The results of a study by Rutgers University found that nearly 60% of NJ residents can’t enjoy the outdoors due to mosquitoes and mosquito bites. The focus of the study was how these pests impact our quality of life and ability to enjoy outdoor activities instead of the more common mosquito studies that focus on the dangerous diseases they can carry and transmit.
60 % of NJ Residents Say “Stop Buggin’ Me”
There are several types of mosquitoes that call America their home, but in the science journal titled, “Quantifying the Impact of Mosquitoes on Quality of Life and Enjoyment of Yard and Porch Activities in New Jersey” focuses on the day biter mosquito (Aedes albopictus), also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, whose populations have exploded since first appearing in New Jersey in 1995.
Quality of life is often measured in science with a tool referred to as TTO (Time-Trade-Off), which is a ratio measuring relative health and time relationships. According to the World Health Organization being physically healthy does not constitute “healthy”, instead they define health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”.
Researchers conducted face to face interviews with selected NJ residents and they were compensated $10 for their interview time. The average person reported being bit at least 7 times during a typical summer week, which resulted in 59.5% of all respondents in the study to conclude that mosquitoes negatively impacted their quality of life and outdoor activities.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to quantify the utility associated with mosquito abundance using three different methods, and it is the first study to put a value on an hour free of mosquitoes spent in yard or porch activities.”
Summer months are the worst for mosquito bites across the nation, yet Florida is often associated with being the “buggiest” state likely from the area of water in the tropical state, a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other bug larvae.
So is New Jersey a buggy state? Not really. Here are the buggiest cities (and states) in the US compiled from a survey conducted by the bug spray brand OFF! in May of 2012.
10. Richmond, Virginia
9. Jacksonville, Florida
8. Atlanta-Marietta, Georgia
7. Birmingham, Alabama
6. Memphis, Tennessee
5. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
4. Virginia Beach-Norfolk, North Carolina
3. Houston, Texas
2. New Orleans, Louisiana
1. Tampa-Clearwater, Florida
As you can see New Jersey did not make the list, and the stereotype is accurate, with Florida cities making the list thrice. Common sense and science should always go together, don’t go swimming in shark infested waters with a bloody gash, don’t try to break up a bear fight, and wear bug spray and/or netting in the summer months if you are playing outside in mosquito areas.
Now we know that the NJ Residents suffer, how does your state rate with bug problems?
Feature image of empty porch in North Carolina, By Ilemme, from Wikimedia Commons.