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About Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are more than just pests that fly around your head, buzz in your ears and cause itchy welts on your skin. They can carry harmful diseases that afflict humans, pets and wild animals.

There are more than 150 different species of mosquitoes that inhabit the United States. 51 different species of mosquito have been found in Massachusetts alone. The most harmful viruses that have been contracted via mosquito bite in Massachusetts are currently Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus, however, it is important to be aware of other mosquito-borne illnesses that can be contracted abroad. These include Chikungunya Virus, Dengue Fever, Malaria, Yellow Fever and Zika Virus.




The Bad News:

This week, we had our first identified Asian tiger mosquito (ATM) sample collected in Barnstable County confirmed by the MA Department of Public Heath.

The sample was collected in 2 ovitraps set 8/17-8/24 at a marina in Harwich. 

These traps are designed to attract mosquitoes to lay their eggs on paper inside the trap.  33 out of the 59 eggs on the paper hatched and they were all Asian tiger mosquitoes.  The current theory is these mosquitoes are entering our area on boats.  We have traps placed in various locations around Cape Cod.  These are the first Asian tiger mosquitoes collected on Cape Cod this year and historically the first record of Asian tiger mosquitoes in Harwich.

These mosquitoes are an invasive species that are also aggressive daytime biters.

They are small in size and tend to target people’s legs. Fortunately they don’t fly far and lay their eggs in man-made containers (like the vectors of West Nile virus).  Education is key.

The Good News:

The mosquito populations have declined significantly.  We had only one sample come back positive for West Nile virus.

BARNSTABLE: One sample of 36 Culex pipiens/restuans mosquitoes trapped in Cotuit collected on 9/12 tested positive for West Nile virus.

Testing is only positive or negative, so we don’t know how many mosquitoes in the batch were positive.

*According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health the risk level for transmission of West Nile virus for all of the towns in Barnstable County is MODERATE.*

The message remains the same: Any reminder to the public to check their property for standing water and use EPA registered repellents would be appreciated. 

While the number of mosquitoes are declining in our traps, the risk for disease transmission continues until the first frost.

More information from MADPH: General information and fact sheets are available at:

Current information on mosquitoes, animals and humans with positive WNV or EEE results can be found at: Current WNV and EEE Activity.