Warm weather in North Carolina means more outdoor fun—but also more mosquitoes and ticks.
"Ticks and mosquitoes are everywhere in North Carolina. And their bites can cause serious diseases."
-Alexis M. Barbarin, a state public health entomologist
Fight the Bite
Protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes with these tips:
- Use repellent that contains DEET on exposed skin, or other EPA approved repellents. Use caution when applying to children.
- Treat your clothing with a pesticide called permethrin. This includes boots, pants and socks.
- Check yourself and your children for ticks if you've been outside.
- Consider your surroundings:
- To reduce tick habitats, try these landscaping techniques.
- To reduce mosquito breeding, "Tip and Toss" standing water at least once a week from:
- Pool covers
- Pet water dishes
- Discarded tires
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors and use air conditioning if possible.
- If you're traveling to an area where exotic mosquito-borne diseases occur:
The 'DEETs' on Diseases Caused by Ticks and Mosquitoes
In 2022, North Carolina saw almost 700 cases of tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses. These are also called vector-borne diseases.
Most tick-borne diseases occur between June and September. Lyme disease was most reported last year, followed by:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Alpha-gal syndrome
- Southern tick-associated rash illness, or STARI
- These diseases can cause fever, headache, rashes, flu-like illness and more severe symptoms.
The mosquito-borne diseases seen most often in North Carolina are:
- West Nile virus (WNV)
- Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE)
- La Crosse encephalitis (LAC)
LAC is especially prevalent in North Carolina. Between 2012 and 2021, the state had the second-highest number of cases in the country.
Traveling outside the United States has caused most of the mosquito-borne diseases in N.C. This includes cases of malaria, dengue, chikungunya and Zika.