This spring's rain has created a bumper crop of mosquitoes around my house.
If you live in New Jersey, you might not be seeing as many. Officials there have an aggressive program that includes the use of fish that eat mosquito larvae.
This year, they added a new weapon to the arsenal: Macrocyclops albidus.
That's the official name of a tiny crustacean that, while significantly smaller, is still kind of like a shrimp, the Department of Environmental Protection says. And it eats mosquito larvae like a kid at the movies eats popcorn.
It is being grown in large numbers in a state Department of Agriculture laboratory and has been distributed to mosquito control authorities in Atlantic, Bergen, Cumberland, Gloucester, Monmouth, and Warren counties.
Here's more from a DEP press release:
"This is another environmentally friendly tool that can be used to battle mosquitoes, without having to resort to pesticides,'' said Bob Kent, administrator of the DEP's Office of Mosquito Control Coordination. "It is especially effective in small containers or pools of water, and is really good in dealing with the Asian tiger mosquito, which can breed in the tiniest of places _ even a bottle cap.''
The DEP and State Department of Agriculture have been exploring this new mosquito-battling tool for several years, doing field trials in Hunterdon, Morris, Monmouth, Ocean and Cumberland counties since 2006. The crustacean, which is used to deal with mosquitoes in warmer locales from New Orleans to Vietnam, was approved by State scientists for a full-fledged New Jersey rollout this spring to deal with an expected bumper crop of mosquitoes.
Kent said the Macrocyclops albidus, which is a copepod, thrives in fresh water and is a valuable tool to battle mosquitoes in artificial containers, roadside ditches, small water pools, clogged downspouts and other, smaller wet areas that can breed plenty of mosquitoes.
They are being mass-produced at the State Department of Agriculture's 21,000 square-foot state-of-the-art Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory, which was constructed in 1985 and designed for biological pest control.
For more information on the state's mosquito programs, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/mosquito/programs.htm