, the state Health Department, CDC and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.
OCCHD also monitors mosquito traps for mosquitoes carrying illnesses that can be transmitted to people.
The most common mosquito-borne disease in Oklahoma is the West Nile virus, and it’s a deadly threat every year. The Zika virus is another mosquito-borne disease that is a rising international threat, but there has never been a reported case of a Zika-infected mosquito in Oklahoma.
Mosquito-borne diseases are most often transmitted to people through a bite from an infected mosquito. But people can transmit some mosquito-borne diseases to other people through sexual activity.
Mosquitoes can also become infected by biting an infected person, and can then spread the infection to other people through more bites.
If you have recently traveled to an area where mosquito-borne diseases are a threat, it’s important to use mosquito repellent even after you return home to prevent local mosquitoes from biting you and becoming infected.
Tips for fighting mosquitoes
- Get rid of garbage that holds water. Mosquitoes can lay hundreds of eggs in something as small as a soda can.
- Change water daily in birdbaths and pet water bowls.
- Clean out clogged rain gutters and repair leaky outdoor plumbing fixtures.
- Don't dump grass or other yard waste into storm drains or drainage channels. Clogged storm drainage areas make good mosquito breeding areas.
- Cover rain barrels with a screen as required by City ordinance.
- Boats stored outdoors should be covered or stored upside down.
- Repair damaged screens on doors and windows.
- Use mosquito dunks and other approved mosquito control products on your property. You can find them at home improvement stores. The state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department maintains a list of approved products you can find here on the Oklahoma State University website.
- Make sure tire swings or other tires on your property aren’t holding water.