The recent rainy weather has done more than just set off repeated flood watches and force outdoor events to be rescheduled — it has also been a boon for mosquitos, which breed in standing water.
It takes mosquito larvae just three days to breed in standing water, according to Fair Lawn Health Director Carol Wagner.
"This is going to be a very bad season because we've had so much rain," Wagner said.
Readers on the Fair Lawn-Saddle Brook Patch Facebook page have already reported encounters with mosquitos on Fair Lawn Avenue, Berdan Avenue, Third Street, Hartley Place and properties bordering Route 208, among other spots around town.
Borough officials are asking residents to help out by making it difficult for mosquitos to breed.
"Nobody likes to be outside and deal with mosquito issues," Wagner said.
The first step to deterring mosquitos is to make sure there's no standing water, Wagner said. Residents should dump out any water from saucers below planters, store tires inside instead of out — the sun heats the black rubber, making it ideal to the insects for breeding when they collect water — and make sure gutters are clean to stop water from sitting there.
Anyone who keeps a rain barrel should keep a fine mesh screen to stop the bugs from getting to the water, or keep a thin layer of vegetable cooking oil on top of the water, which discourages them from breeding, Wagner said.
Residents with pools should make sure they're in use and the water is chlorinated, or drain any stagnant water if they don't plan to use the pool, Wagner said. Another option is to buy "mosquito dunks" and put them in the water. The dunks kill the mosquito larvae.
For residents with ponds on their property, the Bergen County Mosquito Division offers free fish which eat mosquitos. The division can be contacted at 201-634-2880.
The division also regularly checks and treats, when necessary, numerous areas around the county, including some marshy areas in Fair Lawn. Residents can report any major mosquito problems to the division, but they will probably be busy this season.
For anyone who's already got mosquitos in their yard, Wagner recommended wearing clothing with long sleeves and spraying DEET on the outside of shoes and clothes, rather than directly on skin.