⚫ Mosquito experts are keeping their eye on NJ weather

⚫ The winter provided solid conditions for the blood-sucking insects

⚫ Residents can follow steps to limit impact

Technically, mosquito season is already underway in the Garden State.

But the real issues for residents and control programs are still waiting to erupt.

One good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) spell of rain could force droves of bloodsuckers out of their eggs and into communities.

"The stage is set for what could be a significant mosquito season, but it depends on what Mother Nature has in store for us," said Nick Indelicato, president of the New Jersey Mosquito Control Association.

In general, mosquitoes like what New Jersey had to offer this past winter — lots of precipitation. Conditions paved the way for spring species to make their presence known in New Jersey.

"Some areas of the state are experiencing higher water levels and higher than normal populations of mosquitoes, and other parts of the state are experiencing somewhat of a dry-down right now," Indelicato said.

But the winter weather doesn't fully predict what's to come in the warmer months. Mosquito control programs in the state — there's one in every county — have had time to take on sites of standing water and attempt to interrupt the life cycle of the mosquito at its immature stage, via methods such as spray treatment and mosquito-loving fish.

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The Office of Mosquito Control Coordination, within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said traps are out, capturing mosquitoes that are already on the wing in 2024.

"It's literally a light and a fan and a capture jar," said Scott Crans, administrator.

According to Crans, the traps are "collecting low numbers of a diverse group of species."

Mosquito spraying in progress (NJDEP)
Mosquito spraying in progress (NJDEP)

Control methods can keep millions of mosquitoes from infiltrating towns and backyards. Without treatment, "it would quickly become unbearable" in some parts of New Jersey, Crans said.

"When we miss a brood, the phone rings off the hook," Crans said.

According to Crans, "very large hatches of mosquito eggs" are on the table should New Jersey receive a storm that brings 1 or 2 inches of rain.

Mosquito safety

New Jersey is starting to test 2024 mosquito samples for the presence of viruses, such as West Nile. Populations of Culiseta melanura, the species that amplifies the presence of Eastern equine Encephalitis, are expected to be higher than normal this year.

Residents can do their part to limit mosquito populations locally, experts say. Any container on one's property — such as a flower pot, tire, or tarp — can turn into a breeding ground for mosquitoes when it holds water for an extended period of time.

Corrugated downspout extensions are another spot to clear out.

"If a resident takes the time to go around their property and check for those containers, the impact on mosquito control can be huge," Indelicato said.

New Jersey Light Traps; Dog water dish turned upside down but still holding water, leaves and mosquito larvae. (NJDEP)
New Jersey Light Traps; Dog water dish turned upside down but still holding water, leaves and mosquito larvae. (NJDEP)

Mosquito season generally runs into October in New Jersey. With high humidity, late July into early fall is typically the peak.

In order to reduce the odds of a mosquito bite, experts advise individuals to wear an EPA-registered repellent, limit time outdoors during dusk and dawn, and wear light-colored pants and long sleeves.

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