Smith was a dynamic academic. He published many volumes on insect pests, but mosquitoes remained his primary interest. Responding to complaints about biting mosquitoes in New Brunswick, Smith realized that the offenders were not produced nearby, but were from the salt marshes, which were miles away. He recognized that these mosquitoes were flying long distances from their larval habitat and therefore posed a statewide problem.
Smith went to the legislature in Trenton to propose a statewide coordinated effort for mosquito control. He even proposed that, with his plan in place, New Jersey would be able to develop a tourism industry at the New Jersey shore. The legislature was incredulous, and, the story goes, openly laughed at his proposal. But Smith went ahead with a small project in the Meadowlands, and demonstrated that mosquitoes invading Jersey City could be controlled by managing the salt marshes. After his success in Jersey City, his fame grew and his services were increasingly in demand.
Eventually, the state funded his mosquito control projects, and Smith drew up laws that would organize mosquito control on a county basis. His proposed law mandated that mosquito control be based on science, with oversight from the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). The director would annually review the plans of mosquito control agencies in the state. In addition, NJAES would conduct research on mosquito biology and control, train county biologists, and publish an annual list of pesticide recommendations. The Smith laws were adopted in 1912 and remain in effect with some revisions to this day.
The following timeline highlights the people and organizations that are responsible for New Jersey's continuing prominence in this field.