Introducing Drone Technology to Our Aerial Fleet

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Drones for Integrated Mosquito Management

VDCI is dedicated to leading the charge on innovations within the vector control industry. Dual-engine aircrafts, specialized GPS-monitoring systems, and cutting-edge surveillance technologies have remained a staple for our advanced treatment strategies and natural disaster response efforts. Now, VDCI is expanding capabilities with the use of aerial drone technology.

Why use drones?

Drones fulfill the growing need for mosquito management services in more compact or sensitive areas. VDCI’s drone fleet is designed with state-of-the-art equipment that lends speed, precision, and discretion to existing ground operations, particularly across dense, unstable terrain or ecologically protected habitats. These hard-to-reach spots can be inaccessible to teams in trucks or on foot, making mosquito control initiatives more tedious, dangerous, and costly. 

Drones fill the gap between ground and plane applications in these kinds of locations. This highly maneuverable technology uses GPS technology to access mapped target sites, and guide precision applications using a variety of products. 

Who operates the drones?

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In contrast to hobbyist drones, our unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are custom-built by Leading Edge Aerial Technologies, Inc. for commercial applications. Each drone exhibits a 6ft wingspan and is equipped with superior features that are operated remotely by a professional team.

Each drone pilot is licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and has extensive knowledge of airspace regulations, maintenance procedures, and emergency response. These experts are also experienced with superior drone programming techniques that facilitate up to 150 acres of product applications per day.

Are drones safe for mosquito control?

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Not only do drones help our ground application crews avoid navigating precarious locations like swamps and wetlands – which can be home to alligators, snakes, and other dangerous species – their rechargeable electric batteries can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These precautions and sustainable initiatives directly align with VDCI’s commitment to always protecting both the environment and our people. 

Additionally, drones are especially quiet and unobtrusive around residential spaces. They are configured with software that block filming, so homeowners can have peace of mind while mosquito management efforts take place nearby.

Another tool in our advanced toolbox:

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Drones are transforming the way we approach vector control programs, and the technology will continue to progress at a rapid rate. Nevertheless, drones are but one tool in our arsenal of advanced solutions that comprise an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program. A layered IMM approach that integrates a multitude of strategies will generate the most effective and long-lasting results for stakeholders.

Have more questions about drones for mosquito management?

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Contact Us to Learn More About Drone Technology for Mosquito Management

Government Partners in Mosquito and Tick ManagementSince 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.

The Four Pillars of an Effective Mosquito Management Program

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Building A Comprehensive Integrated Mosquito Management Program

Mosquito 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.

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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), or Integrated Pest Management (IPM), program:

Mosquito 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 mosquito 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 integrated mosquito 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 Integrated Mosquito Management program. 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 mosquito control technologies continue to evolve, it’s important to remember that public education and mosquito surveillance programs will always go hand in hand with larval and adult mosquito control programs. 

Larval Mosquito Control Programs

vdci mosquito surveillance Targeting mosquitoes before they become adults is essential for any good program. That’s where proactive ground services come into play. Integrated Mosquito Management 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 mosquito control from the ground or, for vast areas, from above using advanced aerial technology.

Adult Mosquito Control Programs

aerial spraying mosquito controlAlthough mosquito surveillance and larval control 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.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

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.

 

Contact Our Integrated Mosquito Management Experts

We are government partners in Integrated Mosquito Management. Complete the form below or call 800-413-4445 to learn how VDCI can help implement an Integrated Mosquito Management program or support an existing program in your community.

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VDCI_Logo_square Since 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.

Ways to Protect Your Home From Mosquitoes

Remove Mosquito Breeding Habitats & Use Personal Protection Strategies

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.

Some mosquitoes are a nuisance for leaving itchy, red, and bumpy bites on us while others are a carrier for disease pathogens, such as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), heartworm disease, Zika, and the #1 reported mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. – West Nile virus.If mosquitoes are a regular pest where you live, you’ll notice that they’re usually active at certain times. Although it always feels like they choose to invade during your barbecue with family and friends.

What Attracts Mosquitoes to Us?

The carbon dioxide we exhale, components of our perspiration, physical movement, and body warmth attract mosquitoes. Using their long antennae, palps (organs used for detecting scents) and eyes, female mosquitoes can find and pinpoint the location of a blood meal.

