How Surveillance and Disease Testing Reduces the Threat of Mosquito-borne Diseases

CDCMosquito Mosquito Surveillance & Disease Testing Reduce Mosquito-borne Disease 5

How Surveillance and Disease Testing Reduces the Threat of Mosquito-borne Diseases


In order to execute a successful integrated mosquito management program, surveillance is key. Through surveillance, entomologists are able to identify species composition, population dynamics, and the threat of dangerous mosquito-borne diseases. This information helps decision-makers choose the most effective management approach to control mosquitoes and protect community members in their area.

Mosquito Surveillance & Disease Testing Reduce Mosquito-borne Disease 3Adult mosquito surveillance is conducted in areas that have historically produced mosquito populations of a nuisance and/or public health concern or in novel areas in response to natural disasters like flash floods and hurricanes. Adult surveillance is accomplished through the use of specialized traps that are strategically placed throughout a given area. Traps are selected and placed based on mosquito concentrations, activity periods, and habitat characteristics like climate, wind, weather, and time of year. 

Trapped mosquitoes are then taken back to a laboratory for scientific examination, which involves species identification and counting. While some areas are primarily impacted by a single mosquito species, others may be home to vast and diverse populations. Entomologists study physical markers like colors and patterns of scales, setea, spines, and other features to distinguish between the 175+ species found in North America. Examinations also include disease testing. Different mosquito species are known for carrying specific pathogens such as West Nile virus (WNv)MalariaEastern Equine EncephalitisDengue FeverYellow FeverZika Virus, and Chikungunya.

CDCMosquito Mosquito Surveillance & Disease Testing Reduce Mosquito-borne Disease 5

Armed with this knowledge, entomologists can determine the severity of an outbreak and respond with the most effective management solutions based on the habits and characteristics of the target species. Often, experts utilize either truck-mounted sprayers, drone technology, or aerial fleets to apply adulticides at the proper rate and product droplet size. During this process, GPS technology is used to ensure safe and even distribution across large areas.

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These mosquito elimination efforts are most effective when conducted as part of a customized Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program. IMM programs use a comprehensive toolbox of solutions to target mosquito populations and proactively prevent them. These programs typically require coordination between many different stakeholders, municipal entities, and public education providers. They may also evolve significantly over time in response to species population surges and possible insecticide resistance. 

Ultimately, no matter what kinds of challenges a community faces, consistent surveillance and disease monitoring serve as the foundation of their management efforts. Discover how our team can support an existing program or help you develop a custom program to meet your community’s needs by contacting our mosquito experts or calling us at 866.473.1753.

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VDCI_Logo_squareSince 1992, Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) has taken pride in providing municipalities, mosquito abatement districts, industrial sites, planned communities, homeowners associations, and golf courses with the tools they need to run effective mosquito control programs. We are determined to protect the public health of the communities in which we operate. Our mosquito control 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 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 mosquito management program, from surveillance to disease testing to aerial application in emergency situations.

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The Four Pillars of an Effective Mosquito Management Program

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The Four Pillars of an Effective Mosquito Management Program

VDCI_4PillarsIMM_Infographic_0221_REVMosquito bites are an unfortunate side effect of time spent outdoors. But in addition to being a nuisance, mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of many dangerous diseases including West Nile, Encephalitis, Zika, Malaria, and Yellow Fever. Because of these diseases, mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animal in the world. By understanding mosquito populations in your community, it is possible to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases and enhance the overall enjoyment of the great outdoors.

Mosquitoes are an age-old problem, but modern strategies and innovations have made it possible to curb local populations by safely targeting the insect at all life stages. This is important for mosquito abatement districts, municipalities, and county or state entities responsible for leading vector management programs. These efforts are supported by four interlocked pillars that comprise an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program: 

Surveillance & Disease Testing 

mosquito surveillance and testingThe more entomological experts can learn about population dynamics and species composition in a given area, the more efficiently they can target the problem at its source. Consistent surveillance and disease testing facilitate a greater understanding of the ever-changing challenges surrounding mosquito control, such as local population resistance and environmental considerations. GPS equipment and laboratory examinations by scientific experts play a critical role in data collection. This data is entered into proprietary databases for analysis, mapping, and reporting to local government agencies for coordinated management efforts.

