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Morris County Mosquito Control: Drain Standing Water to Reduce Asian Tiger Mosquito Population

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The Asian Tier mosquito is a black, quarter-inch insect with bright white stripes on its legs, head and back. Credits: Morris County Division of Mosquito Control
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Credits: Morris County Division of Mosquito Control
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Credits: Morris County Division of Mosquito Control
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With the sun finally expected to show itself starting tomorrow and over the Memorial Day weekend, Morris County residents can reduce the number of all mosquitoes, including the aggressive Asian Tiger variety, in their own backyards by taking action now.

The ankle-attacking, aggressive Asian Tiger variety transmits viral disease and bites all day long, unlike many other varieties that come out at dawn and dusk. This black, quarter-inch mosquito has bright white stripes on its legs, head and back. It is particularly fond of breeding in backyard spots that hold even a bit of water.

Residents can help fight mosquitoes by emptying stagnant water in containers like planters, children's toys, bird baths, untended pools, tarps, old tires and clogged gutters. 

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Draining these sources of stagnant water will only improve your own quality of life, according to Mosquito Division Superintendent Kristian McMorland.

A rule of thumb is “Water + 7 Days = Mosquitoes.” Residents who drain water around their homes and businesses will reap their own rewards. Most mosquitoes will travel only 1,000 feet in their lifetime.

Particularly soggy weather this spring has made for an environment that is quite conductive to mosquito breeding.

The Morris County Division of Mosquito Control is doing its best to deal with Mother Nature's contribution to the pest population by spraying along the Passaic River floodplain with helicopters, trucks, all-terrain vehicles and back-mounted sprayers, McMorland said.

Residential areas in Florham Park, East Hanover, Parsippany, Montville, Lincoln Park and Wharton were sprayed last week. Nearly 100 streets in East Hanover are being sprayed this week.

Visit the county’s mosquito control page for the upcoming spraying schedule.

For pools, a good rule of thumb is to open them by Memorial Day weekend and continue to properly maintain them, McMorland said. If the pool is not open by the end of May, it is best to close it up tight, lest it become a major breeding spot.

“If everyone would take steps around their own homes to eliminate standing water, it could make a very big difference, reducing the number of mosquitoes by many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, where you live,’’ he said.

“It’s important to remove or clean or repair anything that can collect rain or sprinkler water – such as clogged gutters, old car tires, wheelbarrows, planters, trash can covers, birdbaths, old tarps, or unused swimming or wading pools,’’ said McMorland. “Even just a bit of standing water can produce a huge number of mosquitoes that can have a negative impact on your quality of life.’’

The most common backyard species of mosquito travels only about thousand feet from where they are spawned. Mosquitoes spend their juvenile life stage in the aquatic environment and will go from egg to adult in about one week during the summer. So removing standing water near your home can have a dramatic impact on your mosquito population.

In addition to the nuisance of mosquitoes, they also bring the possibility of diseases such as West Nile Virus, which is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.

Steps you can take to reduce mosquito populations include:

  • At least once a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, bird baths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans.
  • Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
  • Recycle discarded tires, and remove other items that could collect water.
  • Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.
  • Look very carefully around your property for anything that could hold water in which mosquitoes can lay eggs. If your home is under construction, make sure standing water is not collecting on tarps or in receptacles.

Here are some additional tips on how to limit mosquito population:

  • Drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers that are left outdoors.
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish like fathead minnows. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, including those that are not being used. An untended swimming pool can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints.
  • Be aware mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property.

It is also a good time now to check screens in windows and doors and make any necessary repairs to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

For more details on mosquitoes, click here. To learn more about dealing with mosquitoes, click here or here for video advice.

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