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Municipal Mosquito Control: Answers To 7 Questions You Asked About

Posted by The VDCI Team on Feb 2, 2017 1:47:22 PM

Written By Kris New, Regional Director

VDCI team members are constantly in conversations with city, county, and parish officials as well as mosquito abatement districts who are interested in starting or upgrading their mosquito abatement programs. We field many questions, and some are really great! We would like to take the time to provide answers to a few of the questions that our professionals were asked over the past year.

municipal-meeting-mosquito-management-zika_hinds-county-MI-krisn.jpg1. Our community has conducted our own spraying for years. Why would we want to contract out our mosquito abatement program?

Mosquito control involves much more than using trucks to spray a community at night. Truck spraying should be the end result of a fully integrated approach to managing mosquitoes that includes public educationsource reductionsurveillance, larvicidingdisease testing, and adulticiding. VDCI can provide all of the above in a turn-key mosquito abatement program, freeing up your resources and lowering your liability.

2. I am aware that VDCI has airplanes. We have never conducted an aerial mission before. Why would we need it?

Aerial missions may not be a need in your community. Many mosquito control operations around the country use aerial applications, and for a good reason. With truck and foot missions, you can encounter limitations with road networks and the ability to safely access a given area. If some areas are not accessible, it can be challenging to ensure good control. VDCI's aircraft are equipped with industry-leading technology that assists in desired coverage for large and small target areas, often seeing as much as a 95% reduction in the mosquito population.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Public Education

2016 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Posted by The VDCI Team on Jan 12, 2017 10:25:33 AM

Written By VDCI Team

2016 was a year of intense scrutiny over vector-borne diseases due to the outbreak of Zika virus. The media coverage of Zika has overshadowed several other mosquito-borne diseases that remain a threat within the U.S. In this blog, we will cover three of the many diseases that were transmitted by mosquitoes in 2016: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and Zika. All of the information in this post was taken from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s data points and website as of 01/17/2017.

west-nile-virus-wnv-2016-incidence-cdc-map-united-states-01032017.jpgWest Nile Virus (WNV): WNV is the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the United States. WNV is typically transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have previously fed upon an infected bird. While over 150 species of mosquitoes have been known to carry WNV, the main vector species in the U.S. are Culex pipiens, Culex tarsalis, and Culex quinquefasciatus. These mosquitoes are all active at night, and most cases of infection occur during the summer months. Approximately 20% of people affected by WNV will experience flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, nausea, muscle pain, and swollen lymph glands. Other symptoms may include a stiff neck, rash, sleepiness or disorientation. Less than 1% of those infected will develop West Nile Encephalitis or Meningitis, which can lead to coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and even death.

As of January 17, 2017, 47 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2016. Overall, 2,038 cases of WNV were reported in humans, and there were 94 confirmed deaths (4.61%) in 2016. The total is a slight improvement from 2015, where there were 2,060 human cases and 119 confirmed deaths (5.8%). To learn more about the symptoms, treatment, and mosquito species that vector this virus, visit our educational page on West Nile virus.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Zika-Carrying Aedes Aegypti: Municipal Mosquito Control Solutions

Posted by The VDCI Team on Dec 29, 2016 4:21:57 PM

Written By Jason Williams, Texas Regional Director

Based on the spread of Zika virus in 2016, many municipalities are revisiting how they prepare for the 2017 mosquito season.

markets-served-vdci-municipal-mosquito-aedes-aegypti.jpgWe previously provided an overview on why Aedes aegypti is a species that is challenging the mosquito control industry. Because of these challenges, mosquito management experts continue to explore new methodologies to manage Aedes aegypti populations, with the goal always being to protect public health by providing the best solutions to the unique needs of communities.

Understanding If A Threat Exists: Surveillance, Monitoring, and Disease Testing

As discussed in our recent blogsurveillance and monitoring of Aedes aegypti require specialized trapping methods, and there are some proven models as well as novel trap designs that provide great insight into the presence and population density of a species within a given area. The discovery of Aedes aegypti in a community does not mean Zika is soon to follow. After identifying captured mosquitoes, the next step should be to conduct disease testing to determine if a threat exists within the community.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquito of the Month: Culex erraticus

Posted by The VDCI Team on Dec 14, 2016 1:04:57 PM

Written By Courtney Brown, Surveillance Technician

Continuing the theme of mosquitoes of diminutive stature, this month we focus on another small mosquito – the tiny and mighty Culex erraticus.

