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Administration Finance & Focus

Facilities Services

How the UH community can stay protected from mosquitoes

By Jacquie Vargas

Mosquitoes can carry diseases in addition to causing itchy skin reactions. Although Houstonians are accustomed to the nuisance, it is important to stay protected.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published various articles explaining the importance of carefully selecting an insect repellant. Considerations for selecting the right repellant include the type of insect, the amount of protection time, and active ingredients found within the repellant. For example, some individuals are allergic to DEET and therefore can not use that ingredient in their repellant. The EPA site not only explains the factors to consider but has a search tool to put them into a database to see which insect repellant is right for the occasion and situation at hand.

Insect repellants are just one way to avoid bites and limit the spread of potential diseases. The Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services office (HCPHES) recommends the following procedures to “Fight the Bite/Reduce Your Risk!”:

  • Limit time outside at dusk and dawn.
  • Dress in long-sleeved shirts/pants, light-colored and loose clothing and socks.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Drain standing water from pots, containers, water dishes or bird baths.

The University of Houston plans to continue to use a comprehensive treatment process to control the mosquito population on campus. The main strategy is to treat areas where mosquitos breed to kill them before they mature into adults.

Facilities Services is working with the campus pest control provider, who will use a larvicide to treat areas of standing water. This is more effective than the fogging that has traditionally been used.

“Larvicides are products used to kill immature mosquitoes before they become adults. Larvicides are applied directly to water sources that hold mosquito eggs, larvae or pupae. When used well, larvicides can help to reduce the overall mosquito burden by limiting the number of new mosquitoes that are produced,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, an adulticide will be used in conjunction with the larvicide in heavily vegetated areas to add an additional level of control for the mosquitos.

Standing water from the recent rains provides a ready source for mosquitoes to reproduce in force. The pest control provider will treat these areas of standing water and also treat landscape beds as well. This is because mosquitos hide inside and under the plants during the day.

If you would like to report an area of campus that might require these treatments, please contact the FIX-IT Customer Service Center at or 713-743-4948.