ELIZABETH, NJ - Amplified by the hot and wet summer to date, conditions that are conducive to mosquito breeding, the New Jersey State Department of Health expects that there may be an uptick in the number of mosquito sampling sites that test positive for the West Nile Virus.

Residents are reminded to continue taking steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites and help reduce the mosquito population. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, with even an area as small as a bottle cap can become a breeding area.

To help reduce breeding opportunities, residents and businesses are advised to check their property regularly for water collecting in outdoor equipment, children’s toys and playsets, and garden ornaments including flower pots, buckets, recycling containers, grills, wheelbarrows and tarpaulins.

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Unused pools, fountains and ornamental ponds should be drained and covered. Water in birdbaths should be refreshed daily, and gutters should be checked regularly. Discarded tires, litter and other debris should be removed from the property, as they can hold small amounts of stagnant water.

Additional guidance for property owners is available through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection at nj.gov/dep/mosquito/owners.htm.

To avoid mosquito bites, residents are advised to use EPA-registered insect repellents and to follow all instructions on the label carefully. Another effective precaution is to wear long, light-colored clothing when outdoors. Exposure can also be reduced by avoiding time outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

The County’s first Mosquito Control Commission was established over 100 years ago and is the second oldest in the nation. The Union County Bureau of Mosquito Control regularly inspects and tests for mosquitoes throughout the County and conducts spraying operations as needed.

Mosquito infestations can be reported by calling the Union County Mosquito Hotline at 908-654-9834 during business hours. County inspectors will examine the property and provide guidance on eliminating breeding sites. If necessary, the inspectors will also survey the surrounding area.