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Differences in mosquito control practices at the local level involve the interplay of place, scale and politics. During the Chicago West Nile Virus (WNV) outbreak of 2002, mosquito abatement districts represent distinct suburban clusters of human WNV cases, independent of characteristics of the local population, housing and physical environment. We examine how the contrasting actions of four districts reveal a distinct local politics of mosquito control that may have contributed to local-scale geographic differences in WNV incidence. This politics is rooted in political, economic and philosophical differences within and between administrative boundaries.