Ocean County Press Release
Residents Urged to do Their Part to Control Mosquitoes
With more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes worldwide and 63 species calling New Jersey home, the Ocean County Mosquito Extermination Commission has been doing its part to manage the mosquito population in the County for 100 years.
"The Ocean County Mosquito Extermination Commission maintains vigilance year-round in order to keep down the mosquito population," said Freeholder Director John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "Successful mosquito extermination comes from a combined effort on the part of the County and also its citizens."
The Ocean County Mosquito Extermination Commission was founded in 1913 and is one of the oldest mosquito control agencies in New Jersey. The commission celebrates its 100th Year Anniversary this year.
"Controlling the mosquito population has come a long way over the years," Kelly noted. "We use state of the art equipment and techniques to manage this population which is more than just a nuisance but can pose a risk to public health and safety."
The Mosquito Extermination Commission employs an extensive surveillance program using light traps and landing rate counts that are collected around the County daily during the mosquito season which typically runs from May 1 to Sept. 30.
Once locations are identified, there are several measures that can be used to control the mosquito population, depending upon the situation. The method is known as Integrated Pest Management.
According to Richard Candeletti, Commission superintendent, chemical application is one method with the main concentration on larvicide applications to control the pre-adult mosquito.
There also are biological controls, such as mosquito predaceous fish or the use of copepods. Another possibility is source reduction whereby the habitat can be altered to prevent future mosquito production, Candeletti said.
The commission uses its ground spray trucks, each equipped with power sprayers to apply larvicides. If the areas are very large, the commission has two helicopters to treat the areas aerially. However, most of the aerial applications are made on the county's extensive salt marshes.
"Ocean County has long been known for its large numbers of salt marsh mosquitoes," Candeletti said. "Through a process known as Open Marsh Water Management, the problematic salt marsh areas can be managed through the use of amphibious equipment, to eliminate the mosquito production without the use of pesticides. Once completed, the areas become more useful to other members of the tidal food web, and remain in that state indefinitely."
While Ocean County looks at the bigger picture in controlling the mosquito population, Freeholder Kelly and Candeletti strongly urge residents to get involved with helping to reduce the population especially by eliminating areas that can act as breeding grounds on private property.
"We are asking our citizens to survey their properties and eliminate any standing water or items that can be used to hold water," Kelly said. "If we work together we can certainly reduce the mosquito population." Additionally, the Commission offers a "Yard Audit" program where, upon request, an inspector will check around the home for mosquito breeding sites and advise homeowners on how to eliminate them.
A new species of mosquito that was introduced into the country is known as the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes albopictus, and was brought into the states through used tires imported to recapping. They can breed in the smallest amounts of water and are often found breeding in water holding containers.
"Since this mosquito uses containers that are commonly found around populated areas, eliminating the sources of water is often the best approach to controlling this mosquito population," said Kelly, who also serves as a commissioner on the Mosquito Extermination Commission. "These mosquitoes can often be found in water amounts as small as that of a bottle cap."
Common problematic areas are planter bases, tarps, garbage pails, and the many other water containers found around the home or business.
"Most of our residents do not realize just how extensive our mosquito extermination program is," said Kelly. "We take this threat very seriously and work to make certain our residents and visitors are safe from mosquitoes and the ongoing threat of West Nile Virus."
Throughout the summer season, the commissions five truck inspection and larviciding units travel throughout the county weekly to check for mosquitoes and mosquito larva. Where problems are found, the commission sprays with BTI, a bacterial larvicide that attacks the mosquito larva. If an area is too large or unreachable by truck, the commission considers using helicopters to spray an area.
"It's important we all do our part in the battle we wage annually against mosquitoes," said Freeholder Deputy Director James F. Lacey. "Residents need to take the proper precautions just as we do at the county-level. No program is fool-proof. That is why we need to work together."
Residents can take the following precautions:
• If outdoors, use an insect repellent containing DEET on skin or clothing, or a repellent containing permethrin on clothing. Do not use repellents on children less than 3-years-old. Always follow container directions.
• Remove standing water from property.
• Limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are more active.
Residents who have questions about mosquitoes and concerns can contact the commission by calling 609-698-8271, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 pm.
For additional tips, visit the commission website at www.oceancountymosquito.org.