Virus Prevention

The best way to prevent West Nile encephalitis and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and neighborhood and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eliminate Standing Water

During the summer season, mosquitoes are capable of using any standing water that lasts more than seven to ten days as a breeding ground. If you suspect a water source that may hold water for greater than 7 days may become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, please contact the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District at 847-537-2306.

Residents are able to protect themselves by reducing the amount of standing water around their homes. It is important to:

  • Dispose old tires, cans, flower pots, or other unused containers that may hold water.
  • Keep all drains and ditches free from grass, weeds, or trash so that water is able to drain properly.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters.
  • Monitor swimming pool covers and any other covered items which may be able to hold water.

Home Maintenance

Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.

  • Keep weeds and tall grass cut short; adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours.
  • Level the ground around your home so water can run off and not collect in low spots. Fill in holes or depressions near your home that accumulate water.
  • Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water

Source: Northwest Mosquito Abatement District

Mosquito Repellents

Insect repellents can help reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry West Nile. Using insect repellent allows you to continue to play and work outdoors with a reduced risk of mosquito bites. Apply repellent when you are going to be outdoors. In general you should re-apply repellent if you are being bitten by mosquitoes. Products containing DEET and Picaridin (both EPA approved repellents) typically provide longer-lasting protection than others.

Guidelines for using inspect repellent on children:

  • When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children’s eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears.
  • Do not apply repellent to children’s hands. (Children may tend to put their hands in their mouths.)
  • Do not allow young children to apply insect repellent to themselves; have an adult do it for them.
  • Keep repellents out of reach of children.
  • Do not apply repellent under clothing. If repellent is applied to clothing, wash treated clothing before wearing again. (May vary by product, check label for specific instructions.)

Source: Centers for Disease Control

Other Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Wear appropriate clothing. Long-sleeved tops and long pants made of tightly woven materials keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Be sure, too, that your clothing is light colored. Keep trouser legs tucked into boots or socks.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies any time.
  • Avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite. Generally, the peak biting periods occur just before and after sunset and again just before dawn.

Source: Northwest Mosquito Abatement District

Mosquito Spraying, Control & Surveillance

The Northwest Mosquito Abatement District is a governmental agency that operates under the Illinois Statute through which it was created in 1956. It is governed by an appointed five member board of trustees. The District serves approximately 240 square miles of Cook County, including the Village of Palatine, and exists to accomplish two important goals:

  • To protect the public from mosquito-borne diseases, and
  • To improve the quality of life by reducing the number of nuisance mosquitoes.

The District uses three different methods of control in its integrated program. These are:

  • Larviciding
  • Water Management
  • Adulticiding

To kill mosquito larvae before they can become adults, the District uses a technique called "survey and surveillance." First they seek out all of the water sources that could produce mosquitoes, and map them for future reference. Then they inspect them routinely for mosquito production. Finally, only if the site is producing mosquitoes, do they treat the area with an environmentally sensitive larvicide, designed to have minimum impact on "non-mosquito" organisms.

If you suspect a water source that may hold water for greater than 7 days may become a breeding ground for mosquitoes or to report a biting mosquito problem, please contact the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District at 847-537-2306.