The spring rain deluge has ended – for now. So it’s time to take a good look outside the house, apartment, condo and drain sources of standing water where mosquitoes breed to help avoid a nasty plague of those pesky biting and disease carrying critters this spring and summer.
The Morris County Division of Mosquito Control has been active for months preparing for this year’s mosquito battle, but others can be the difference maker when it comes to mosquitos.“Even just a bit of standing water can produce a huge number of mosquitoes that can have a negative impact on your quality of life,’’ said Mosquito Division Superintendent Kristian McMorland.
“It’s important to remove or clean or repair anything that can collect rain or sprinkler water – such as clogged gutters, old car tires, wheelbarrows, planters, trash can covers, birdbaths, old tarps, or unused swimming or wading pools.
“If everyone would take steps around their own homes to eliminate standing water, it could make a very big difference, reducing the number of mosquitos by many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, where you live,’’ McMorland added.
The most common backyard species of mosquito travels only about thousand feet from where they are spawned. Mosquitoes spend their juvenile life stage in the aquatic environment and will go from egg to adult in about one week during the summer. So removing standing water near your home can have a dramatic impact on your mosquito population.
In addition to the nuisance of mosquitos, they also bring the possibility of mosquito borne diseases, such as West Nile and Zika viruses, which are transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitos.
“Our county team does a great job of working to battle mosquitos in some of the toughest breeding grounds in the county but they need your help when it comes to making a difference in your yard or neighborhood,’’ said Freeholder John Cesaro, liaison to the County Mosquito Control Division. “What steps you take, or don’t take, can affect families living all around you.’’
Steps you can take to reduce populations of the insect 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 a home.
Look very carefully around the property for anything that could hold water in which mosquitos can lay eggs.
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 the property; drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers that are left outdoors; 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.
It is also a good time now to check screens in windows and doors and make any necessary repairs to prevent mosquitos from entering the home.
As we get into mosquito season, here are some tips to follow to minimize exposure: wear an EPA registered repellant and apply according to label recommendations; wear long sleeved shirts and pants; avoid outdoor activities at certain times of day, if possible, especially dawn and dusk, which are when mosquitoes are most active.
For further tips and information, check out www.morrismosquito.org.