NJ playing catch-up with mosquitoes that arrived early and will stick around longer
Dozens of mosquito species call New Jersey home, and they seem to be doing so for a longer period of time each year.
Once again in 2022, experts with their eyes on the problem say that mosquito season got off to an early start in the Garden State.
"With respect to how bad it can be, it's all dependent on the local weather conditions," said Scott Crans, administrator of the New Jersey Office of Mosquito Control Coordination. "The more rain we have, and when we have that rain, the more potentioal there is for mosquito production."
Surveillance statewide for the pest began months ago. Spring rains flooded the larval habitats, allowing larvae to develop slowly in the water.
It's during that stage, when the mosquitoes are still developing, when county mosquito control programs have the best shot at success. But as New Jersey moves closer to summer and temperatures rise, larvae may need as little as just a few days before they develop into adults.
"This year we had an early start, a lot of rain, and we are still trying to catch up with the adult mosquitoes that are still on the wing," Crans said.
Mosquitoes are causing a "significant nuisance" specifically in the northwestern portion of the state right now, Crans said. Control programs further south and towards the coast are having an easier time managing populations, at least for now.
"If you're experiencing a mosquito nuisance problem, by all means reach out to your local county mosquito control program. That's why they're there," Crans said.
In general throughout New Jersey, mosquitoes are beginning their stay earlier and lingering longer on a yearly basis. New Jersey is home to more than 60 different species.
The longer the season runs, the more residents and officials need to worry about disease transmission. Mosquitoes have more time to pick up viruses and transmit them to animals and humans.
In September 2021, the New Jersey Department of Health noted an above-average count of West Nile Virus cases in humans.