Public Education

pubic education mosquito control helping the communityDespite the strategic and technological advances made in recent decades, mosquito control programs cannot be maximized without cooperation from the entire local community. Therefore, public education is an equally important pillar of an effective IMM plan. Depending on stakeholder goals, community education can be accomplished in a number of ways, including public education campaigns, the distribution of brochures or fact sheets, and partnership with the health department to encourage the use of repellents and protective clothing. When individuals take preventative steps to remove standing water from their property they can help community efforts. 

An integrated mosquito management approach often requires coordination between many different stakeholders and is most effective when rooted in the expertise of scientists and entomological experts. While mosquito control strategies and technologies continue to evolve, it’s important to remember that public education and surveillance will always go hand in hand with larval and adult mosquito control efforts. 

Larval Mosquito Control 

vdci mosquito surveillance Targeting mosquitoes before they become adults is essential for any good program. That’s where proactive ground services come into play. IMM professionals specialize in understanding and identifying environments that foster mosquito development, like ditches, ponds, and stormwater drains. This knowledge helps experts shape and implement custom solutions that target the unique area. These might include source reduction, habitat modification, the introduction of natural predators like mosquitofish, or the application of EPA-registered larvicides to achieve sustainable control from the ground or, for vast areas, from above using advanced aerial technology.

Adult Mosquito Control

aerial spraying mosquito controlAlthough surveillance and larviciding should be the first steps in any mosquito control program, the control of adult mosquito populations is a critical component of an integrated mosquito management effort. Utilizing either truck-mounted sprayers or aerial application equipment we are able to make highly-targeted applications to knockdown mosquitoes during their peak activity period. To ensure a successful application, advanced spray technologies must produce a proper product droplet size and utilize GPS technology to ensure safe and even distribution across large areas.


Hurricanes present several public health concerns, including a rapid surge in mosquito populations, which can disrupt recovery efforts and could lead to an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as the West Nile. In order to deal with this problem, aerial applications of insecticides over wide areas can provide relief to the impacted area, assisting in the recovery efforts.

Ways to Protect Your Home From Mosquitoes


While there are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, there are fewer than 200 species in the United States. Regardless of the number of species, mosquitoes play a significant role in how American communities and individuals enjoy outdoor activities. To what extent you’ll be affected depends on the climate, desirable habitat, and several other factors and variables unique to your region.Continue reading

2018 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Written by the Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) team


VDCI mosquito borne disease reporting mosquito management

Official reports on vector-borne diseases, severe weather, and changes in our climate were repeated in various media outlets last year. The attention brought heightened awareness to a number of disease-carrying pests, with a lot of the attention on – the mosquito. For this article, we will provide a brief overview of mosquito-borne disease reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018. We will also discuss lesser known mosquito-borne diseases, and the CDC report that highlighted an increase in vector-borne disease reporting over the last decade.

Vector-borne disease transmission cycles are complex. They involve a variety of interconnected environmental parameters – meaning that predicting where they will be prevalent in any given year is difficult. However, we will also briefly cover what is currently being reported in 2019.

Why Are Mosquitoes Crossing State Lines?

Written by Kelsey Renfro, Ecologist, Taxonomist, and Laboratory Manager in Colorado



Generally, in Colorado, we spend day after day digging through piles of Aedes vexans, Culex pipiens, Culex tarsalis, and several other common species. When it comes to adult mosquito surveillance, our Denver office alone sets and collects over 200 traps per week. It can get pretty exciting while sorting through a pile of mosquitoes, during your normal monotonous routine, when a specimen that doesn’t seem to belong appears under your microscope. After running the unique arthropod through a dichotomous key (an identification tool), the excitement is heightened when you realize you have found a mosquito species never previously recorded in your state! In a single season, our Denver lab identified three (3) species that lacked historical records in the state of Colorado. Needless to say, our team was intrigued by the new discoveries and took on the challenge to monitor their presence during the remainder of the season as well as throughout the next year.

