Reduce Asian Tiger Mosquito Population by Draining Standing Water
Morris County residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes in their own backyards, including the aggressive Asian Tiger variety, by taking action now.
The ankle-attacking, aggressive Asian Tiger mosquito transmits viral disease and bites all day long, unlike many other varieties that come out at dawn and dusk. It is particularly fond of breeding in spots that hold even a bit of water. The black, 1/4-inch mosquito has bright white stripes on its legs, head, and back.
Residents can help fight mosquitoes by emptying stagnant water in containers like planters, children’s toys, birdbaths, untended pools, tarps, old tires, and clogged gutters. Draining these sources of stagnant water will improve quality of life, said Mosquito Division superintendent Kristian McMorland.
Rule of Thumb: Water + 7 Days = Mosquitoes
In addition to the nuisance of mosquitoes, their bites can transmit diseases such as West Nile virus. Residents who drain water around their homes and businesses will reap the rewards.
Particularly soggy weather this spring has made for an environment that is conducive to mosquito breeding. The Morris County Division of Mosquito Control is dealing with Mother Nature’s contribution to the pest population by spraying along the Passaic River floodplain with helicopters, trucks, all-terrain vehicles, and back-mounted sprayers, said McMorland. Visit the county’s mosquito control page for the upcoming spraying schedule (https://morriscountynj.gov/mosquito).
For pools, McMorland advises opening them by Memorial Day weekend and then properly maintaining them. If the pool is not open by the end of May, it is best to close it up tight, lest it become a major breeding spot.
“If everyone would take steps around their own homes to eliminate standing water, it could make a very big difference, reducing the number of mosquitoes by many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, where you live,’’ said McMorland. “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.’’
The most common backyard species of mosquito travel only about 1,000 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. Therefore, removing standing water near a home can have a dramatic impact on the mosquito population.
Steps Residents Can Take to Reduce Mosquito Populations
- At least once a week, empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
- Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
- Recycle discarded tires, and remove 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 property for anything that could hold water in which mosquitoes can lay eggs. For homes under construction, ensure that standing water is not collecting on tarps or in receptacles.
Additional tips for limiting mosquitoes include:
- Drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers that are left outdoors.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish like fathead minnows. 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. An untended pool can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints.
- Be aware that mosquitoes may breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property.
- Check screens in windows and doors. Make any repairs necessary to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
For more details on mosquitoes, visit https://morriscountynj.gov/mosquito/info.