Although summer is coming to a close, state mosquito experts cautioned the mosquito season has not ended, and warned that late summer and early fall are the most critical times of the year to be aware of the potential for the dangers of contracting West Nile virus and other viruses from mosquito bites.
There are now 11 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus infection in New Jersey, said Bob Kent, Administrator of the DEP’s Office of Mosquito Control Coordination. Included is a finding made today that a 76-year-old Camden County man with multiple underlying medical conditions and who died last month tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
Mosquitoes shift their biting behavior in search of a blood meal at this time of year and may attack at any time of day, not just during the hours around sunrise and sunset, said Kent, who is urging state residents to take some basic steps to protect themselves and help reduce the mosquito population.
“Summer may be about over but mosquitoes still want one more bite before winter,” said Kent. “West Nile virus is active in the state and will be until these insects stop flying, which may not be until the end of October.”
The State Department of Health and Senior Services has confirmed 11 human cases of West Nile Virus in Atlantic, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean and Passaic counties. Also, 117 birds have died from confirmed cases of the virus in Atlantic, Burlington, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris and Ocean counties.
Here are some tips on how to limit mosquito colonies on your property:
* Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property.
* 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 and elevate recycling containers that are left out of doors.
* 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.
* 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 can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on 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, such as 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.