Why Do Female Mosquitoes Bite Us?

While both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar for nourishment and sustenance, only the females bite us for a blood meal. After mating, female mosquitoes need to produce eggs. It is from her blood meal that she gets the various proteins and nutrients required for to produce egg batches. A female mosquito will often bite multiple times to get enough blood for all the eggs she wants to lay. It’s during this feeding cycle that she can pass along disease pathogens to her animal or human host.

When Do Mosquitoes Bite Us?

The biting behavior of the mosquito depends on the species. Some species, such as those belonging to the Culex and Anopheles genera, are more active from dusk until dawn. Some species are active for very specific periods of time during those overnight hours. Other mosquito species, mostly belonging to the Aedes genus, are active biters during the day. This makes it important to consider mosquito prevention measures regardless of the time of day.

Where Are Mosquitoes Found?

Mosquito eggs and larvae

Mosquito eggs can be found at the edge of a water line or resting on the top of the water’s surface. Larvae hatch out and grow in these water sources, which can include water-collecting depressions, tire ruts, ditches, tree holes, and various artificial habitats created by people. These artificial habitats can include poorly maintained swimming pools, buckets and containers, playground equipment, clogged gutters, and even the catch trays of decorative planters.

Mosquito adults

During the day, most mosquitoes can be found resting in cool, shady areas, primarily in dense vegetation or animal burrows and other protected places. They can also be found resting on or inside of buildings.

What Can Homeowners Do to Reduce the Risk of Mosquito Bites?

Below are some tips to help reduce larval habitat and adult harborage areas, prevent mosquitoes from entering your property, and personal protection measures to consider when you are outdoors.

  • Keep grass cut and shrubbery trimmed near the house where adult mosquitoes may rest.
  • Water lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for more than five days.
  • Keep drains, ditches, and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water can flow properly.
  • Fill in, or drain, low spots (puddles, ruts, etc.) in the yard where water collects.
  • Fill in tree holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete.
  • Stock ornamental pools with surface feeding fish such as minnows and goldfish.

Monitor the Exterior of Your Residence

  • Clean debris from rain gutters to allow proper drainage.
  • Check around outdoor faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or puddles.
  • Check window and door screens to ensure they are in good condition and seal tightly.
  • Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks.

Tip and Toss Water in Utility and Decorative Containers

  • Ensure lids of trash and recycling containers are on properly to keep out rainwater.
  • Drill small holes in the bottom of these containers to prevent water from collecting if lids are unavailable.
  • Dispose of old tires, cans, buckets, bottles, or any other water-holding containers.
  • Change the water in pet bowls, birdbaths, watering troughs, plant pots or drip trays at least once per week.

Drain and Cover Outdoor Recreational Equipment and Children’s Toys

  • Canoes and Boats: Store small boats upside down. Cover large boats tightly.
  • Make sure that coverings (boats, pools, compost piles, etc.) are pulled tight and sloped to allow water to drain.
  • Empty plastic wading pools at least once per week and store indoors when not in use.
  • Make sure your backyard pool is properly cared for while away from the home.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings to allow any water to drain.

Mosquito Prevention Checklist: Follow the 4Ds

  • Use EPA-approved repellents on skin and clothing (always follow product label directions for use).
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants that are loose-fitting for extra protection.
  • If you are outdoors at dusk and dawn, when many mosquito species are most active, protect yourself.
  • Encourage friends, family, and neighbors to follow these recommendations also.
Watch the video below to learn more about The 4Ds

Understand Existing Mosquito Management Efforts in Your Community

Do you know if your community has an established mosquito management program?

There are many strong integrated mosquito management (IMM) programs across the United States! Check with your local government to learn more about the efforts taking place in your community. Program managers may be able to offer additional details on mosquito species in your community, inform you if disease activity exists, and provide you with mosquito management advice unique to your region. We’ve seen mosquito management programs work with individuals and community groups to organize trash or tire clean-ups, distribute mosquito-eating fish for backyard ponds, visit schools, and more to provide public education and mosquito management support to residents.

Mosquitoes don’t respect geographical boundaries – your mosquito problem can quickly become an issue for your neighbors. It’s important to remember it takes effort by everyone to monitor and reduce mosquito habitat.

