BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mayor Angie Devanney announced at Tuesday's Township Council meeting that all five mosquito pools in Berkeley Heights have tested negative for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), West Nile, and other major mosquito-borne illnesses.
The results from the most recent tests, conducted by Union County, were provided to Township officials on Tuesday.
Early last week, during routine testing, the Union County Bureau of Mosquito Control found that a mosquito pool in town tested positive for EEE; that mosquito pool was found in the Emerson Lane area near the Warren border. Since then, the county has been aggressively spraying the most mosquito-prone areas in Berkeley Heights, as well as the areas around the original positive test pool. Somerset County has been doing the same on its side of the border.
“It’s great to have proof that our efforts to combat EEE have been paying off here in Berkeley Heights,” said Mayor Angie Devanney. “But that doesn’t mean residents should not still take precautions. Use bug spray, particularly during the hours of dusk and dawn, wear long-sleeved shirts or pants during peak mosquito hours, and get rid of any standing water around your house.”
Berkeley Heights township officials, with the Union County Bureau of Mosquito Control, have ramped up protective measures by aggressively spraying parks, fields, school grounds and wooded areas, particularly near the Warren Township border. Spraying will continue Friday night. The Union County Bureau of Mosquito Control will continue to monitor and trap mosquitoes for testing and spray accordingly.
In addition, out of an abundance of caution, Mayor Devanney requested an aerial (helicopter) spraying of mosquitoes for the EEE virus from the State of New Jersey.
The County and State Mosquito Control division are working together to generate an aerial application of adulticide over Berkeley Heights and neighboring communities of concern. The state will need to seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). All products are approved and do not pose a danger to humans and pets.
If approved, spraying will commence sometime during the week of September 30th between 9 PM – 12, weather and flight conditions permitting.
Meanwhile, residents should take protective measures to protect themselves and their families against mosquitoes by:
- Use repellent: When outdoors, use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. The repellent/insecticide permethrin can be used on clothing to protect through several washes. Always follow package directions. Insect repellent should not be used on children less than 2 months old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children less than 3 years
- Wear protective clothing: Wear long sleeves/pants when weather permits
- Install and repair screens: Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out and use air conditioning if you have it
The New Jersey Department of Health last week confirmed one human case of EEE in each of Union and Atlantic counties. The Department confirmed the first human case, located in Somerset County, in August.
This July, the Department of Health launched its Fight the Bite NJ awareness campaign to continue to promote awareness and provide education throughout the state on how to avoid mosquito-borne illness. Please visit that website for more preventative measures you can take to protect against mosquito bites.