MOSQUITOES: WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
Mosquitoes have 4 stages of development - egg, larva, pupa and adult. They spend their larval and pupal stages in water. Females of most pest species in Warren County deposit eggs on moist surfaces such as mud or fallen leaves. Rain re-floods surfaces and stimulates the hatching of the eggs, starting the life cycle. Mosquitoes take approximately one week to develop from egg to flying adult.
Only the female adult mosquitoes bite. After emerging from the aquatic stages, adult mosquitoes mate and females then seek a blood meal to obtain nutrients necessary for egg development. Adult male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar and die shortly after mating. While various species differ, the average life expectancy for adult mosquitoes is 4-6 weeks.
If mosquitoes present a problem in your area, contact the Commission office at (908) 453-3585. Our staff will investigate your call promptly. Each site is inspected to verify the presence of adult mosquitoes. The area of the complaint is searched to locate the breeding source(s).
The Warren County Mosquito Extermination Commission's emphasis is on eliminating mosquito breeding habitat and controlling the mosquitoes when they are still in the aquatic stages of their development.
Control efforts focus primarily on the immature, water borne stages of the mosquito. The immature stages cannot escape control measures and are more concentrated and accessible than the adult mosquitoes which disperse after emerging. The primary insecticide used is a bacterial larvicide that is specifically for mosquitoes. Pesticide applications comply with recommendations made by Rutgers University and regulations set by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The Commission also uses various fish species that feed on the immature mosquitoes in locations that will sustain fish but do not have other fish species present. These fish are raised by the NJ Division of Fish, Game &Wildlife in Hackettstown as part of the State Mosquito Control Commission's bio-control program and are distributed to mosquito control agencies throughout the state. The Commission also conducts year round water management/source reduction projects that control mosquitoes by eliminating the standing water. Hand labor and heavy equipment are utilized. As a final line of defense, a spray for adult mosquitoes may be applied by truck-mounted sprayer if a significant mosquito population exists. Although used in moderation, spraying for adult mosquitoes is an important part of our Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM).
The question asked often is "What goes on in the winter?" The seasonal control operations start in February with the hatching of snowpool mosquito species and continues into October, until a killing frost. Water management activities proceed year round. Follow-up record keeping on the season's mosquito activity at all the breeding sites continues beyond the active mosquito season. The inspection routes are revised after additions/deletions of breeding sites. New sites where the breeding source was not apparent with the presence of heavy vegetation in the summer are inspected after the foliage falls for a clearer view of the area. Breeding sites that are difficult to access are kept clear with brush clearing work done when the time permits. Leaf dams are cleared from drainage structures after the fall. Site evaluation occurs to target sites for fish stocking or water management potential. Prior to the spring hatching, beehive locations are verified to avoid accidental exposure to honey bees during our adult mosquito spraying activities. Appropriate permits are pursued for the water management projects. Equipment is maintained and readied for the next onslaught of mosquitoes. Educational presentations are made at schools, etc. on mosquitoes and mosquito control.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Homeowners can provide effective control by eliminating standing water on their property. Any container holding water is a potential mosquito-breeding source and is likely to cause problems around your home. Of particular concern are clogged gutters and scattered tires. Both tend to collect leaves, then fill with water and provide very attractive sites for mosquitoes to breed. Since these containers are water tight, they dry out very slowly. Natural depressions in your yard will hold water but will often dry out in less than a week, killing the mosquitoes before they fly, whereas artificial containers will remain wet. Keep gutters clean and remove or overturn containers if possible. Items such as dog water bowls and birdbaths should be emptied and refilled at least once a week. If wet areas do exist on your property, bring them to the attention of the Mosquito Commission personnel. Keeping adult mosquitoes out of your home is the second step. Make sure windows and door screens are properly fitted and holes are patched to prevent most mosquitoes from entering the house.
A wide variety of repellents are available to provide relief from mosquitoes and other insects. Most repellents contain the same active ingredient, only the percentages vary. Sport shops generally carry the brands that contain higher percentages. The repellents are effective but caution should be used and directions followed carefully.
West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne encephalitis, was first recognized in the US , in New York City and surrounding areas in the fall of 1999. The primary vector is a mosquito commonly found around homes. La Crosse Encephalitis, although rare in this area, is a form of encephalitis occurring almost exclusively in children. While the disease is seldom fatal it can cause convulsions and paralysis. This disease is transmitted primarily by mosquito species that breed in tires and other containers that are often found around the home. Eliminating these breeding areas/conditions will help to protect the health of your family.
Dogs and horses are targets for mosquito borne diseases. Dog heartworm is a serious threat to your pet's life and is costly to treat once it is contracted through the bite of the mosquito. Your dog should be checked for this condition and put on preventative medicine. An exotic pheasant died of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Warren County in 1998 and the disease is a threat to horses. Horses should be vaccinated against EEE. Horses are also susceptible to West Nile Virus. Vaccines for West Nile Virus are available and your veterinarian can provide more information. As a responsible pet owner take these precautions.
The link below provides the Commission's current Budget which is used to accomplish its goals. The Budget is supplemented by the equipment and mosquito testing, etc. provided by the State Mosquito Control Commission and with guidance and support from Rutgers University.