FIND OUT HOW MOSQUITO CONTROL OPERATES WITH THIS PRIMER
The following is information from Mosquito Control Inc. regarding the methods and schedule for mosquito abatement activities in the parish. For more information or to report high mosquito activity in your area, be sure to contact them at (985) 785-9757.
Mosquito Control will do a service request with an extra spray of the street/area in response to a request. If warranted, Mosquito Control will send an inspector out to survey the area for breeding. Mosquito Control will also treat private residences/yards with hand equipment for weddings and large gatherings free of charge but does not routinely treat individual resident’s yards as part of normal operations.
- INSPECTION AND MAPPING
- CONTROL OF LARVAL INSECTS
- CONTROL OF ADULT INSECTS
- DETERMINATION OF SPRAY FREQUENCY AND LOCATION
- ENCEPHALITIS (DISEASE) SURVEILLANCE
- PUBLIC EDUCATION
Inspection and Mapping
Mosquito abatement begins with defining the problem. Mosquito Control Inc. locates, maps and categorizes important mosquito breeding sites, gathers rainfall information, monitors adult mosquito activity and operates a reporting system reachable at (985) 785-9757 for public mosquito reports. These data are collected year-round and are computer plotted to direct equipment and personnel for precise site-specific control.
Control of Larval Insects
After the immature mosquitoes (larvae) are located in their water habitats, crews work to suppress their ability to become adults. Mosquito Control Inc. uses bio-chemical sprays containing bacteria or insect-growth-regulating hormones to address the larvae. These sprays, while very effective controls for immature mosquitoes, have little or no impact on the surrounding environment. If the location is suitable, Mosquito Control Inc. will transport mosquito fish to the breeding site and let nature take over. The fish then feed on mosquito larvae, providing a natural biological solution to the problem. Mosquito Control provides these mosquito fish to homeowners, free of charge, for use in private ponds, fountains and ornamental pools.
Control of Adult Insects
Three times each week, Mosquito Control surveillance stations update data on adult mosquito populations and their movement. This allows crews to target efforts with both ground and aerial spray units. Application equipment is computer- and GPS-controlled for both effective and precise adulticiding treatments. The company operates a fleet of fully-equipped, truck-mounted, ultra low volume (ULV) sprayers that are checked prior to each use to ensure proper function and calibration. Each vehicle uses a radar/GPS guidance system that adjusts the product flow depending on the speed of the vehicle and records all relevant spray information (location, time and whether or not the truck was spraying) to the office database.
An onboard computer measures the truck speed with radar/GPS and then adjusts the amount of spray coming out of the back of unit according to the precise speed. This is done nearly once per second. The units will only spray between 2 and 22 mph and will put out the exact amount of chemical required at each speed. The truck spray will shut off outside that speed range due to the constant adjustment of flow rate. These variable flow machines allow for optimal mosquito control due to this precise application technology.
Determination of Spray Frequency and Location
The abatement program is guided by several different surveillance methods that are based on such things as trap data, landing rates, service requests and rainfall data and not on a specific schedule, such as garbage collection. Mosquito Control compiles and analyzes data collected from permanently stationed New Jersey Light Traps, Gravid Traps, CDC Light traps, rainfall and landing rate monitoring locations, hundreds of mosquito breeding site inspections as well as the customer service requests received. Areas are prioritized due to need and sprayed accordingly with the addition of some general maintenance spraying.
Frequency of the truck spray operation varies depending on mosquito population composition and numbers as determined by these data. Aerial applications are used when the salt marsh or floodwater mosquito population reach critical levels as determined by surveillance data or to supplement ground control efforts when combating disease mosquito populations.
Breeding site inspections and other larviciding operations are directed largely by rainfall data or by routine habitat inspections. The parish is broken down into zones. Surveillance devices and activities are, for the most part, spread evenly across these zones, with the resultant data used to dictate control activities.
In general, surveillance, larval mosquito abatement, encephalitis monitoring, mosquito testing, public education activities and site inspections occur during the daytime hours between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Adulticiding applications via truck mounted sprayers and aircraft occur at dusk and approximately two to three hours after dusk. This is the period that mosquitoes are most active. The specific timing of this period varies depending on the time of year due to length of day and the implementation of daylight savings time. The nighttime spray truck fleet operates as many as seven days a week year-round but is most active between the months of April through October. Adulticiding applications do not occur during periods of high winds or rainfall.
Encephalitis (Disease) Surveillance
West Nile Virus and other encephalitis types are mosquito-borne diseases that pose a threat to all communities throughout the southeastern United States. Mosquito Control employs biologists whose sole responsibility is the detection and monitoring of disease carrying mosquitoes. These biologists work closely with state and local health officials and are providing valuable research data in the study of the encephalitis threat nationwide.
Weekly, Mosquito Control employs a combination of Gravid Traps1 and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Traps2 that trap mosquitoes that would most likely have the ability to transmit a mosquito-borne disease. The company uses these two different trap types since not all Vector mosquito species – mosquitoes that could potentially transmit disease – are captured by the same attractants. Gravid traps are traps that use an aged fish oil and hay infusion mixture to capture several septic water mosquito species that have already taken a blood meal, and as a result, would be more likely to test positive for a type of encephalitis.
Gravid traps tend to capture those mosquito species that have the potential to carry West Nile and St. Louis Encephalitis. CDC traps use carbon dioxide and a light bulb to attract mosquitoes that are searching for a blood meal. The carbon dioxide attractant mimics that expelled by a human or animal during respiration.
These traps collect a wide variety of mosquito species, including both vector and pest mosquito types. Like Gravid traps, CDC traps can also collect those mosquitoes that carry West Nile and St. Louis Encephalitis but tend to capture other mosquito species that can potentially carry diseases like Eastern Equine and California Encephalitis. After being collected by the traps, the mosquito samples are brought back to our laboratory, counted, sorted and either tested in house or sent to LSU for further testing.
Any positive result received from a mosquito sample or other animal sample initiates our state-approved virus response protocol which concentrates intensified mosquito abatement efforts on the area surrounding the positive sample. This increased activity includes:
- Door-to-door pamphlet distribution and public education in the immediate area of the positive sample.
- Intensified larval inspections, breeding site and drain treatments and reduction of mosquito breeding sites throughout the entire zone of the positive sample.
- Three nighttime spray truck applications of the immediate area and surrounding zone.
- Additional CDC Traps and Gravid Traps in the immediate area of the positive sample for mosquito population and disease activity evaluation following control procedures.
- Elevated abatement operations will continue until vector mosquito numbers fall below established threshold levels and all samples are determined to be negative for encephalitis.
Education is an integral part of the Mosquito Control program. Since government and mosquito abatement can’t do it alone, the company provides extensive and targeted public education programs. It offers presentations to civic groups and businesses, providing easy-to-read materials and PowerPoint presentations geared toward specific audiences. These presentations include useful tips such as preventing bites, eliminating mosquito breeding around the home and protecting yourself and family from encephalitis. When it comes to disease-carrying mosquitoes, education is vital. When a threat has been detected, teams go door-to-door with information to help residents better protect themselves. Mosquito Control produces fliers, press releases and other information that is disseminated to the public.
The company also works closely with local news media and government agencies to keep information updated and flowing. Keeping people aware and informed is very important in the battle against mosquito borne-diseases. Each year during the summer season, Mosquito Control prepares public service announcements for radio and/or television that inform the public of such things as mosquito borne diseases, avoidance of mosquito bites and elimination of mosquito breeding on their properties.