BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -- As summer weather gets underway, Berkeley Heights residents should be mindful that controlling the mosquito population and risk for disease is more important than ever. During the 2018 and 2019 mosquito seasons, surveillance programs documented above-average mosquito populations and record-setting levels of West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

In Union County, the Mosquito Control Bureau is responsible for controlling the mosquito population. The bureau inspects, constructs, and maintains drainage ditches to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed. In an effort to curb the insects’ activity, the bureau sprays in various areas within Union County on both a scheduled and ‘as-needed’ basis. 

Persons who wish to minimize direct exposure to pesticides, whether from Mosquito Control activities or from their personal use, can take the following standard precautions:

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  • When possible, stay indoors when pesticides are in use outdoors.

  • Close air conditioner vents or choose the “re-circulate” function.

  • Remove outdoor toys, or wash them before using again.

  • Remove laundry from clotheslines, or wash it.

  • Wash all produce thoroughly with water.

To help keep the mosquito population down, residents and business owners should check their property for any places where small amounts of water can collect such as empty flower pots, pool covers, and children’s toys. In particular, roof gutters should be checked for sagging or blocked areas where water can collect. Litter and debris, especially discarded tires, are other favorite breeding sites.

The following standard precautions help to reduce the risk of mosquito bites:

  • When possible, limit time outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

  • Weather permitting, wear long and light-colored clothing.

  • Use a repellent approved for use on skin and clothing, and to follow all instructions on the label carefully. 

  • Use window screens and check them periodically for tears or holes.

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 needed, the inspectors will also survey the surrounding area.

To learn more about the New Jersey State Mosquito Control Commission and for links to county mosquito agencies, visit www.nj.gov/dep/mosquito.

The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee Founded in 2010, the Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) is an all-volunteer committee consisting of business owners, community leaders, and residents of Berkeley Heights Township. The BHCC’s mission is to maximize the transparency of Township activities as well as promote both public and private sector initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life for local community members. For more information, visit the Township’s website or email the committee at: BHCommunications@bhtwp.com.