HEALTH

What you need to know at the start of mosquito season

BY Lauren Wanko, Correspondent |

Not much is endearing about mosquitoes. New Jersey is home to 60 different kinds of mosquitoes, 20 of which may carry diseases like West Nile virus. Mosquitoes’ main redeeming quality? They are food for spiders and birds.

Inspectors at the Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division travel to about 4,000 sites in the county to assess mosquito breeding and deploy abatement treatments.

Once mosquito samples are brought back to the lab, scientists looks at mosquitoes under a microscope to determine if they are carrying West Nile and other mosquito-born diseases.

The state Department of Environmental Protection indicates that last year New Jersey reported its highest number of West Nile virus cases with more than 60 cases identified in 20 counties.

The best advice for homeowners? Remove anything on the property that can collect standing water, including tires. When outdoors, dress appropriately with long sleeved shirts, long pants and light colored clothing.

The Office of Mosquito Control Coordination works with all 21 county mosquito control agencies in New Jersey. The first round of test results for diseases such as West Nile should be available by June 7. Mosquito season typically lasts until the first week of November.