If you would like more information about any aspect of an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) Plan, including mosquito surveillance, disease testing, adult control, aerial applications, resistance testing, or creating an emergency response plan (major flood event or disease outbreak) – please contact Vector Disease Control International (VDCI).

Contact Us to Learn More About Mosquito Management

VDCI_Logo_square Since 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.

Why Are Mosquitoes Crossing State Lines?

Discover the Changes In Mosquito Behaviors

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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Whether the species was a single specimen, only visiting for the season, or have established a new presence within the state – our team of mosquito detectives enjoyed monitoring the unique finds over the last two seasons. We hope you learn something new about each species as well as appreciate our team’s perspective on the potential reasons for each species to explore a new region of the country.


Species: Orthopodomyia signifera

Primary Territory: Eastern and Southern United States
2017 Colorado Location: South-Central Colorado

orthopodomyia_signifera_mosquito_microscope-300x200_denver-CO-kelseyrOr. signifera is a tree-hole species. The species prefers to utilize nature-made containers as their larval habitats – primarily tree holes. The discovery of the species (a single specimen) in the Colorado town of Pueblo was a surprise. The region is a desert environment that has historically lacked trees, except along the streams. These riparian areas (locations adjacent to rivers or streams) were either flooded away after the spring snowmelt, cut to be burned for fuel, or used as building materials, such that the trees never grew large enough to have hollows that could hold water.

During the 2017 season, we found the Or. signifera specimen along the Arkansas River where trees now grow. The river’s water levels are now controlled by upstream dams and diversion, therefore rarely flooding even during the spring snowmelt runoff, and they are no longer harvested for building materials or fuel. Today, trees in this area are encouraged to grow to maturity due to the changes humans have made to the environment. Therefore they provide the cracks and hollows Orthopodomyia require to reproduce. The 2017 discovery was a single record.

2018 Colorado Update: Unfortunately, we did not find any more specimens of this species during the 2018 season – which limits our ability to understand how or why the first specimen was located in the region. It could represent an accidental introduction of a stowaway mosquito, brought to the state by a human driving a car or truck from a more suitable southern location; however, this does not necessarily mean Or. signifera aren’t established here. Tree hole species are not usually collected in traps in high numbers. This could have been an isolated incident, but only time will tell.


Species: Culiseta minnesotae

Primary Territory: The northern United States, especially in the colder regions of the Midwest, and into the Canadian prairie.
2017 Colorado Location: North-Central Colorado

culiseta_minnesotae_mosquito_microscope-300x200_denver-CO-kelseyrWhile Colorado has suitable habitat for Culiseta minnesotae, the species has never been recorded in the state and is suspected to be adapted to a colder climate. Our team collected Cs. minnesotae in the City of Boulder within an open space that previously was a ranch. Colorado is way out of range for this species; in fact, this is the most southern location it has been recorded. This species is quite large and adapted for taking blood meals from larger mammals such as ungulates (which include deer as well as cattle and other livestock), so it makes sense to find it where horses used to reside. We’ve only collected it at one particular trap site. However, it was collected at this site multiple times during the 2017 season.

2018 Colorado Update: Our team did not find any Cs. minnesotae during the 2018 season. The 2017 population may have been an isolated introduction, perhaps brought to the former ranch location by a horse trailer from the north. However, collecting Cs. minnesotae for multiple consecutive weeks in 2017 does tell us this species can survive here, although it probably has not established a permanent population.


Species: Aedes sollicitans (Salt Marsh Mosquito)

Primary Territory: Along the Atlantic coast from northeastern Canada, south to Florida, and along the Gulf of Mexico to Texas.
2017 Colorado Location: Eastern Colorado

aedes_sollicitans _mosquito_microscope-300x200_denver-CO-kelseyrCoastal locations are common for Aedes sollicitans as the larvae live in brackish water. They can occur inland in isolated populations from somewhat saline waters created by other non-marine sources such as runoff from over-fertilization, roadside ditches where salt is used to melt ice, and wastewater from oil and gas wells.

Our team found Ae. sollicitans in half a dozen different traps from different parts of the eastern portion of the state in 2017. It looks like a more common species that live as larvae in flooded pastures, so a couple of things could be happening here. Perhaps it has always been here, and we have been misidentifying it as Aedes nigromaculis, a species that looks very similar to the untrained eye. However, being so far from the coast, that doesn’t explain where the larvae are living. For that, we look at the expansion of irrigated agriculture, roadside ditches, and oil and gas exploration. All of the traps that collected Ae. sollicitans are in close proximity to one or more of these kinds of human-altered habitats.

