There are many illnesses spread by mosquitoes in Wisconsin. Not all mosquitoes spread illnesses, and you won't get sick from every mosquito bite, but it is important to make sure you are aware of mosquitoes, the illnesses they can spread, and how to prevent bites in the first place.
- Basics. Mosquitoes are a type of fly. In Wisconsin, there are many types of mosquitoes, but only some types can spread illnesses. Most people who get sick from a mosquito bite will become ill in the summer and early fall. This is when mosquitoes are most active and people are outdoors.
- Life Cycle. Mosquitoes have a life cycle that includes four different stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on or near water, and the eggs hatch after coming into contact with the water. After hatching, the larvae will feed until they have enough energy to change into pupae. The pupae then grow into adult mosquitoes, the only flying stage. Only adult female mosquitoes bite humans and other animals to get blood meals, after which they lay their eggs on or near water, starting the cycle again. The life cycle of a mosquito usually takes two weeks. However, it can range from four days to one month.
- Habitat. Mosquitoes live in areas with slow-moving or stagnant water, as well as forests, marshes, and tall grasses. Mosquitoes fly and land on animals or humans to bite the host's skin and consume blood. Warmer and wetter climates can increase the risk of getting an illness from a mosquito. In Wisconsin, climate change has created favorable conditions for mosquitoes to survive in more areas of the state, has made the mosquito season longer, and allows infected mosquitoes to spread diseases faster. For more information, visit our Climate and Infectious Disease page.
In general, mosquitoes can be divided into two different types based on the habitats where they lay their eggs: standing water mosquitoes and floodwater mosquitoes. Most mosquito eggs need small amounts of water to hatch and develop into adult mosquitoes. For more information on the mosquito life cycle, and how to prevent mosquitoes around your home, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website.
- Prevention. The best way to avoid getting sick from a mosquito is to prevent bites in the first place. There are many ways to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing insect repellent and wearing appropriate clothes when you are outdoors. Check out other tips to prevent mosquito bites!
- Illnesses Spread by Mosquitoes Fact Sheet, P-42026 (Multiple Languages): Educational fact sheet for the general public on illnesses spread by mosquitoes covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
- Dengue Fever Fact Sheet, P-42043 (Multiple Languages): Educational fact sheet for the general public on dengue covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis Fact Sheet, P-42109 (Multiple Languages): Educational fact sheet for the general public on Eastern equine encephalitis covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
- Jamestown Canyon Virus Fact Sheet, P-02452 (PDF): Educational fact sheet for the general public on Jamestown Canyon virus covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
- Malaria Fact Sheet, 42071 (Multiple Languages): Educational fact sheet for the general public on malaria covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
- West Nile Virus Fact Sheet, P-42104 (Multiple Languages): Educational fact sheet for the general public on West Nile virus covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Health Care Professionals
Vectorborne Disease Toolkit, P-01109 (PDF): A planning guide for public health and emergency planning professionals.
Resources can be ordered for free from DHS. Here's how:
- Download the Microsoft Word document F-80025A (this can be used to order multiple forms/publications).
- Internet Explorer Users: When downloading a Word form, you may get a Windows Security popup box asking for a login ID and a password. The form will open if you choose "Cancel."
- Complete the form by tabbing through the input fields, not by using the return or enter key.
- Email the completed form to the DHS forms managers.
- If you have questions about ordering forms or publications, please email the DHS forms manager or call 608-267-9054.
- Mosquito Bite Prevention in the United States (PDF): A CDC two-page resource providing general information on how to prevent mosquito bites.
- Mosquito Bite Prevention for Travelers (PDF): A CDC two-page resource providing information to travelers on how to prevent mosquito bites abroad.
- Mosquito Life Cycle Fact Sheet (PDF): A CDC two-page resource with information on the life cycle of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes
Questions about illnesses spread by mosquitoes? Contact us!
Phone: 608-267-9003 | Fax: 608-261-4976