The Road Division strives to provide the taxpayers of Somerset County with a reasonable level of mosquito control and protection from mosquito borne diseases consistent with location and prevailing conditions and by using methods approved by the New Jersey State Mosquito Control Commission.
There are many distress mosquito potential areas in Somerset County for high production of common pest mosquitoes(Aedes Vexans). After above normal rainfall mosquito control efforts are increased in these areas with a large human population.
The Road Division also maintains detention basins on a routine basis to reduce the potential for increased mosquito presence.
New Jersey light traps and American Biophysics ABC traps are used to monitor and record the adult mosquito population at various locations from May through September. Inspector reports are also a way of monitoring mosquitoes.
Every complaint is investigated to determine if adult mosquitoes are a problem. All complaints are recorded and kept on file.
Somerset County Mosquito Control employs an identification person. This individual collects mosquitoes from the traps and takes them to the lab for identification. The trap location and number of mosquitoes are recorded and kept on file for future reference.
Mosquito Control ditches installed by the Road Division are maintained in the winter months by hand cleaning and brush removal. These systems drain water quickly to rivers and brooks. All water management ditches are mapped and recorded on the service date.
Somerset County uses only pesticides that are registered with the EPA and NJDEP and that are recommended by the New Jersey State Agricultural Experiment Station of Rutgers University.
Larval mosquito work is performed on a daily basis in areas of high concern. Pesticides are applied by ground using a horn seeder or backpack blower for Vectobac and VectoLex CG. Bonide is applied with a two and a half gallon spray container. The amounts used are recorded and kept on file.
Adulticiding is only done when absolutely necessary with an Ultra Low Volume (ULV) machine mounted on the back of a pick up truck. These units are used when large mosquito outbreaks need to be treated. Adulticiding work is done after sunset until early morning hours (approximately 5:00 a.m.) and is carefully recorded and monitored. ULV machines will be applying Scourge. Calibrations, which determine the flow rate and droplet size, are done on the ULV equipment each year.
The Road Division notifies all registered beekeepers within a one mile radius of where the ULV work will be performed.
This approach to pesticide applications in Somerset County has been extremely rare, but can be accomplished if required, within a reasonable amount of time.
In Somerset County biological control is currently in use with mosquito fish (Gambusia species), fat head minnows, and sunfish.
Employees receive continuing education through various training programs including the New Jersey Mosquito Control Association (NJMCA) Pesticide Training Program and by participating in other state-mandated training including Right-to-Know for hazardous substances, respirator training, CPR and First Aid, safety equipment, confined space entry, and the Rutgers Mosquito Identification Workshop.
Public education is accomplished in a variety of ways including exhibits at the Somerset County 4-H Fair and during County Government Week and brochures and specialized literature that is distributed when answering public complaints. The Somerset County website also provides information.
The Road Division, South County, is housed in a 61,733 square foot facility, which is shared with the Bridge Division. This consists of the main office, lunch room and training area, locker room, lavatory and shower, garage area for minor repairs, equipment storage shed, identification inspection area, and a 585 square foot pesticide storage building. This facility is located on federal property at 410 Roycefield Road in Hillsborough Township. The Road Division, North County, is located at 411 Chimney Rock Road in Bridgewater Township.
Mosquito Control Equipment
The following equipment is used for mosquito control: pickup trucks, rack body trucks, dump trucks, an ATV and an excavator with a variety of attachments including trailers, ULV sprayers, and a Vac-Con basin and pipe cleaning truck.
The Road Division currently has sixty-five permanent employees. There are a total of thirty-one employees in the division who hold commercial pesticide licenses.
Supervisory personnel attend the New Jersey, Northeastern, and American Mosquito Control Association meetings.
ULV – Ultra Low Volume Adulticiding
In the event that mosquito adulticiding is necessary it will be preformed in the evening or early morning hours. Somerset County Mosquito Control will contact the Somerset County Health Department and advise them of the locations that will be treated. One day’s notice will be given prior to spraying for adult mosquitoes. The mosquito control work to be performed will then be relayed to the local health departments via e-mail by the Somerset County Heath Department. The police departments will be notified by the Road Division of the areas to be treated. The local news media will also be contacted regarding these control operations. In the event of inclement weather rescheduling will be necessary.
This approach to pesticide application in the County has been extremely rare, but can be accomplished if required. In the event that aerial larvicide application is necessary due to the population of mosquitoes and/or a health hazard, notice is sent (yearly) to the mayor's offices of the municipalities that may be affected. This information includes highlighted maps of the areas to be treated. Prior to each application the police departments, the municipalities. and local news media shall be notified. This notification is sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested to the mayor of each municipality.
Somerset County personnel perform this application. All personnel assigned to this responsibility hold a valid New Jersey certified pesticide applicator license. Ground larvicide will be applied only to water with confirmed presence of mosquito larvae. This application is made to the standing water by a hand carried spray tank (oil liquid) or a hand carried horn spreader (granular formulation). Weather pending this application takes place from April to October.
After it has been determined by the data gathered from Somerset County's surveillance program (traps, resting boxes, landing counts, and public complaints) that treatment is necessary, an ultra low volume (ULV) unit mounted in a pick-up truck applies the pesticide (Scourge). The application will be made after sunset or before sunrise. Spraying is at a travel speed of 10 mph. A one-day's notice of the locations to be treated will be given to the Somerset County Health Department. It is then relayed by the Somerset County Health Department via e-mail to local Health Departments. Notice to police departments and the local news media will be made by the Road Division. In the event of inclement weather rescheduling will be necessary.
A legal notice in two local news medias (Courier News, The Home News Tribune) will appear every two weeks including the names of the pesticides used in the control of mosquitoes. These notices will run from April to December.
An information packet including all pesticides used in mosquito control work is sent to all local Health Departments by the Road Division at the beginning of each mosquito season.