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Wet Start To Spring Sparks Zika Concerns Among New Jersey Residents

MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The summer is here and that means mosquitoes, but fears about the Zika virus could force some to change their outdoor plans.

There have been 18 cases of travel related Zika in New Jersey, and since it's spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito it seems people are taking precautions into their own hands.

"I was out at dusk last night and they were at my ankles," Mahwah resident, Susan McKenna told CBS2's Meg Baker.

Besides being an annoyance at a BBQ, people in New Jersey say they are also concerned about the Zika threat that mosquitoes pose.

"I have two daughters in their 20s. I keep telling them put bug spray on and they are really tired of me telling them," McKenna said.

Pest control companies in New Jersey said they are busier than ever with a boom of new customers.

"Over the past couple weeks been getting a lot of calls about mosquitoes because of the Zika virus, people are concerned about that," Ron Marrone, Owner, J.D. Ambrozio Pest Services said.

So busy in fact that The Bug Doctor opened a new division -- The Mosquito Doctor.

"The phone is ringing off the hook. People want treatments as soon as possible," Stewart Aust, The Bug Doctor said.

So what do pest control companies look for?

"Gutters need to be cleaned out if water is collecting there, bird baths, buckets, pool toys where water is collecting," Aust explained.

As soon as it's over 55 degrees, the mosquitoes start breeding and they lay more than 100 eggs at a time.

Pest experts told CBS2's Baker that the wet start to May means many people waited to open up their pools. The top of the pool cover can be another source for breeding.

Ron Marrone suggested raking leaves out from under bushes.

"Power spray under bushes, shrubbery, exterior of house by lights where mosquitoes would best rest in those areas," Marrone said.

Even stores are selling mosquito repellent products like crazy.

Bergen County Mosquito Control just finished up spraying a public park in Mahwah. According to the NJDEP the state is working with mosquito control agencies to eliminate breeding grounds -- using fish that eat mosquito larvae and creating public awareness.

Pest control companies expect even more calls once the weather stays consistently warm.


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