The long-range forecast for the upcoming summer in the Garden State is for hot temperatures and above average rainfall.

If it happens, expect a bumper crop of mosquitoes.

Scott Crans, the administrator of the Office of Mosquito Control Coordination within the Department of Environmental Protection, said rainfall tends to drive the mosquito population “and temperature regulates how fast those mosquito populations develop — so hot and rainy is a worst-case scenario.”

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Jen Gruener, the superintendent of the Warren County Mosquito Control Commission, said even though it’s already been hot we haven’t had a lot of rain lately. One or two rainfalls of at least an inch of rain is enough to spawn mosquitoes.

Crans said while predicting which types of mosquitoes will flourish this year is difficult, in the past hot and dry conditions have driven West Nile virus activity and we’ve recently had higher populations of mosquitoes that carry eastern equine encephalitis.

He pointed out cases of triple-E are rare in people but “when the disease does progress, it’s usually a poor outcome for the individual that’s displaying symptoms.”

Those symptoms can include fever, chills and an overall feeling of malaise, and infection can result in neurologic disease, including meningitis or brain swelling.

Crans said initial symptoms of several mosquito borne illnesses can be similar to COVID.

Gruener pointed out you can effectively protect yourself by wearing mosquito repellent.

Crans stressed mosquitoes need standing water to lay their eggs and they will utilize water on tarps, in wading pools and in cups.

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