Integrated Pest Management Program

About the Program
Our dedicated staff help carry out our Integrated Pest Management Program consisting of surveillance, water management, biological, and chemical control.

With 63 different mosquito species in the state, over 40 of which occur in Cape May County, surveillance of nuisance and disease carrying mosquito populations is crucial. The Department employs a network of dipping stations, so named because of the tool used to collect larvae and pupae from the water, around the county to direct our larval control efforts.
An array of collection devices are used to evaluate adult mosquito populations, including NJ Light Traps, CDC traps, gravid traps, and resting boxes. These collections are important from several standpoints:
  • They indicate how many mosquitoes are present
  • What species of mosquitoes are present (not all mosquitoes bite humans - some are strictly cold blooded feeders, i.e. frogs, turtles)
  • Where the mosquitoes are at present
  • Where they appear to be headed
The department's inspectors are state licensed commercial pesticide applicators who regularly answer complaints of mosquito activity phoned in by the public. Where legitimate activity is found, proper control measures are taken.

Water Management

Both on the salt marsh and in the upland, water management, when done properly, eliminates standing water while enhancing the natural food web. Open Marsh Water Management (OMWM) is a technique used in the control of the salt marsh mosquito Aedes sollicitans, and is the result of the cooperative efforts of wildlife conservation agencies and mosquito control agencies. Through a series of ditches, mosquito larval depressions are connected to more permanent bodies of water, for instance, a tidal creek or salt marsh pond. This serves both to eliminate standing water, and allow predaceous fish access to any mosquito larvae that might remain.

Biological Control
The department uses Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) and Bacillus sphaericus (Bs), bacterial larvicides toxic to mosquito larvae, in a variety of formulations. Backpack sprayers and helicopter-mounted equipment apply granular formulations of Bti and Bs. Truck mounted tank sprayers dispense a liquid formulation of Bti.

The department stocks appropriate sites with mosquito eating fish (Gambusia affinis). These fish in return help suppress the aquatic populations of mosquitoes. These fish are available to the public upon request for use in ornamental ponds where no fish are present, or in other potential mosquito larval habitats.

Chemical Control

When source reduction, water management and biological methods do not sufficiently reduce mosquito populations, chemical control is the last option. Larvicides are pesticides designed for application directly to water to control mosquito larvae. Adulticides are pesticides used in ultra low volume (ULV) spraying to control adult mosquitoes. ULV spraying is the modern day equivalent to the fogging operations conducted in the 1960s and 1970s. The department’s commercial pesticide applicators follow the label instructions for all larvicides and adulticides and consult Rutgers University’s Insecticides Recommended for Mosquito Control in NJ in 2012 (PDF).

Two larvicides in this category include methoprene and temephos. Methoprene is an insect growth regulator that disrupts the normal growth pattern of immature mosquitoes in water and prevents them from becoming breeding, biting adults. Temephos is an organophosphate pesticide registered by EPA in 1965 to control mosquito larvae and is the only organophosphate labeled for larvicidal use. It is an important resistance management tool for mosquito control programs. When used in rotation, the use of temephos helps prevent mosquitoes from developing resistance to the bacterial larvicides. Backpack sprayers and helicopter-mounted equipment apply granular formulations of methoprene and temephos. Truck mounted tank sprayers dispense liquid formulation of methoprene and temephos.

The Mosquito Department will utilize pyrethroid and organophosphate adulticides in 2015. Pyrethroids are synthetic (human-made) forms of pyrethrins. Pyrethrins, in turn, are insecticides derived from the extract of chrysanthemum flowers. The Mosquito Department will use 5 different pyrethroids in 2015, including etofenprox, permethrin, prallethrin, resmethrin and sumithrin. The department configures and calibrates truck mounted ULV sprayers to apply all 5 pyrethroids. Also in use is malathion, an organophosphate, which is exclusively applied by our helicopter mounted ULV system. Malathion’s use is part of our resistance management program. Its application from our helicopter will be rotated with etofenprox when conditions necessitate.

For the latest information on pesticides used in mosquito control, visit the National Pesticide Information Center.