HAMILTON, N.J.—Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes released gambusia affinis fish into a woodland pond to launch Mercer County’s Mosquito Control annual fish-stocking program.
“Mercer County works hard to maintains a long-range and environmentally sound mosquito control program,” said Hughes. “Stocking these fish is efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound, and prevents the spread of the West Nile Virus.”
Mercer County Mosquito Control employs an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, incorporating many pest control methods including vector surveillance, breeding source prevention and reduction, biological and chemical control, and public education. With an IPM strategy, control efforts focus primarily on the immature, water-borne stages of the mosquito. The immature stages are generally confined to an aquatic microhabitat and are easier to treat since they cannot escape control measures.
Biological control measures are undertaken by utilizing different fish species to control larval populations in enclosed habitats. To limit the impact of Gambusia affinis on indigenous fish populations, the New Jersey Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries limits stocking to habitats that are self-contained and do not outflow to natural creeks or other waterways. In addition to Gambusia, the program also offers other species of fish for mosquito control, including the fathead minnow, killifish and two species of sunfish.
Mercer County typically releases thousands of fish at roughly 30 sites countywide every year to prevent the spread of mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus. Other initiatives include cooperative efforts for tire removal and recycling, sanitation work, public education, and water management, as well the use of trapping and other surveillance tools.
Persons who want to volunteer their pools or report mosquito problems in their neighborhoods may call Mercer County Mosquito Control at (609) 530-7501 for site evaluations.