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Warm, Wet Weather Brings Mosquitoes

An early spring also meant an early start for breeding mosquitoes

Be sure to grab a big container of bug spray if you plan on heading outdoors around dusk this summer.

Spring 2012 got an early jump and with all of the warm, wet weather — and so did the local mosquito population.

“We’ve had an early, wet spring, which means mosquitoes have had good conditions for breeding,” Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “Our Mosquito Extermination Commission is very busy tracking and, where possible, eliminating these summer pests.”

Monmouth County residents can do their part in reducing the impact of mosquitoes by checking that window and door screens are in good repair and by making sure their property is free of water-holding containers such as buckets, tires, flower pots, wheelbarrows and toys that create areas where mosquitoes can breed.

The Monmouth County Mosquito Extermination Commission is marking National Mosquito Awareness Week by asking residents to help combat mosquitoes by inspecting their properties for standing water. Any area or container that holds water for a week or more has the potential to produce hundreds or even thousands of mosquitoes looking for a meal.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says people can reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and, as a result, lower their exposure to insect-borne diseases by following some simple steps:

  • When outdoors, apply insect repellent, following the label instructions – especially for use on children;
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever possible, and
  • Avoid outdoor activity at peak mosquito times – dusk and dawn.

The CDC also recommends the use of repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, Picaridin, or IR 3535. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus provide better protection than other plant-based repellents, but fall short compared to products containing high concentrations of DEET.

“You should choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time you will be outdoors,” said Douglas Guthrie Sr., superintendent of the county’s mosquito control program. “Repellents with a higher percentage of an active ingredient, like DEET, typically provide longer-lasting protection.”

Entomologists caution, however, to read and follow the product label directions as with all insect repellants.

“Not only do mosquitoes make outdoor activities uncomfortable, these pests can spread diseases such as West Nile virus,” Guthrie said.” That’s why we advise people to get rid of unwanted containers like old tires, turning over buckets and refreshing the water at least weekly in items such as bird baths.”

Established in 1914, the Monmouth County Mosquito Extermination Commission has a long history of handling difficult mosquito seasons with a professional response.

The Mosquito Extermination Commission routinely tests various county sites to monitor mosquito breeding and activity including the presence of West Nile virus.

The Monmouth County Mosquito Extermination Commission can be reached by calling 732-542-3630. Visit them online for more information or to arrange an inspection.

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