Vector Disease


Disease Spreading Tick: Ixodes scapularis [Quick Overview]

Posted by The VDCI Team on Jun 8, 2017 11:16:00 AM

Written By Emily Hibbard, Entomologist and Contract Supervisor

Have you heard several tick-related stories recently? Listened to predictions that we will see an increase in tick populations? Read an article on why we may be seeing a rise in Lyme disease? Watched a story about a new case of Powassan virus? A lot of information has surfaced on ticks in the last few year. While there are hundreds of species of ticks, there is one main culprit in spreading both of the above diseases to humans.

Female_Adult_Black-legged_deer_tick_Ixodes_scapularis_disease_testing-682083-edited.jpgIxodes scapularis, the black-legged tick or deer tick, is the main vector of Lyme disease and Powassan virus to humans. Black-legged ticks are born disease free, and it is during their first larval stage blood meal that the tick may acquire a disease from an infected host. White-footed mice and other small mammals are known in the Lyme disease cycle as the primary reservoir hosts carrying the disease and infecting the larval tick.
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Topics: Public Education, Integrated Tick Management (ITM)

Commercial Properties and Outdoor Employees: 4 Mosquito Management Tips

Posted by The VDCI Team on Apr 6, 2017 11:00:02 AM

Written By Kris New, Regional Director

Food Processing Facilities. Steel Mills. Paper Mills. Power Plants.

Commercial properties have many facilities that feed, power, and clothe the world. Often these locations are operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and can present employees with challenging working conditions indoors and outdoors. Mosquitoes do not have to be one of the daily challenges on commercial properties. By taking a few simple steps, employers can reduce concern for these pests both as a nuisance and their potential to spread vector-borne diseases.
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Topics: Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM), Public Education

Mosquito Surveillance Traps: Are They All The Same?

Posted by The VDCI Team on Feb 23, 2017 1:06:46 PM

Written By VDCI Team

Why are there several different types of mosquito surveillance traps? Most mosquitoes are attracted to light, right?

Yes, many mosquito species are attracted by light; however, some species, including the notorious Aedes aegypti, prefer to feed in the day and early evening. This blog will provide a brief overview of four mosquito surveillance traps, each with its advantages, depending upon what specific information is desired. Adult mosquito surveillance programs include the weekly trapping of adult mosquitoes by dividing an area such as a city, county, or industrial facility into control zones and utilizing traps that are most meaningful in each zone. Understanding a community’s environment and history, along with the implementation of the right trap(s), will provide a better picture of the mosquito species in a given area and if a potential disease threat exists.

BG-Sentinel Trap BG-Sentinel trap was designed with two specific mosquito species in mind, Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito) and Aedes aegypti (Yellow Fever mosquito). The two species are known to vector dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and yellow fever viruses and thrive in urban environments. Both species use natural and artificial containers for breeding, making them notoriously difficult to catch in significant numbers. The BG-Sentinel trap is made of a tarp like material, about the size of a 5-gallon bucket, and utilizes an attractant such as Octenol lure, human scent lure, or carbon dioxide (CO2). A funnel located at the top of the trap leads mosquitoes to an electric fan (outlet or battery powered) that pulls them into a collection net. The BG-Sentinel traps do well at catching the elusive Aedes species when placed in the proper areas and with the appropriate attractants.


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Topics: Surveillance and Disease Monitoring, Public Education

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

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. 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: Aedes sollicitans – the Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito

Posted by The VDCI Team on Apr 27, 2016 2:00:00 PM
Written By Michael “Doc” Weissmann, Ph.D., Chief Entomologist
Mosquitoes carry diseases that can kill people. We know that now. We didn’t always.

Aedes_sollicitans_Eastern_Saltmarsh_Mosquito.jpgToday, many mosquito control programs focus on reducing mosquito abundance because some species can vector life-threatening diseases. However, before making the connection between mosquitoes and disease, it was the nuisance biting that caught everyone’s attention. The Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito, Aedes sollicitans, was one of the first mosquitoes implicated in creating unbearable living conditions due to their nuisance biting, and one of the first species targeted in large-scale mosquito management programs.
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Topics: Public Education, Mosquito of the Month Series

Fight the Bite for a Bite: A Source Reduction Strategy

Posted by Daniel Markowski, Ph. D. on Dec 17, 2015 9:52:47 AM
Written By Kellie Lowery, Contract Supervisor
mosquitoesIn my local community of Ruston, Louisiana, my biggest concern as a mosquito biologist is not the Culex species that is associated with West Nile Virus (WNV), but the Aedes albopictus species of mosquitoes (and Aedes aegypti, which we no longer have in Ruston). I don’t want to downplay Culex species and the potentially deadly role they play in the transmission of many diseases, but I do want to make you aware of Aedes mosquitoes and how they are potentially life threatening as well. Dengue (den' gee) and Chikungunya (chik-en-gun-ye) are two of the newest mosquito-borne viruses to hit the United States, and they are vectored by mosquitoes we have right here in Ruston, LA.
I have been with VDCI since the start of our services in my hometown of Ruston, LA.  Part of my job is to track mosquito populations and species throughout the city.  While we have experienced some WNV, we have been able to locate most of the large source breeding spots of Culex and work with the City of Ruston to clean up and clean out these areas for permanent source reduction.  This has greatly increased our ability to manage the Culex populations in Ruston.  Credit goes to the City for their willingness to work with us on these types of projects, because unfortunately, most cities do not have the ability or desire to undertake such tasks.  While I have watched the Culex population dwindle in this area, I have also seen Aedes albopictus populations grow to large numbers.  Knowing that we have the vectors (mosquitoes that are competent in the transmission of a virus), we decided that we should do some proactive work in getting these mosquitoes to manageable numbers. 
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Topics: Public Education

Public Education 101

Posted by Daniel Markowski, Ph. D. on Oct 7, 2015 9:04:00 AM
Written By Cristina Flores, Regional Director
Public Education 1

Public education is an important part of a mosquito control program.  Mosquito control professionals can only do so much, and this is why they rely on a well-educated public in order to have a successful mosquito control program.  Educating the public allows citizens to:


1. Be a part of the mosquito control effort

2. Understand the mosquito control program 


1. Be a part of the mosquito control effort:

Mosquito control professionals create a partnership with local governments, schools, churches, and other entities to educate the public on mosquito biology.   The more the citizens know, the more information the citizens can provide their mosquito control departments or contractors to help identify active mosquito population areas.  Teams can be dispatched to perform surveillance or treatments as needed.


Also, there are many activities the public or homeowners can do on their own to reduce mosquito populations on their property.  Actions that can help limit mosquito breeding on private property can include:

  •          Dump standing water
  •          Eliminate areas that may collect standing water
  •          Aerate or circulate areas of stagnant water where possible
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Topics: Public Education