Friday, June 26, 2020

Help Control the Mosquito Population Around Your Home

The pandemic and warming weather makes controlling the mosquito population a topic of more than usual interest in New Jersey. Ignoring the usual Jersey mosquito jokes, such as the mosquito being the state bird, we know that there are the large-scale state, county and local programs for control. But residents can do their part to eliminate potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. NJ had a very mild winter and anticipated wet weather makes prevention efforts even more critical as mosquito season begins. The American Mosquito Control Association has declared June 21-27 as National Mosquito Control Awareness Week - not a holiday I like to "celebrate", but I will participate.

New Jersey State Mosquito Control Commission“The New Jersey State Mosquito Control Commission oversees several longstanding programs designed to provide state assistance directly to county mosquito-control programs,” Commissioner McCabe said. “This assistance helps counties deliver targeted, science-based and environmentally sound mosquito-control services to the public. But we also need the public’s help and urge people to eliminate from their properties areas of standing water where mosquitoes may breed.”

New Jersey’s mosquito season has started early in recent years and has been exceedingly rainy and hot with warm temperatures extending well into the fall. During the 2018 and 2019 seasons, surveillance programs documented above-average mosquito populations and record-setting levels of West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in mosquitoes.

“Spending time outdoors, whether walking, gardening, or playing with our dogs, while social distancing is a good way to maintain physical and mental health,” said Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli. “As we remain vigilant about protecting ourselves and our families from COVID-19, we must also take precautions to prevent and control mosquito-borne diseases.”

New Jersey’s mosquito control agencies use a variety of methods to combat mosquitoes including:
  • public awareness campaigns
  • targeted larval habitat source-reduction programs
  • use of natural predators such as mosquito-eating fish
  • judicious application of EPA- and DEP-approved insecticides by ground and aerial means.

Residents can take these steps to protect themselves and their families:
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents when outdoors and wear protective clothing
  • Empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans at least once or twice a week.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters.
  • Check for and remove any containers or trash that may be difficult to see, such as under bushes, homes or around building exteriors.
  • Dispose of unused 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 left outdoors.
  • Repair and clean storm-damaged roof gutters, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees tend to clog drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use
  • Avoid allowing water to stagnate in bird baths
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens become major mosquito producers if they stagnate.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, including those not in use. An untended swimming pool can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitos may develop in the water that collects on pool covers.
  • Stay in air-conditioned places or rooms with window screens that prevent access by mosquitoes.

If a mosquito problem remains after taking the above steps, call your county mosquito control agency and ask for assistance. There are larval habitats that only your local mosquito control program can properly address. To learn more about the New Jersey State Mosquito Control Commission and for links to county mosquito agencies visit

For more information on how to prevent mosquito bites and illness, or to mosquito-proof your home and yard, visit

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