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Urges Practical Steps to Reduce Mosquito Population and Risk of West Nile Virus

April 26, 2004 (rt23 news) - (04/43) TRENTON- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) urged residents today to be mindful of the coming mosquito season and to take common sense precautions to reduce the risk of contracting mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

"Right now is the time to take preemptive steps to address the mosquito larvae population," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "People need to eliminate pools of standing water that serve as mosquito breeding grounds and can form in places such as gutters, tarps covering pools or boats, trash cans, and old tires."

In addition, Campbell reminded members of the public to take common sense steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Some basic steps include wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors, particularly at dusk and dawn; making sure screens on windows and doors are in good repair; and applying appropriate insect repellant (following the label instructions carefully, especially when applying to children) when going outdoors.

Since March, mosquito larvae have been actively developing in the aquatic stage of their life cycle. Both state and county government mosquito control agencies are surveying for and applying control strategies at this time in order to prevent the emergence of mosquitoes to the flying adult stage. Control methods include the stocking of mosquito-eating fish that consume the larvae and the application of targeted, low-impact insecticides.

Once again, DEP this year will cooperate with the New Jersey Departments of Health and Senior Services and Agriculture, as well as Rutgers University and the 21 County Mosquito Control Agencies, to control for mosquitoes that may be implicated in the transmission of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Interested members of the public can find out from their county agency the schedules for any spraying that is performed as a last resort to control for adult, flying mosquitoes.

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 of 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.
  • 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 domestic 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.

    To learn more about mosquito control, visit the DEP website at:

    Posted by: Staff at
    April 26, 2004


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