The County of Union is asking County residents to check their property for standing water: potential breeding sites for mosquitos. The significant amount of rainfall the area has recently experienced can leave behind small amounts of standing water that female mosquitos require to breed.
There are about 20 different species of mosquitos in Union County. Included in this group is the Asian tiger mosquito. This non-native species has been moving northward since it was first identified in Texas in 1985. It has now found a home in at least half of New Jersey, including Union County.
Unlike many mosquitos, the Asian Tiger strikes both day and night and shuns green space. It prefers crowded urban habitats including patios and backyards. The tiger mosquito tends to utilize areas that most other mosquitos will not. It is called a “container mosquito” because it breeds easily in any small object that holds water, such as flower pots, yard toys, discarded tires, empty bottles, plastic bags, and even bottle caps.
“The Asian Tiger mosquito is particularly menacing because of its sharp bite and its preference for urban areas,” said Freeholder Chairman Deborah Scanlon. “We are asking residents to thoroughly examine their property and eliminate breeding sites, get rid of the breeding sites, and you help reduce the mosquito population.”
Removing litter and debris is a major first step toward eliminating breeding sites. Unused pools, fountains, and ornamental ponds should be drained and covered.
Residents should also check their outdoor equipment and garden ornaments, including grills, wheelbarrows, and tarpaulins, to ensure there is no place for water to collect, even in very small amounts. Rain gutters should be cleaned regularly to ensure that water does not collect in blockages, and water in birdbaths should be changed at least once a week.
To avoid bites, residents are advised to wear long clothing when outdoors in the early morning and early evening. DEET remains the single most effective mosquito repellent. County residents are advised to follow all instructions carefully when using products containing DEET. Talk to your pediatrician before using DEET on very small children.
To report mosquito infestations, Union County residents can call the Union County Mosquito Hotline at 908-654-9834. County inspectors will examine the property and recommend ways to eliminate breeding sites. If needed, the inspectors will also survey the surrounding area. In addition to responding to residents’ requests for site inspections, the Union County Bureau of Mosquito Control regularly inspects and tests for mosquitos throughout the county.