MORRISTOWN, NJ - With more rain in the forecast, residents of Morristown and the surrounding towns should be checking areas around their home where mosquitoes can breed. Those areas include water-filled tires, pool covers, planters, gutters and drains or any source of standing water.
“If everyone would take steps around their own homes to eliminate standing water, it could make a very big difference, reducing the number of mosquitos by many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, where you live,’’ said Mosquito Division Superintendent Kristian McMorland.
The Morris County Division of Mosquito Control has been active for months preparing for this year’s mosquito battle, but the difference can come from homeowners.
“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 mosquitos, they also bring the possibility of mosquito borne diseases, such as West Nile virus, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.
“Our county team does a great job of working to battle mosquitos in some of the toughest breeding grounds in the county but they need your help when it comes to making a difference in your yard or neighborhood,’’ said Freeholder John Cesaro, liaison to the County Mosquito Control Division. “What steps you take, or don’t take, can affect families living all around you.’’
Steps you can take to reduce mosquito populations include:
- At least once a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, 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.
- Dispose of 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 that are left outdoors;
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. 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. A swimming pool that is left untended can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints.
- Be aware mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers