UNION, NJ - As summer begins in earnest, it’s important for residents and businesses to understand how to help reduce the mosquito population, says the Union County Freeholders.
The key to reducing mosquito populations is to remove their breeding sites. Mosquitos can breed practically anywhere water can collect. That includes clogged rain gutters, corrugated down spout extensions, outdoor equipment, children’s toys and playsets, and garden items including flower pots, buckets, recycling containers, grills, wheelbarrows and tarpaulins.
Old tires are a major concern as they tend to be out of sight and out of mind, but one old tire can breed thousands of mosquitoes during the summer.
Even an item as small as an upturned bottle cap can become a prolific mosquito breeding ground.
The recent wet weather has provided mosquitos with an explosion of likely breeding sites. Property owners and tenants are advised to take advantage of a weekend dry spell to make a quick sweep of their yards and shake out any items that have collected stagnant water.
Unused pools, fountains and ornamental ponds should be drained and covered. Water in birdbaths should be refreshed daily.
Discarded tires, litter and other debris should be removed from the property, as they can also hold small amounts of stagnant water.
Additional guidance for property owners and tenants is available through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, at nj.gov/mosquito.
To avoid mosquito bites, residents are advised to use EPA-registered insect repellants and to follow all instructions on the label carefully.
Another effective precaution is to wear long, light-colored clothing when outdoors. Exposure can also be reduced by avoiding time outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
“Mosquito control is something that everyone can help with, and it makes a big difference,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “Aside from being itchy and annoying, mosquito bites can spread serious diseases like West Nile virus.”
Mosquito infestations can be reported by calling the Union County Mosquito Hotline at 908-654-9835. County inspectors will examine the property and provide guidance on eliminating breeding sites. If necessary, the inspectors will also survey the surrounding area.