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Aerial Mosquito Management: Timing Control Efforts

Posted by The VDCI Team on Jul 3, 2017 12:17:38 PM

Written By Robbie Allen, Aviation Science - VDCI's Chief Pilot

For districts, counties, or municipalities, it can feel that when the mosquito season starts, the clock also starts. It won't be long before residents begin to contact local leaders to help reduce mosquito populations in their community. If a threat becomes too great, often aerial applications are conducted. The Mission: To reduce large nuisance populations and kill as many mosquitoes that could carry vector-borne diseases as possible. Timing during this mission is a top concern.

2500-acres-larvicide-e_laramie-WY-robbiea-250x166.jpgFrom the moment an aerial applicator wakes up in the morning, he or she is timing out the day. Whether larviciding or adulticiding, timing in Aerial Mosquito Control is an extremely critical component. Knowing the amount of time that is required to go through all the protocols, preflight the aircraft, and be able to hit the “spray on” switch at the exact specified time, to ensure a successful mission, can sometimes present its challenges – but must be accomplished.
 

ADULTICIDING: ON TIME AND ON TARGET 


Before an aerial operation can take place, there are significant factors that must coincide with timing. We have outlined a short list of protocols that must be followed while conducting an aerial adulticide mission.

 

Who, What, Where, When?


Culex_tarsalis_p_2Western_Encephalitis_Mosquito_250x166.jpgFirst, we need to determine what species we are trying to control. Different species of mosquitoes have different flight patterns and peak activity. Culex pipiens prefer to feed up to 2 hours after sunset compared to Cx. tarsalis (shown in image) who will only feed for up to 1 hour after sunset. Exact application time to target specific species is crucial. VDCI recommends the use of rotator traps to determine exact flight times of targeted species in a given area. Forethought on behalf of the beneficial insects needs to be considered as well. Next, a detailed map should be utilized to review the exact location that the application is desired. Then, both parties should review what product is being considered for application. Once the product is determined, aerial applicators will revisit their flight plan to ensure the mission dispenses the correct amount of chemical out of the aircraft as not to exceed the time allotment. Throughout the entire process, the mosquito control team should answer all questions, address all concerns, and maintain clear communication with the customer.

 

Contact Local Law Enforcement


Many application areas will require coordination with local law enforcement. When mosquito control aircraft fly over populated areas at 300 ft, the low flight path can generate additional phone calls into the police dispatch centers. Providing the local centers with advanced knowledge of a scheduled flight can help ease concerns of residents.

 

Contact Local Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Control Towers and Controlling Agencies


Communication with local aviation agencies is a very important aspect as well. Typically, a mission over congested areas also includes flying within FAA controlled airspace. Proper coordination prevents two aircraft from occupying the same airspace at the same time.

 

File a Notice to Airmen or NOTAM with the FAA


Filing an NOTAM will allow another pilot in the area, that may not be in contact with a control tower, to be aware of the area and altitude that local mosquito control will be conducting operations.

 

Weather Factors


washington-tri-cities-to-OR_kevinclare -250x166.jpg

 Anything from temperature inversions to gusty conditions must be factored into the timing of an application. Temperature inversions are common at night and seem to be most prominent right after sunset. Depending on the inversion level, it may require an altitude adjustment of the aircraft. Wind conditions and the tracking of storms must also be given attention. Will we be able to get the product out and to the target site before the wind increases or a thunderstorm starts? Or should we wait? Understanding the environmental conditions of an area is an important part of completing a successful mission.

 

LARVICIDING: BEST CONDITIONS, BEST RESULTS


Larvicidng, when compared to adulticiding, can offer applicators a little more breathing room throughout a mission. Instead of windows delegated by hours, an aerial applicator can have a few days. Even in the hottest days of summer, a successful mission can be spread over as many as 3 days to get the pesticide to the larvae and achieve desired results. This provides mosquito control pilots with more opportunities to make a precise application under the best conditions.


VDCI is committed to public education and spreading awareness throughout the U.S. about the dangers of mosquito-borne diseases and their preventability, with the overarching goal of reducing illness and fatality statistics. Our dedicated and experienced team works tirelessly to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in all of the contracts we service. If you would like more information about any aspect of an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program, including surveillance, disease testing, or adult control, please contact Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) at 800.413.4445, and we will help you get started immediately.

Contact Us

Robbie_Allen_VDCI_2016-150x181.jpgRobbie Allen is the Chief Pilot for Vector Disease Control International (VDCI). Robbie majored in Aviation Science while attending Utah Valley University located in Provo, Utah. He started his career learning to fly in the mountains of Colorado. To date, he has logged more than 5,000 hours piloting various types of aircraft. Robbie has obtained his Airline Transport Pilot rating, which is one of the highest certificates issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He can be reached through the VDCI website or by calling 800.413.4445.

 

 

Since 1992, Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) has taken pride in providing municipalities, mosquito abatement districts, military bases, industrial sites, planned communities, homeowners associations, and golf courses with the tools they need to run effective Integrated Tick and Mosquito Management programs. We are determined to protect the public health of the communities in which we operate. Our tick and mosquito management professionals have over 100 years of combined experience in the field of public health, specifically vector disease control. We strive to provide the most effective and scientifically sound mosquito surveillance and control programs possible based on an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approach recommended by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). VDCI is the only company in the country that can manage all aspects of an Integrated Tick and Mosquito Management program, from surveillance to disease testing to aerial applications in emergency response situations.

Topics: Aerial Applications, Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM)