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May 29, 2013 (rt23 news) - (13/P47) TRENTON –To prevent mosquitoes this summer, the Departments of Health and Environmental Protection are asking homeowners, businesses and contractors working on rebuilding to drain sources of standing water outdoors and routinely check property for containers collecting water where mosquitoes can breed.

"While we typically don’t identify human illnesses from mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV) until late summer here in New Jersey, it’s never too early to drain sources of standing water and reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed," said Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd.

Last year, New Jersey had the largest amount of human cases on record in the state—48 human cases of WNV. Concerns are elevated this year because of Superstorm Sandy has increased potential opportunities for mosquito breeding, which could increase the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, including WNV.

"This season will be especially challenging because Superstorm Sandy has created new places for mosquitoes to breed such as wet debris piles and depressions left by fallen trees," the Commissioner explained. "It’s important to remove or clean or repair anything that can collect rain or sprinkler water – such as debris, clogged or damaged gutters or old car tires."

Steps that residents, business owners and contractors can take to reduce populations of the insect on their properties include:

At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans
Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out
Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water
Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home
"Mosquito control agencies in coastal counties are doing their best to treat sources of standing water caused by Sandy," said Claudia O’Malley, principal biologist in the DEP’s Office of Mosquito Control. "However, many of these sources are in places that are hard to reach, such as marshes or coastal forests, so it is even more important that homeowners do their part to offset a potential increase in mosquito breeding. Look very carefully around your property for anything that could hold water in which mosquitos can lay eggs. If you are starting to rebuild, make sure standing water is not collecting on tarps or in any receptacles.

Additional tips on how to limit mosquitoes on your property include:

Dispose of 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 that are left outdoors
Repair and clean storm-damaged roof gutters, 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
Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use
Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in bird baths
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, including those that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers
Repair and maintain barriers, such as 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

Posted by: rt23 staff
May 29, 2013


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