The tiny, shrimp-like crustacean, which is native to New Jersey and has a hearty appetite for mosquito larvae, is being grown in large numbers in a state Department of Agriculture laboratory and has been distributed to mosquito control authorities in Atlantic, Bergen, Cumberland, Gloucester, Monmouth, and Warren counties.
"This is another environmentally friendly tool that can be used to battle mosquitoes, without having to resort to pesticides,’’ said Bob Kent, administrator of the DEP’s Office of Mosquito Control Coordination. "It is especially effective in small containers or pools of water, and is really good in dealing with the Asian tiger mosquito, which can breed in the tiniest of places _ even a bottle cap.’’
The DEP and State Department of Agriculture have been exploring this new mosquito-battling tool for several years, doing field trials in Hunterdon, Morris, Monmouth, Ocean and Cumberland counties since 2006. The crustacean, which is used to deal with mosquitoes in warmer locales from New Orleans to Vietnam, was approved by State scientists for a full-fledged New Jersey rollout this spring to deal with an expected bumper crop of mosquitoes.
Kent said the Macrocyclops albidus, which is a copepod, thrives in fresh water and is a valuable tool to battle mosquitoes in artificial containers, roadside ditches, small water pools, clogged downspouts and other, smaller wet areas that can breed plenty of mosquitoes. They attack mosquito larvae voraciously, said State entomologists.
They are being mass-produced at the State Department of Agriculture’s 21,000 square-foot state-of-the-art Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory, which was constructed in 1985 and designed for biological pest control.
Macrocyclops albidus is on the front line of pesticide-free mosquito fighting this spring in the Garden State along with several small fish with an appetite for mosquito larvae employed by the DEP’s bio-control program, including Gambusia affinis, or mosquitofish, and fathead minnows, freshwater killifish and bluegill sunfish, which have been stocked in many lakes and ponds statewide.
"These creatures all make excellent mosquito deterrents, and can be more effective than pesticides, which require multiple applications every mosquito season,’’ said Claudia O’Malley, technical advisor in the DEP’s Office of Mosquito Control Coordination. "In some places, these creatures can eliminate or greatly reduce the need for any applications at all. That is good for the environment, but bad for mosquitoes.’’
10 Ways To Reduce Mosquito Annoyance Around the Home
Mosquito breeding around the home can be reduced significantly by reducing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Below are some ways to achieve this.
Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property. Do not overlook containers that have become overgrown by aquatic vegetation.
Pay special attention to discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property. The used tire has become the most important domestic mosquito producer in this country.
Drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers that are left out of doors. Drainage holes that are located on the sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed in.
Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season. Homeowners should also check the gutters in the spring to remove winter debris before the season starts and often in the fall when tress begin to lose their leaves.
Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. A wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if it is not used on a regular basis.
Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in bird baths. Both provide breeding habitat for mosquitoes.
Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family that goes on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes will develop in any puddle that lasts more than 4 days.
Maintain mechanical barriers (i.e., window and door screens) to prevent mosquitoes from entering buildings. Barriers over rain barrels or cistern and septic pipes will deny female mosquitoes the opportunity to lay eggs on water.
Source (in part) from: Controlling Mosquitoes Around the Home, by Wayne J. Crans, Associate Research Professor and Farida Mahmood, Research Associate Department of Entomology, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
For more information on the State’s mosquito programs, visit:
For tips on reducing mosquito activities around your home this spring and summer, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/mosquito/owners.htm Posted by: rt23 staff
May 30, 2011
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