Culex_erraticus-Carpenter-and-Lacassee_1955_250.jpgIn contrast to the beautiful, benign Uranotaenia lowii of last month, Culex erraticus is dressed more plainly in rich chocolate brown from proboscis to toe with lighter tan banding on the abdomen. Their size is not to be underestimated; they come equipped with a long proboscis with the business end being swollen. Their bite is regarded as painful, with the added insult of being accompanied by a vector-borne disease at times. Even though sorting through great masses of tiny brown mosquitoes quickly becomes monotonous, these tiny mosquitoes are of great interest to mosquito management programs due to their appetite for birds, large hooved mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and humans.

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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Mosquito of the Month Series

Zika-Carrying Aedes Aegypti: Challenging Mosquito Management

Posted by The VDCI Team on Nov 30, 2016 12:39:07 PM

Written By Jason Williams, Texas Regional Director

We recently featured Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever Mosquito, in our Mosquito of the Month blog series. In the world of mosquito management, the species is challenging to beat – both as a topic of interest as well as a target with unique behaviors and habitats.

1_Aedes_aegypti_mosquito_eNews.jpgThe species has been the focus of much industry news this year because of its ability to transmit Zika virus, a new virus to the Western Hemisphere, that can have effects ranging from mild illness to severe birth defects. This mosquito, as well as many other mosquito species that can transmit human pathogens, has already had an enormous impact on human history. In addition to Zika virus, the Aedes aegypti is also known to carry several other mosquito-borne diseases that have potentially severe medical implications including, yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya. The increased awareness of the species, combined with 2016 Zika outbreaks and fears of an outbreak in areas where the species resides, have helped influence social behavior and have had an enormous impact on our global economy. The recent effects are most evident as communities try to determine how to properly fund Zika control efforts to protect their residents and individuals evaluate their family planning timeline and reconsider where and when they travel. With all that fear riding on those tiny wings, proper management of this challenging species and the pathogens it carries is obviously prudent.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquito of the Month: Uranotaenia lowii - the Pale-Footed Uranotaenia

Posted by The VDCI Team on Nov 17, 2016 1:06:03 PM

Written By Theodore Heron, Surveillance Technician

Beauty can be found in the smallest of things. Last month we focused on the largest mosquito, or “elephant mosquito,” Toxrhynchites rutilus. However this month, we are at the opposite end of the spectrum with the smallest mosquito —Uranotaenia lowii, also known as the pale-footed Uranotaenia.

http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/581508/Uranotaenia%20lowii_University-of-Florida.jpgMuch like its overly-sized relative, the pale-footed Uranotaenia has no interest in humans. This lack of interest, combined with its small size, leaves the species often unnoticed in mosquito management and surveillance programs. While the mosquitoes ignore humans, other living creatures aren’t as fortunate. The tiny mosquitoes get their blood-meals from reptiles and amphibians—mostly frogs. Throughout the world, amphibian populations are drastically declining, and many scientists believe habitat destruction and climate change are the primary culprits. Very little is known about how mosquitoes affect non-human species. So, this is entirely speculation, but vector-borne disease may be an additional contributor to this decline. Uranotaenia lowii resides within several pockets of the Western Hemisphere, including the U.S. Gulf states from Texas to Florida, and along the Atlantic seaboard, as far north as North Carolina.

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Topics: Mosquito of the Month Series

Understanding Biological Mosquito Control Agents

Posted by The VDCI Team on Oct 27, 2016 2:50:23 PM

Written By Tim Bennett, VP Western Operations and Cristina Flores, Regional Director

When most people think of mosquito abatement, they think of trucks or airplanes spraying insecticides to control the biting adult mosquitoes. However, what many don’t realize is that this spraying is just one part of any well managed mosquito control program. Scientifically-based modern mosquito abatement programs use what is called Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) to reduce their mosquito populations while minimizing negative effects on the environment. As the name implies, these programs integrate all available resources, such as larval and adult surveillance, disease testing, source reduction, public education and GIS mapping, in addition to pesticide applications, in order to provide the best mosquito control possible and protect the public health. One of the most important aspects of a complete IMM program is the use of biological control agents.

http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/581508/fathead-minnow-biological-mosquito-control-agent.jpgSo what are biological control agents? While they may sound intimidating, biological control agents are simply naturally occurring organisms, such as bacteria or predatory animals, which can be used by mosquito control professionals to reduce local mosquito populations. Biological control agents are often an important tool in mosquito control because, when used correctly, they are both environmentally friendly and highly effective.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Public Education

Mosquito of the Month: Toxorhynchites rutilus - the Elephant Mosquito

Posted by The VDCI Team on Oct 13, 2016 12:28:42 PM

Written By Michael “Doc” Weissmann, Ph.D., Chief Entomologist

“Massive” and “giant” are not terms most of our partners want to hear associated with insects, especially mosquitoes, in their community. Toxorhynchites rutilus is the largest mosquito in the USA. An adult female can have a wing span of nearly ½ inch, and if it sat on a quarter, the tips of their long legs could dangle off the edges. Yeah, I’d call that massive.

Toxorhynchites_rutilus_septentrionalis_DallasTX_JasonWilliams250.jpgBut fear not – these giant, day-flying mosquitoes do not need a blood meal to produce eggs, so they do not bite. Due to their lack of interest in taking a nibble, they are only caught in certain kinds of traps associated with mosquito surveillance, and cause little concern in the field of mosquito control. Both adult males and females feed exclusively on sugary substances – primarily flower nectar but also plant sap, honeydew, and juices from rotting fruit. They are sometimes called “elephant mosquitoes” due to their long, trunk-like proboscis that curves downward and is pointed at the tip to assist in sucking nectar from deep flowers. Since they don’t bite, they also don’t transmit any vector-borne diseases. Whew!

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Topics: Mosquito of the Month Series

Aerial Application Services for Effective Mosquito Management

Posted by The VDCI Team on Sep 26, 2016 2:32:32 PM

Written By VDCI Team

Awareness of aerial application has increased this summer with the threat of Zika virus and an elevated risk of West Nile virus transmission throughout many parts of the country. Aerial applications can be an important component of an integrated mosquito management (IMM) program and are most often performed when the risk of vector-borne disease transmission is elevated. As municipalities and mosquito abatement districts gain a better understanding of the specific disease risks in their communities, our team continues to stay on the cutting edge of technology, utilizing fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft for each specific job to effectively target larval and adult mosquitoes.

eNews_aerial_applications_September_2016.jpgAs the owner of the largest fleet of aircraft in the world dedicated specifically to mosquito control, VDCI has been on the front lines combatting both West Nile Virus and Zika all summer. Each contract that we serve has unique needs and our team considers several factors before conducting an aerial application, including the species of the mosquito, the need for larval and/or adult mosquito control, the size and type of area to be treated, and whether the use of an airplane (fixed wing) or helicopter (rotary wing) is optimal.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Aerial Applications

Mosquito of the Month: Aedes aegypti - the Yellow Fever Mosquito

Posted by The VDCI Team on Sep 15, 2016 9:30:03 AM

Written By Michael “Doc” Weissmann, Ph.D., Chief Entomologist

“Celebrity status” isn’t generally something bestowed upon an insect. And yet one mosquito, Aedes aegypti, has been a part of the Zika headlines almost daily for much of the last year, garnering nearly as much attention from the press as the presidential candidates during this election year.

http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/581508/Aedes_aegypti_250x250.jpgNo other mosquito species has had such a dramatic impact on human history. Also known as the Yellow Fever Mosquito, Aedes aegypti was the first mosquito implicated as a vector of human disease. Experiments in the 1880’s by Cuban physician, Carlos Finlay, demonstrated that when one of these mosquitoes took a blood meal from a patient with Yellow Fever, it could transmit the disease to a healthy person just a couple days later during a subsequent bite. Initially, few people – including members of the scientific community – took the idea seriously, finding it hard to believe that such a small insect could kill a full grown person. It took a couple of decades and many additional experiments to finally prove Finlay’s theory.

Today, many mosquito species have demonstrated the ability to be competent vectors of a variety of mosquito-borne diseases affecting not only humans but also many other animals. Aedes aegypti not only carries Yellow Fever, but is also a vector of West Nile virus, chikungunya, dengue, and more recently making the news as the primary vector of the Zika virus. While a vaccine exists now to protect us from Yellow Fever, vaccines for the other diseases are still under development and keeping a close eye on the Aedes aegypti species remains a top priority in many Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) programs.

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Topics: Mosquito of the Month Series