Elevated levels of mosquitoes predicted for New Jersey
The recent weather trends don't paint a pretty picture for mosquito season in the Garden State.
Temperatures in May were about a degree below average, and June has had an unusually cool start, but the bloodsucking flies are more dependent on something else — precipitation. And New Jersey has had plenty of it.
Last week, State Climatologist Dave Robinson at Rutgers University told New Jersey 101.5 that May 2017 was likely to rank as the 10th-wettest May on record in New Jersey, with rains averaging at least 2 inches above normal for the month.
Wet conditions are expected to continue through Tuesday.
"If you have just steady rains without flooding, then you're going to have lots of mosquitoes," said Joseph Conlon, technical adviser for the Mount Laurel-based American Mosquito Control Association.
Conlon calls for "slightly elevated levels" of mosquitoes in New Jersey during the warmer months.
He noted mosquitoes are only not active when the ambient temperature hits below 55 degrees. So while the pests are typically associated with hot and humid conditions, they're perfectly capable of thriving when temperatures are in the 60s and 70s.
"This is relatively early in the mosquito season," Conlon said. "By in large, the July, August and September time frame is when they come out in large numbers."
Conlon said mosquito activity will vary in New Jersey by region, depending on local conditions and surroundings.
According to Caryn Shinske, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, mosquito control efforts have been underway for a few weeks.
Control measures include spraying — by hand, vehicle or plane — along with fish that eat mosquito larvae.
Shinske said mosquito season got off to an early start in the northern part of the state.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.