Frequently Asked Questions

Are mosquito-borne diseases a concern in Sussex County, New Jersey?

Yes, West Nile virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Jamestown Canyon (JCV) are now endemic to Sussex County, New Jersey; and remain a public health threat. Other mosquito-borne diseases currently being surveyed in Sussex County include: La Crosse Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Dengue, Zika virus, and Chikungunya.

It is important to continue taking proactive measures to prevent mosquito breeding around your home and to prevent mosquito bites.

What is Sussex County Office of Mosquito Control (SCOMC) doing to prevent the transmission of these viruses?

While the SCOMC cannot prevent mosquito-borne diseases from entering the area, the SCOMC can assist in a number of ways. Among them are reducing the mosquito population and educating the public on ways to prevent mosquito bites, to reduce the chances of transmission and infection from these diseases.

The SCOMC routinely surveys for mosquito-borne diseases by trapping and testing adult mosquitoes at many locations around Sussex County. Field inspectors survey the County regularly for sites where mosquitoes may breed and eliminate or control these breeding areas, as necessary.

What actions does the SCOMC take when a positive pool is confirmed?

If a positive pool has been confirmed, SCOMC follows an Integrated Pest Management approach to controlling mosquito populations. This approach is a scientifically based program that considers many factors when controlling mosquitoes.

To effectively control the vector populations - or disease-carrying mosquitoes - in a community, the larval stage is always the first target when dealing with positive samples in an area. As part of the Integrated Pest Management approach, inspectors often conduct yard surveys in the immediate area of concern to dump and treat any standing water. Inspections and treatments of natural habitats are also completed to monitor primary and bridge vectors. Bridge vectors are mosquitoes that pass an infection from a host animal to a human.

As a last resort, community wide adulticide applications (spraying pesticides by truck to control adult mosquitoes) are conducted to control the adult (flying) populations.

The notification of local towns for disease detection and truck-mounted spraying is also completed by the SCOMC. Be sure to check in with your town on how their notifications to residents are being completed, in addition to our efforts.

When will you come spray my property?

The SCOMC does not spray adulticide applications on individual properties. The Ultra-low volume or ULV truck mounted with spraying applications are limited to roads; and focus on controlling mosquitoes at a community level.

How can I be notified of your ULV truck mounted spraying applications?

You can contact the SCOMC at: 973-940-5225 or by email: mosquito@sussex.nj.us, to request to be added to the pre-notification list. Please provide your name, municipality, your exact address and a telephone number you would like to be reached at. The office will notify you via phone 12-24 hours prior to the application with the date, time, product being sprayed, municipality and areas planned to be sprayed. You can also visit our spray schedule on our web page at: www.sussex.nj.us/mosquito, for up-to-date information regarding our spray applications.

How can I have my property excluded from your spray route?

In order to be added to the "no spray list," you can contact the SCOMC at: 973-940-5225, to request that your property is excluded from the spray route. You must provide your name, municipality, the exact address and your telephone number to the SCOMC.

The exclusion list, however, is a courtesy that we provide to our residents; and we reserve the right to spray all properties in the event of a public health emergency.

I'm a bee apiarist, what can I do to protect my bees?

With questions pertaining to protective measures for your beehives, we recommend contacting your local Beekeeper Association. You can also visit our website at: www.sussex.nj.us/mosquito, for additional information regarding our spraying and beehives.

What kind of pesticide products do you use when you ULV truck spray and what are some concerns associated with those products?

SCOMC uses pesticides called pyrethrins, which are derived from the African chrysanthemum flower, Chrysanthemum cineriaefolium. While all pesticides can cause adverse health effects, studies have shown that when these products are used in mosquito control and are applied according to label directions, they pose little risk to the environment for the following reasons:

  1. Phyrethrins are extremely photosensitive and breakdown within hours of sunlight.
  2. There is very little residue from this product left in the environment.
  3. These products are also being applied at very low doses.
  4. SCOMC uses a method called Ultra Low Volume for truck spraying, which is designed to control mosquitoes by making droplets small enough to contact adult mosquitoes.
  5. The rate that SCOMC applies pyrethrin products is at or less than 1 fl oz/acre, which is equivalent to 1 cup of product over an area the size of a football field.

What are your recommendations for when you are spraying in my neighborhood?

In order to minimize your exposure to any pesticide, we recommend to all residents to stay indoors, to shut all windows and doors and to turn off air conditioning units, when mosquito truck spraying is occurring. It is suggested to wait an hour after spraying takes place in your neighborhood, to open windows and doors and to turn back on air conditioning, because our products dissipate and break down quickly in sunlight. After spraying occurs, residents should also wait until the following morning to return outdoors.

What can I do to protect myself from mosquito-borne diseases?

The best defense against mosquito-borne diseases, is to take proactive measures to prevent mosquito bites by:

  1. Eliminating any potential mosquito breeding sources around your home by dumping and draining standing water.
  2. Avoiding outdoor activities between dusk and dawn during the warm mosquito season, since mosquitoes are most active during this time.
  3. Wearing loose-fitting pants and long-sleeve shirts during the time of year when mosquitoes are most prevalent, to decrease exposure to mosquitoes.
  4. Using approved mosquito repellents containing CDC-approved insect repellent, with the ingredients DEET or Picaridin. It is important to read and follow the manufacturer's directions for use.

How do I know if a water source is breeding mosquitoes?

Any stagnant water source can be a potential mosquito breeding site. Stagnant water with algae, debris and other organic materials, is an ideal habitat for mosquito larvae. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of the water, residents should check these water sources for any mosquito eggs, egg rafts or larvae.

How long will it take for a water source to become a mosquito breeding problem?

Weather conditions play an important role in the life cycle of a mosquito. In warm summer months, a puddle of stagnant water can become an ideal breeding source in several days.

I am still having a problem with adult mosquitoes even after checking my yard. What can I do now?

You can contact 973-940-5225 to place a service request with our Office or visit the website at: www.sussex.nj.us/mosquito for a web inquiry. After we receive your request, a field inspector will respond within a few days to survey the area for standing water on and near your property. If deemed necessary, treatments will be made to standing water, a door hanger will be left to give a brief summary of the inspector findings and a mosquito trap will be placed, to determine adult mosquito populations; and possibly survey for mosquito diseases.

Where can I go for more information?

New Jersey Department of Health: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/westnile.shtml external link

Rutgers University: https://njaes.rutgers.edu/mosquito/ external link

New Jersey DEP: https://www.state.nj.us/dep/mosquito/ external link

National Pesticide Information Center: http://npic.orst.edu/pest/mosquito/wnv.html external link