News Department

Bill that creates mosquito control pilot program clears committee

NEW JERSEY – The Assembly State and Local Government Committee on Thursday released a bill that will bring mosquito mitigation measures to some New Jersey towns.

The bill (A5788), sponsored by Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer, would create a five-year pilot program open to municipalities with fewer than 10,000 residents, in counties with populations of 300,000 to 330,000 persons. Those eligible towns include Woodbury, Pitman, Clayton, Paulsboro, Logan Township, Greenwich Township, Westville, Elk Township, South Harrison Township, Woodbury Heights, National Park, Swedesboro, Wenonah, and Newfield. Participation is optional.

“There are places in my home county where you cannot step outside in the summer without being slathered in bug repellant, the mosquitoes are so bad,” Sawyer (R-Gloucester) said. “This is a public nuisance and health hazard that has been allowed to fester for far too long.”

Four counties—Camden, Middlesex, Ocean, and Warren—have mosquito control commissions, although every county has a mosquito control or extermination entity.

New Jersey, through its Department of Environmental Protection, operates the State Mosquito Control Commission, a 10-member commission that monitors mitigation activities across the state. The state commission not only makes policy recommendations to the governor and state legislature, but reviews municipal and county mitigation plans to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

The state Mosquito Control Commission would appropriate funds for and oversee Sawyer’s program. Participating towns would report their mitigation strategies and outcomes to the commission.

“This is a quality of life issue that the towns, counties and state need to address for the health and happiness of our residents,” Sawyer said.

One-third of the 63 species of mosquito that call the Garden State home feed on human blood. Three species are most likely to attack humans: the Asian Tiger, which may carry Zika, West Nile Virus, yellow fever, and encephalitis; the White-footed Woods, which transmits West Nile and Venezuelan equine encephalitis; and the Cattail, while not associated with any diseases but packs a painful bite.

In 2023, 632 mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile. Eight infections were reported in the state, with one death and one asymptomatic blood donor. There have been no reported cases of Zika.

Mosquitoes are most active April through October, and lay their eggs in stagnant water.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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