Mosquito Pestilence Possible in Ocean County Courtesy of Hurricane Irene
Squadrons of mosquitoes are expected as dormant eggs emerge from the salt marsh mud and new pools of water that provide expanded breeding habitat.
A hurricane ushers in the floods. Now brace yourself for pestilence in the form of squadrons of mosquitoes.
That’s because hurricanes and tropical storms, with their drenching rains, produce a double whammy of ideal habitat for mosquitoes to either hatch out or breed and lay eggs.
Floodwater mosquito species lay their eggs in mud and hatch out after big storms such as Irene.
And others species, known for laying their eggs in standing water, suddenly have many more places to breed.
Not only are mosquitos an annoyance, they can also spread various several forms of encephalitis and West Nile virus to humans and heartworm to dogs.
The salt marsh got drenched and commision employees are seeing young larvae, which will turn into pupa and then flying adults, he said.
Two helicopters are spraying larvacide in hopes ith will break their life-cycle. They are targeting salt marshes throughout Ocean County, according to the commission.
In upland areas where water ponded up, the commission has five trucks treating areas. Candeletti hopes the sandy soil of Ocean County will allow the water to seep away before a big hatch happens there, too.
Ocean County has two particular problems adding to its mosquito woes: Catch-basins, many of which do not drain properly and sit along roadways and housing developments, and also many abandoned or foreclosed homes with swimming pools that provide perfect breeding grounds for the bugs.
"I know people are worried about budget cutbacks, but we have the manpower and the chemicals, plus good weather on our side," said Candeletti about the work ahead.
TIPS TO LESSEN BREEDING HABITAT
Hoping to minimize your property's potential to be the perfect mosquito breeding ground? Here are some tips from the commission:
- Dispose of unwanted containers that can hold water (tires, bottles, cans, buckets, barrels, etc.)
- Store unused containers in an upside-down position.
- Empty or cover swimming or wading pools when not in use.
- Change water in bird baths.
- Keep roof gutters and drainage ditches cleared.
- Properly grade property and eliminate any areas where water can collect, such as tire ruts