MORRIS COUNTY — With so many residents spending a lot more time in their backyards, decks, and patios this summer due to the COVID-19 crisis, county mosquito experts have important advice to offer to prevent mosquito breeding.
Please remove standing water in and around your property during this current hot spell, when frequent summer shows can create pools of water for mosquito breeding.
Mosquito professionals are working to control the tiny biting pests in parks and forests for hikers, walkers, and bikers. In recent days, they have sprayed infested areas in the Chathams, Hanover and Morris Townships, and Parsippany. (Click here for up-to-date spraying info). But you have the power to deal with mosquitoes in your own back yard by eliminating stagnating water — the place that mosquitoes breed.
“If everyone would take steps around their own homes to eliminate standing water, it could reduce the number of mosquitoes by many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, where you live,’’ said Morris County Mosquito Division Superintendent Kristian McMorland.
Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families:
• Empty water from flowerpots, pet food, and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans once or twice a week.
• Clear clogged rain gutters.
• Remove containers or trash that may be difficult to see, such as under bushes, homes or around building exteriors.
• Dispose of unused tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers on your property.
• Drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers left outdoors.
• Repair and clean storm-damaged roof gutters, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees clog drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
• Avoid allowing water to stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens become major mosquito producers if they stagnate.
• Use EPA-registered insect repellents when outdoors and wear protective clothing.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, including those not in use. An untended swimming pool can result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may develop in water that collects on pool covers.
• Stay in air-conditioned places or rooms with window screens that prevent access by mosquitoes.
• If a mosquito problem remains after taking the above steps, call your county mosquito control agency for assistance. There are larval habitats that only a mosquito control program can properly address.