2018 Colorado Update:
Since the first Ae. sollicitans record was found in Colorado, we have collected many specimens for two consecutive seasons. It is likely established here, which is not surprising as this species is known to be moving inland for quite some time now. As our Chief Entomologist, Doc Weissmann mentions, in his Mosquito of the Month blog seriesAe. sollicitans in other parts of the country have been identified 30 to as far as 100 miles from their likely breeding habitats. This species is opportunistic. If the proper habitat and niche are provided in a new area – it will thrive. While we haven’t detected a disease threat in the samples collected in Colorado, this aggressive biting species has been identified in other areas of the country as a competent vector of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and dog heartworm.

photocollage_2019141231142The three (3) species discovered by the Denver lab made for an interesting 2017 season and kept our team intrigued throughout the 2018 season. As humans continue to alter habitat and make changes to the environment, we can expect to see more species establish in areas out of their known range, or at least make a brief appearance in the future. People will also continue to transport species from place to place. Transportation can occur with stowaways in a vehicle or hidden within products used for many trades. Some species have been known to lay their eggs on sod. The landscaping material gets wrapped up and shipped out to multiple states and simultaneously moves that species to a new area. Used tires have allowed the notorious Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito) and Aedes aegypti (Yellow Fever mosquito) to increase their range as tires are transported to recycling facilities across the country.

These are just a couple of examples of how our impact as humans expands the geographic range of mosquitoes. As mentioned with the Orthopodomyia signifera discovery – we may have isolated incidents, but only time will tell how much of an impact that humans, as well as naturally occurring environmental changes, will have on the creation of new mosquito habitats and territories.

Contact Us to Learn More About Effective Mosquito Management Strategies:

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.

Mosquitoes Playing Hard to Get? Consider Resistance Monitoring

Written By Kellie Nestrud, Biologist and Contract Manager in Louisiana

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There are several different components of a successful Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program. The consideration of chemical resistance in the local mosquito population is one of the components. Knowing, understanding, and monitoring for chemical resistance should begin as early as possible in an IMM program. It is recommended that all IMM programs monitor their mosquito populations for resistance at the beginning of a season and as often throughout the season as thought necessary. Resistance data is most valuable when collected over time to allow for comparison and monitoring of trends. There are many methods to monitor the effectiveness of an insecticide, and program managers may need to adjust their approach from season to season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines that a population of mosquitoes is considered to be resistant to an insecticide if a mortality rate is less than 90%. So how would one know if they are working with a population that has resistance?
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Life at the Lab Identifying Species and Disease Testing

Integrated Mosquito Management

As discussed in a previous Mosquito Surveillance blog post, a well-designed surveillance program provides important information necessary to guide a modern mosquito control program. However, trapping the mosquitoes is only the first step in surveillance. Once the mosquito specimens are collected, they must be processed in the laboratory.

Once the sample is euthanized, the mosquitoes are counted to determine how many were captured. If the trap count is very high, the numbers are estimated and only a sample is identified. How high is high? In locations without mosquito control and with good sources of water, nectar, blood-meals, and harborage, trap counts in the tens of thousands of mosquitoes in one night have been recorded, and not just in the tropics!

Many people are surprised to find out that there are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes  worldwide, of which at least 175 are recorded to occur in North America north of Mexico. It takes specialized training to learn how to distinguish one species from another, but accurate species identification is critically important to surveillance data’s value in mosquito control.

Just as with butterflies, adult mosquito bodies and wings (Anopheles quadrimaculatus – Common Malaria Mosquito pictured here) are usually covered with tiny scales that together create a variety of species-specific patterns. While most species have scales that are black, gray, brown, and white, there are some primarily tropical species, such as the Sabethes cyaneus – the Paddle-legged Beauty, that display iridescent blue, purple, green, silver, and gold colors as well, rivaling the butterflies for beauty, albeit at a more microscopic level. These patterns, along with the placement, presence, or absence of various sets of hairs and spines, are primarily what entomologists use to distinguish one species of mosquito from another. In some places, only one or two mosquito species dominate the trap sample, but in locations with a high diversity of habitat types, it is possible to find more than a dozen species in a single night’s trap collection.

