TRENTON, NJ — As the phased reopening of New Jersey continues amid the COVID-19 pandemic and warming weather, the mosquito population and risk for disease is more important than ever, said NJ Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner R. McCabe.
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.
The EPA says residents can take these steps to protect themselves and their families:
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents when outdoors and wear protective clothing.
- Empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans at least once or twice a week.
- Clear clogged rain gutters.
- Check for and remove any containers or trash that may be difficult to see, such as under bushes, homes or around building exteriors.
- Dispose of unused tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property.
- Drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers left outdoors.
- Repair and clean storm-damaged roof gutters, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees tend to clog drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Avoid allowing water to stagnate in bird baths.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens become major mosquito producers if they stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, including those not in use. An untended swimming pool can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitos may develop in the water that collects on pool covers.
- Stay in air-conditioned places or rooms with window screens that prevent access by mosquitoes.
- If a mosquito problem remains after taking the above steps, call your county mosquito control agency and ask for assistance. There are larval habitats that only your local mosquito control program can properly address.
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.