BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Environmental has canceled the planned aerial spraying for mosquitoes in Berkeley Heights after reviewing the most recent data collected in the field, mosquito testing results, and ground operations performed to bring down mosquito populations.
Based on present trap numbers, recent lack of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)-positive mosquitoes tested (last two weeks) and forecast weather temperatures in the coming week, there is less need to address the situation using nighttime helicopter applications. Should mosquitoes come back positive for EEE this week from the samples sent in for testing this week, ground applications using truck mounted spraying equipment in the area targeting adult mosquitoes during the earlier portions of the day while mosquitoes are active (flying) will take place.
Once the temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, mosquito activity drops off significantly. Evening spraying below this temperature is not very effective. Mosquitoes need to be flying for adulticiding (spraying) operations to have any impact. Following a review of mosquito testing data, Berkeley Heights now has less of a threat of the EEE virus in mosquitoes. The arbovirus transmission season is coming to a close. We won’t be entirely out of the woods until the first freezing frost, and there is still a possibility of EEE transmission until this frost occurs. As such, the Township and public health officials recommend the public remain vigilant in taking steps to avoid mosquito bites.
Residents MUST continue to protect themselves with insect repellent, appropriate clothing and by removing standing water. The 2019 EEE data is staggering— the number of cases found this year are exponentially higher than the 5-year history tracked by NJDEP. Fortunately, trends statewide are all now indicating negative test results, as well.