setting-up-trap

Surveillance trap data is used to guide a mosquito control program by providing information about which species are present and how large their populations are. Since different species are adapted to different kinds of water bodies during the larval development, trap data tells us what kind of water source the mosquitoes are likely to have come from. This can tell us how good a job our field technicians are doing in their efforts to control the larvae. It may also indicate whether species found in the traps (and potentially biting the area citizens) are likely to be “fly-ins” that spent their larval stages in a location outside of our control area and then flew into town as adults in search of shade, nectar, and perhaps a blood meal. The trapping can also indicate whether or not there is a need for adult control (for example, ULV truck fogging), in most situations triggered by a pre-determined trap count threshold. Finally, in the case of vector species, surveillance traps can provide specimens that can be  tested for disease, and give an indication of real disease risk in the area surrounding the trap.

Trap data is also provided to our customers regularly as a way for them to monitor the progress of their mosquito control program, and to keep the citizens informed about the species activity in their area. Especially when high numbers of disease vector species are being encountered in the traps, customers may choose to increase educational communications regarding ways citizens can protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases. In many cases, weekly trap data is also shared with local and regional public health officials, and with the news media, in order to coordinate a rapid cooperative response, since an informed public can help reduce the incidence of disease significantly.

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 vector-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 surveillancedisease testing, larval control or adult control, please contact Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) at 800.413.4445. We will help provide you with details to begin a meaningful program to protect public health in your community.

Contact Us to Learn More About Effective Mosquito Prevention Strategies:

VDCI_Logo_square Since 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.

The Art of Hunting Mosquitoes

Integrated Mosquito Management: Surveillance

Adult mosquito surveillance is a critical component of the Integrated Pest Management method of controlling insect pests. In modern mosquito control programs, surveillance includes setting traps to monitor adult mosquito populations in a given area.

A good surveillance strategy includes choosing the right kind(s) of traps to use that meet the goals of the control program. For example, most female mosquitoes are attracted to carbon-dioxide given off by a breathing animal that would be a potential source for a blood-meal. A CObaited light trap utilizes dry ice or some other source of carbon-dioxide to mimic the breathing of an animal blood source, with a small light bulb to draw the mosquitoes close enough to the trap fan for capture. Egg-laying females of species that live as larvae in smaller, water-filled containers can be collected with Gravid Traps. These consist of a fan and net suspended above a container of “highly organic” water as bait (usually an infusion of fermented hay and other ingredients). 

Many mosquito species are attracted to light, and a New Jersey light trap draws them into a fan using a bright light as bait, but with the unfortunate side-effect of collecting many other species of flies, beetles, and moths that also come to lights – in some locations at certain times of year it can be quite a chore to pick through the non-mosquitoes that are also collected. Surveys for Aedes aegypti – the primary vector of Yellow Fever, Chikungunya, Dengue, Zika, and other viruses – and the related Asian Tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus) often utilize BG Sentinel traps and lethal ovitraps to attract egg-laying females of these “container-breeding” species.

Surveillance is only effective if the trap placement considers factors that can affect trapping success. For example, a light trap placed under a street lamp will not attract as many mosquitoes as one placed in a dark area. A carbon-dioxide baited trap will not work as well close to a livestock herd or other competing sources of CO2. Traps placed in highly visible areas could be subject to vandalism or theft in some neighborhoods. It is best to avoid locations that are exposed to wind, as most mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers and not as likely to be flying in a windy location. In arid environments, mosquitoes seek out harborage – a shady, relatively cool place where they can find shelter from the heat of the mid-day sun. In such areas, traps should be placed in harborage areas that are likely to be used by mosquitoes for daytime shelter, such that when they disperse in the evening, they might find the trap first before they find a person to bite.

person-hanging-trap-mosquito

It would be cost prohibitive to have a surveillance trap on every block, and the additional information gained would not necessarily be more useful than what we learn from the consistent sampling at carefully selected locations where we believe the mosquitoes to be most concentrated. However, since we do not have traps everywhere, a good surveillance program can benefit from citizen phone calls that report increased mosquito populations in those areas that are not directly adjacent to the trap sites. These mosquito complaint calls can supplement the trap information to help determine how extensively a population surge is distributed.

