MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Summer is here, and with it, rainy and humid weather. Standing water from rain produces ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed, but if you take action before these pests strike, you can have a summer free of bug bites and health risks associated with mosquitoes.
The Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission has been inspecting and treating sites throughout the County and is offering advice to residents on curbing the mosquito problem.
Dr. Deepak Matadha, Superintendent of the Mosquito Extermination Commission, said many mosquito species come from large flood plains and swamps, which can best be controlled by NJDEP-licensed personnel employed by the Mosquito Commission.
Experts use a comprehensive and integrated approach, which includes: mosquito surveillance, water management, biological control, chemical control and public education.
“The Commission has offered so much help on this issue over the years. They work to not only minimize the overall number of mosquitoes, but more importantly to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus, chikungunya & Zika, that these insects may carry,” said Freeholder H. James Polos, Chair of the County’s Public Safety and Health Committee and liaison to the Mosquito Extermination Commission.
However, Dr. Matadha said, there may also be many small “mosquito breeding sites” in and around homes or places of business that individuals can eliminate to reduce mosquitoes. These man-made containers can produce the Asian tiger mosquito, an aggressive day time biter which is now known to spread Zika.
The Asian tiger mosquito is currently the most important nuisance mosquito in the county. It is also one of the mosquitoes that is capable of transmitting new emerging diseases such as Chikungunya, Dengue & Zika. “To end the discomfort and disease that this mosquito can spread, residents need to practice good water sanitation on their properties,” said Dr. Matadha.
Without standing or stagnant water, there will be no mosquito production in the area, since female mosquitoes look for a place to lay eggs such as:
· Standing or stagnant water in ditches and catch basins
· Water from overflowing or open septic or other waste systems
· Water that collects in buckets, cans, jars, barrels, boats, discarded tires, clogged roof gutters, tire ruts, wading pools or pool covers
· Any artificially created collection of water
“We are asking our residents and business owners to help us in our mission to control the Asian tiger mosquito by making every possible effort to eliminate sources of standing water around your home or place of business,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “By working together, we can make this a safer summer for Middlesex County.”
Some of the things residents can do to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites and prevent the spread of West Nile, Chikungunya and Zika viruses are:
· Eliminate or manage all sources of standing water to discourage mosquito breeding. Once a week, empty or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
· Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
· Cut down weeds, trim and maintain shrubs and grass to reduce adult mosquitoes harboring in vegetation.
- Stay inside at dawn, dusk and early evening when mosquitoes are most active.
- If you must be outdoors during these times, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and Oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD). Always apply according to label instructions.
- People travelling to Zika outbreak areas should take precautions to avoid being bitten by a mosquito.
- Even if you do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so they do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes.
- Contact the Mosquito Commission (732-549-0665) if there is a significant mosquito problem or need additional information.
The Commission also reminds residents that the week of June 26 – July 2, 2016 has been declared “National Mosquito Control Awareness Week” by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). AMCA’s mission in this week is to educate the general public about the significance of mosquitoes in their daily lives and the important service provided by mosquito control workers throughout New Jersey and the United States.
You can learn more about the Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination on our County website, www.middlesexcountynj.gov. Search Mosquito Extermination Commission. You can learn more about AMCA’s efforts at www.mosquito.org.