MOSQUITOES AT HOME AND AT WORK
If you and your neighbors don't like mosquitoes in and around your home or business, there is something you can do about it. By learning more about how and where mosquitoes are produced, you can help the Mosquito Commission in its efforts to keep your neighborhood free of the annoyance mosquitoes can bring.
There are more than 40 different species of mosquitoes in Middlesex County. Some do not bite people and some never become numerous enough to be a problem. Some bite during the day and others bite at night. Some fly for many miles and some travel only a few hundred feet during their lifetime. However, all mosquitoes have one thing in common; the immature stages (larval and pupal) live in water before turning into adults.
There are 318 square miles in Middlesex County. Fortunately, not all of this area can produce mosquitoes because mosquitoes develop only in aquatic habitats that hold water continuously for at least seven to ten days. These water habitats can vary greatly. They can be freshwater swamps, stagnant water, salt marsh depressions, floodwater, and water within any type of container.
Over 14,000 (potential) larval production sources (“breeding sites”) are inspected and serviced on a regular basis by the Mosquito Commission. Many of these sources are large floodplains and swamps capable of periodically producing a great number of mosquitoes. There are also many other small areas, some as small as a flowerpot or birdbath, which may be found right in your own yard.
ONLY FEMALES BITE
When adult mosquitoes emerge from the water, they seek shelter in foliage or other shaded areas and remain there until their wings harden. In a short time, they begin to fly in search of food. The males are unable to bite and feed on plant nectar. Only female mosquitoes bite people or other animals. They bite to obtain blood needed for the development of their eggs.
After the female has taken a blood meal, she typically lays from 100 to 300 eggs. She may take several blood meals during her life and lay a batch of eggs following each blood meal. This behavior makes it possible for some mosquitoes to become infected and then transmit diseases such as Eastern Equine encephalitis, West Nile virus and dog heartworm. It is possible for mosquitoes to go from egg to adult in 7 to 10 days. As a result, many generations may be produced each year. In Middlesex County the mosquito production season is generally from mid-March until the end of October.
(Water is the Key)
The most important part of mosquito control is to deny mosquito larvae and pupae a place to develop. Without standing or stagnant water, there will be no mosquito production in the area. Many mosquitoes come from large floodplains and swamps, which can best be controlled by NJDEP-licensed personnel employed by the Mosquito Commission. There may also be many small “breeding sites” in and around your home or place of business that you can eliminate. These areas can produce the common house mosquito, which can transmit West Nile virus. In addition, these water sources can produce other species of mosquitoes that are vicious biters.
The female house mosquito looks for a place to lay her 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
You and your neighbors can help us in our mission to control the house mosquito by making every possible effort to eliminate sources of standing water around your home or place of business.
Some of the things you can do are:
Dispose of all containers that can hold water. Store those you want to save by turning upside down, or punch holes in the bottom so water drains out.
Clean roof gutters and drainage ditches.
Stock ornamental ponds with fish.
Change water in birdbaths, fountains, and pet dishes weekly.
Make sure septic, air conditioning, and other water tanks are sealed with screened vents.
Empty wading pools when not is use and keep swimming pools clean and filtered.
Make sure that boats are covered or that water drains out of them completely. Store small boats upside down.
Flush sump pumps weekly.
Maintain screening to exclude mosquitoes from house or business.
ADULT MOSQUITO CONTROL MEASURES
Aerosol and foliage sprays are commercially available to provide short-term control of adult mosquitoes in the house and yard. If you choose to use one of these products, be sure to READ THE LABEL and follow all precautions listed on the insecticide container. Remember, such localized use of chemicals for control of adult mosquitoes is a short-term remedy, and is usually more expensive and less effective then eliminating the their source.
Mosquitoes may be prevented from coming indoors by properly screening windows and doors. When you must remain outdoors, commercial repellents can provide personal protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends repellents containing the active ingredient DEET. Be sure you READ THE LABEL and follow the directions.
MOSQUITO CONTROL IS A JOB FOR EVERYONE
If you and your neighbors do your part to control the common house mosquito by eliminating “backyard-breeding areas”, it will help free the Mosquito Commission and its personnel to concentrate on the larger mosquito problems in Middlesex County.
If you have a mosquito problem, or if you need additional advice or information, please call the Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission at (732) 549-0665.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION