Sandy has become known as a storm that destroyed many people's homes, but it is the homes that this storm has created that has officials with the Ocean County Mosquito Extermination Commission most concerned.
Throughout the salt marsh, wreckage from the storm lays in wait for potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes to lay their eggs in the wreckage's standing water.
Mosquito Extermination Commission member Richard Candeletti told Patch that the Commission is increasing the number of inspectors the agency has in anticipation of a busier-than-usual season, and is doing everything it can to inform the public about the dangers of standing water now.
Ocean County has two particular problems adding to its mosquito woes: Catch-basins, many of which do not drain properly and sit along roadways and housing developments, and many abandoned or foreclosed homes with swimming pools or debris that provide perfect breeding grounds for the bugs. These foreclosures could get worse, as many residents have indicated they may have to abandon their homes if they cannot afford to fix them in accordance with suggested Federal Emergency Management Agency's new Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps.
Complicating matters, according to Brendan Weiner, is the fact that there are jurisdictional issues relating to who can actually clean up the marshland. Candeletti agreed, noting: "At this point in time, other than some permits we have to do work on marsh ... we don't have a green light to go ahead and clean this area up. We are working with the state and the county to try and inform them of the problem."
Speaking at a recent Manchester Council meeting, Weiner said: "It only takes a soda cap full of water to provide a breeding ground, and here we have garbage can lids, and sheds and all sort so debris, so this area is going to be a haven for mosquito breeding." He urged the public to be vigilant about reducing breeding habitats around their homes.
TIPS TO LESSEN BREEDING HABITAT
Hoping to minimize your property's potential to be the perfect mosquito breeding ground? Here are some tips from the commission:
- Dispose of unwanted containers that can hold water (tires, bottles, cans, buckets, barrels, etc.)
- Store unused containers in an upside-down position.
- Change water in bird baths.
- Keep roof gutters and drainage ditches cleared.
- Properly grade property and eliminate any areas where water can collect, such as tire ruts