How to Have a Mosquito-Free Summer with the Help of Bergen County Mosquito Control

County of Bergen, Department of Public Works

Mosquito Control Division

P.O. Box 236, Paramus NJ 07653-0236

201-599-6141 / 6142  Fax: 201-599-6143

Mosquito Control and Prevention

New Jersey has approximately 60 species of mosquito, each of which has a different habitat, behavior, and preferred source of blood.  Some of these are in such large amounts and are such active biters that most New Jersey counties have established agencies to control mosquitoes.  Organized mosquito control is necessary because mosquitoes are not only a nuisance as biting pests, but occasionally transmit disease to human and animals.  (There is no  evidence that AIDS or Lyme disease can be transmitted by mosquito).  


Bergen County DPW, Mosquito Control Division, reduce mosquito populations in various ways including water management, biological control (using Gambusia affinis "mosquito fish") and lastly by using insecticides.


Water Management, such as stream clearance and desnagging, helps to prevent mosquitoes by keeping waterways running freely and eliminating the stagnant water needed for mosquitoes to breed.  Bergen County Mosquito Control, in cooperation with local municipalities, has an extensive stream clearance program.  Requests for stream clearance must come directly from the municipality.  All mandatory permits and approvals must be obtained by the municipality, at its own expense.  Machinery and manpower are supplied without charge.  Desnagging projects, such as the removal of trees obstructing waterways, which do not require large machinery, can be requested by calling our office.  Most desnagging projects are undertaken in the fall and winter months.  


Biological Control, using "mosquito fish,"  has been available in Bergen County for many years.  Residents with ornamental pools may request these fish, when they become available, free of charge.  Our employees will determine if a pond is suitable for the fish and the amount of fish needed.


Insecticides used to control mosquito larvae are known as larvicides.  Currently, Bergen County uses Abate (temphos), and organophosphate, and B.T.I. (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), a bacteria.  B.T.I. is used most often because it is the least hazardous to non-target organisms, such as fish, wildlife, and humans.  


Insecticides used to control mosquito adults, the female of the species being the biters, are known as adulticides.  Bergen County uses resmethrin, a synthetic form of pyrethrum, which occurs naturally in chrysanthemums.  Resmethrin is one of the least toxic adulticides available and will not harm humans or animals.


All mosquitoes have four stages of development - egg, larva, pupa, and adult.  In hot summer months the time needed for an egg to go through all the stages to adult is often a week or less.  Mosquito larvae and pupae can only survive in water and at these stages are the easiest to control. Of course, larvicides and biological controls are effective but the best control is prevention.


The most effective was to control mosquitoes is to reduce possible places for the larvae to mature.  Lakes, large ponds, and streams that have waves, contain fish and don't have vegetation around their edges, are not mosquito habitats.  Mosquitoes prefer smaller bodies of water in protected places: discarded cans, bottles, and tires; clogged roof gutters; birdbaths and troughs; unused wading pools, sandboxes, and anything else that tends to collect rainwater.  If you have a swimming pool, make sure it is properly chlorinated, or if unused, drained.  Rain barrels should be covered with a screen.  Mosquito breeding areas such as woodland pools and roadside ditches should be brought to the attention of Bergen County Mosquito Control for the most effective control.  On a regular basis, we inspect over 5,000 locations, as well as over 60,000 catch basins throughout Bergen County.  We also have specific large areas that are sprayed using a helicopter when necessary.


On occasion,  even with the most effective control measures, many adult mosquitoes will emerge from their aquatic stages.  Once females mosquitoes mate they must find a blood meal for their eggs to develop.  At this point, as everyone surely knows, many species of mosquito are searching for their favorite blood meal - YOU.  There is no scientific proof that "bug zappers" have any significant effect on mosquito populations.  Don't buy one unless you have problems with other flying insects as well.  Mosquito repellents offer some relief if used properly according to label directions.  If you find that mosquitoes are still unbearable, give us a call.  An employee will come to your location within a few days and first try to find where your mosquito problem started so future problems may be avoided.  Next he/she will determine the extent of your mosquito problem and the need for insecticide by taking a "landing  count." If they do find that there is a significant problem, adulticides may be used.  If you are at home, please direct any questions that you have to the inspector.  If you are not at home, the inspector will leave a note explaining that he has been there.  Please call our office after 10:00 a.m. the following morning and we'll try to answer any questions you might have about the inspector's visit.


Remember - the best defense against mosquitoes is PREVENTION.


"Stop their flight before they bite!"

Mosquito Control Division

201-599-6141 or 201-599-6142

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