The obvious question was, “Why are new species entering Colorado?” The state has seen a substantial increase in people moving in over the last decade. Could the influx of human residents be playing a role in the introduction of the 6-legged residents? Are changes by Mother Nature contributing to the mosquito species crossing state lines? Or a combination of the above?
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A New Dawn for Fighting Mosquito-Borne Diseases

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Over recent decades many mosquito-borne diseases have resurfaced or emerged and spread rapidly. From Zika, dengue to West Nile fever and chikungunya. Even malaria, which has had long-term global efforts to eradicate it has recently shown signs of increasing.

Many of these diseases have no specific treatment and the limited medicines available for some are facing resistance. Insecticides used to control mosquitoes are also facing resistance. On many fronts, innovations are urgently needed to control old diseases and prevent new ones from spreading.

Scientists in fields as diverse as biochemistry, genomics, entomology, computing, remote sensing, avionics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and aerospace engineering are combining their resources to develop new ways to fight diseases.

Here are a few examples of some recent scientific developments that are bringing a new dawn in the fight against the global threat of mosquito-borne diseases.Continue reading

Public Health: U.S. Mosquito-Borne Diseases [Quick Overview]

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There are really only two reasons to control mosquitoes; to avoid nuisance biting, and to preclude the spread of mosquito-borne disease. Everyone recognizes that mosquitoes can be a terrible blood feeding nuisance, but many people do not realize the magnitude of the health threat that they represent globally. Some of the world’s most deadly diseases are carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. It is estimated that up to a million people die every year from mosquito-borne illness with many countries around the world ravaged by malaria, yellow fever, and dengue-hemorrhagic fever. What is the history and what are the current local cases of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S.? Continue reading

Vector-Borne Disease Spotlight: Jamestown Canyon Virus

Written By Kris New, Regional Director for VDCI

What? There is another virus that can be transmitted by mosquitoes?!

Yes. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world, and Jamestown Canyon virus is another virus on the long list of diseases vectored by these arthropods.

What is interesting about Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), is that it behaves a little differently than a few of the viruses the public may be more familiar with. West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus rely on a reservoir host to perpetuate the virus, as the mosquito cannot pass it on to their offspring. With JCV, in addition to having reservoir hosts, such as deer, this virus can also have transovarian transmission, which means the parent arthropod (in this case a mosquito) can pass the disease pathogen to their offspring. This is not completely uncommon. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a vector-borne disease that is transmitted through an infected tick carrying the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. The bacterium can be transmitted to offspring in this way as well.

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Mosquito Control Services: Integrated Management Matters

bottles mosquito testing - lab - insecticide-2-integrated mosquito management

Written By Team VDCI



Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) is a term that everyone in the field of public health mosquito and vector-borne disease control is familiar with. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) defines IMM as, “a comprehensive mosquito prevention and control strategy that utilizes all available mosquito control methods, either singly or in combination, to exploit the known vulnerabilities of mosquitoes to reduce their numbers while maintaining a quality environment.” This definition describes what Integrated Mosquito Management is, but why is IMM the best practice for controlling mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases?

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Industry Partnerships: Opportunities to Learn and Grow

Written By The VDCI Team


The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) took place in Kansas City, MO. The Association’s president, Wayne Gale, brought attention to the meeting’s ability to bring together the industry to share experiences, discoveries, and challenges. A portion of AMCA’s mission highlights the goal to, “… provide leadership, information and education leading to the enhancement of health and quality of life through the suppression of mosquitoes.…”

VDCI is incredibly proud of the way our team continues to reinforce AMCA’s mission, with their dedication to expanding their knowledge of mosquito management by partnering with experts across the industry. It brings us joy to share a few examples, of collaboration and supporting the future of mosquito control, that were discussed or were on display during the 2018 Annual Meeting.
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