Hurricane Sandy provides habitats for mosquitoes -

Hurricane Sandy debris provides habitats for mosquitoes

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As the summer months approach State and Atlantic County officials are asking residents to take precautions to help control the mosquito population.

Hurricane Sandy may have provided mosquitoes with additional places to breed and added another challenge for mosquito control.

"The diseases they carry, I don't want my children or myself to get anything," said Absecon resident Karen Weber.

And after a year when the state saw 48 West Nile cases, including six deaths, local officials are not wasting any time.

"Because it's been kind of cool, they are progressing relatively slowly. So we do have a good opportunity to get out and try to get them before they emerge as adults," said Bill Reinert, head of the Atlantic County Department of Public Works.

Reinert says county inspectors are already out searching for potential mosquito breeding grounds and will soon send mosquito samples to the state lab for evaluation.

An additional challenge has emerged this year as Hurricane Sandy has provided downed trees and debris piles for mosquitoes to breed, but officials say still more is needed to provide ideal conditions for the bugs.

" Although additional habitats may have been created from Sandy, you still need the water," said Reinert.

 "It has to sit for long enough periods of time and that determines if mosquitoes are going to be a problem.

County officials are urging residents to be mindful of their property and watch for standing water in birdbaths and other objects that can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

And with the encouragement of the state and county, residents have joined the fight.

"We dump all the buckets, we have a little pool we empty it, turn it over," said Mays Landing resident Heather Segletes.

" Always dumping standing water. In the tires, in the kids buckets and stuff outside. Just try to keep areas where they can lay there eggs non existent," said Weber.

And county officials are asking residents to be mindful of anything that holds water for more than five days, in a space that could be as small as a bottle cap.

"It can produce a brood of adult mosquitoes that will be out searching for blood and causes the itching we're familiar with and also transmit disease," said Reinert.

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