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2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

Backyard Pests

Photo credit: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

Insects such as mosquitoes and ticks are not only a nuisance, but also cause many illnesses such as:

Dengue Fever    |     West Nile Virus     |     Zika Virus     |     Lyme Disease

Mosquito Information

The duration of the mosquito season can be surprisingly long and is dependent upon the amount of precipitation and seasonal temperatures. It can begin as early as March and last up through the end of October. There are numerous natural mosquito habitats in our area as well as backyard hotspots where mosquitos will breed. Please educate yourself, spread the message and take steps to control mosquitoes in your backyard and reduce the threat of mosquito-borne diseases. Check out the following resources for additional information.

Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

For more information please CLICK HERE to read about ways to Mosquito-Proof Your Yard.

Zika Virus Information

NJ Public Health TV page
This page has the State of NJ Department of Health videos on Preparedness, Zika and Ebola.


There are several steps that you can take to reduce mosquito (and other bug) bites:

  • Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Check yourself for ticks and bug bites as soon as you come inside
  • Remove any standing water in flower pots, children's toys, old tires, etc.
  • Clean and chlorinate pools
  • Clear weeds and underbrush and trim shrubs
  • Mow your lawn as often as necessary to keep the grass from growing too tall
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.

Information about Ticks

Lyme Disease

Deer TicksLyme disease is an illness caused by infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is carried by ticks. It is spread to people by the bite of an infected tick. In New Jersey, the most commonly infected tick is the deer tick. Immature ticks become infected by feeding on infected white-footed mice and other small mammals, such as deer and meadow voles. This infection can cause a variety of symptoms and if left untreated can be severe.

Longhorned Tick

Longhorned TicksThe longhorned tick, (Haemaphysalis longicornis), also known as the bush tick or cattle tick, is a new invasive tick from eastern Asia, New Zealand and Australia. It was first found in New Jersey in Hunterdon County in November of 2017 on a sheep farm. It has since migrated to several states. Efforts to contain it in NJ have apparently failed as the tick successfully overwintered and become established in the state as an invasive species.


Like deer ticks, the nymphs of the longhorned tick are tiny (resembling little spiders) and can easily go unnoticed on animals and people. It is dark-brown and grows to the size of a pea when fully engorged, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. This species can carry several bacterial and viral diseases and has been associated with spotted fever rickettsioses.

The tick lives on mammals and birds and spreads quickly in farm animals such as cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and chicken. Natural infestations have been found on wild animals like bear, deer, foxes, hares, and small mammals like rats, ferrets, and birds, the latter hosting the ticks. The tick has been found on cats, dogs, and humans. If too many ticks attach to one animal, the loss of blood can kill the animal.

Disease Carriers

The longhorned tick is self-cloning, and is already known to transmit several human diseases, including spotted fever rickettsiosis, in its native East Asian countries. They are known to infest a wide range of species including humans, dogs, cats, and livestock. It has been associated with the transmission of Theileria, a cause of disease in animals called theileriosis, which leads to anemia and sometimes death. It has also been associated with Russian spring-summer encephalitis, Powassan virus, Khasan virus, tick-borne encephalitis virus and severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome.

Although specimens identified in New Jersey have not been found to carry pathogens, it may be only a matter of time before they become carriers of tick-borne diseases that affect humans.


  • Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin.
  • Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks and as soon as you come inside.
  • How to remove a tick
  • Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
  • At home:
    • Keep weeds and underbrush clear and shrubs trimmed.
    • Mow your lawn as often as necessary to keep the grass from growing too tall.
  • On the trail: hikers and hunters:
    • Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
    • Tuck your pant legs into your socks.
    • Walk in the center of trails.
    • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
    • Examine clothing and gear before you bring it inside. Ticks have been known to hitch a ride.
    • For bow hunters, application of permethrin to clothing before going hunting is a good way to prevent tick bites and any diseases associated with ticks.
    • Wear gloves when dressing or butchering game and wash hands thoroughly afterwards. Animals can carry diseases like brucellosis, tularemia, and rabies. People can become exposed while handling infected animal tissue.

If you develop a fever or rash, see your doctor immediately. Prevention of tick bites is the key message here.

Household Pets

Your household pets that spend time outdoors can get tick born diseases too. Don't forget to protect them from fleas and ticks. Check with your veterinarian to learn how to protect your pet.