Finally, historical consistency is important to long-term surveillance. Whenever possible, the traps should be set at the same locations year after year to allow for comparisons from season to season. Mosquito abundance is a relative concept – what seems like a large trap number for a location may actually be a “normal” population for that area. Only long-term collecting data can provide information about what a typical trap count should be for a particular site during a particular time of the season.

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 vector-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 surveillancedisease testing, larval control or adult control, please contact Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) at 800.413.4445. We will help provide you with details to begin a meaningful program to protect public health in your community.

Contact Us to Learn More About Integrated Mosquito Management:

VDCI_Logo_square Since 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.

Mosquito Surveillance Traps: Are They All The Same?

mosquito traps

Exploring the Types of Mosquito Traps and How They Collect Data

Why are there several different types of mosquito surveillance traps? This blog will provide a brief overview of seven mosquito surveillance tools, 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.

CDC Light Trap

CDC light traps are an industry standard in adult mosquito surveillance. Developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, these portable traps are powered by a 6V battery with a motorized fan and a mosquito collection cup. CDC traps are portable and can be utilized in a variety of ways, but the most common model is accompanied by a small light and a carbon dioxide (CO2) bait source. The flow of CO2 emanating from the trap will lure adult mosquitoes by simulating the exhaled respiratory gasses of birds or mammals. Mosquitoes attracted to the trap are drawn in at the top and forced downward by the fan into the collection net where they cannot escape. Many mosquito species are active during the evening, and therefore CDC traps are typically deployed at dusk and collected after dawn the following day. The live-trapped mosquitoes can then be analyzed at the lab.

BG-Sentinel Trap

The 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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Larval Mosquito Habitats

mosquito-larvae-dip-cup

Managing Mosquitoes at the Larval Stage

Most people have heard the stories about mosquitoes being capable of using the tiniest amount of water as habitat in which to lay their eggs. There’s no doubt that many of these same people believe that such stories are often exaggerations because surely a mosquito would not really lay eggs in a bottle cap, right? Well, I can honestly say that I have seen exactly that, mosquito larvae wiggling around in a two-liter soda bottle’s lid, in a trash pile in Mississippi in 2004. No exaggeration, no embellishment, no joke.

Mosquitoes are easily some of the most adaptable and persistent animals on the planet. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, from the hottest deserts and rainforests to the icy tundra of the Arctic Circle. Essentially, if there is standing water with enough nutrients to sustain the development of their larvae, there is a good chance that mosquitoes will be there, and while some species have adapted to very specific larval habitats and environments, for others, almost any stagnant water will do. Thus, larval surveillance and habitat identification are key components of a successful integrated mosquito management program.

Larval mosquito habitats are generally divided into three types: permanent water, temporary floodwater, and containers. Permanent water sources are, as the name implies, bodies of water that remain for long periods of time, or even year-round. Such sources include lakes, rivers, ponds, water treatment facilities, swamps, and cattail marshes. Permanent water habitats are often large and can produce significant long-term mosquito populations. In the Unites States Culex tarsalis, a primary vector of West Nile virus, is an example of a permanent water mosquito of great importance to public health programs and abatement districts.

Although permanent water mosquitoes can cause persistent problems, it is often the temporary floodwater mosquitoes that emerge all at once in the greatest numbers. Temporary water sources are present for relatively short periods of time, usually occurring seasonally or after significant rainfall. These habitats include river floodplains, tidal salt marshes, snowmelt pools, irrigation water, and drainage ditches along with countless others. Species in the Aedes/Ochlerotatus genera are some of the most prevalent floodwater mosquitoes, often inundating towns and neighborhoods with huge populations of biting adult mosquitoes in municipalities without mosquito management programs.

Finally, some species of mosquitoes have adapted to habitats where they only lay eggs in either naturally occurring or artificial containers, such as treeholes, buckets, tires, planter trays, bird baths, and yes, even bottle caps! Aedes albopictus, the Asian Tiger mosquito, is the species I witnessed in the bottle cap in Mississippi all those years ago. The Asian Tiger mosquito can transmit Dengue fever, Chikungunya virus, and possibly Zika virus and is currently one of the species of greatest concern in the Caribbean islands and North, South, and Central America. This species is particularly troublesome to humans because it is often active during the day, frequently biting people as they go about their daily activities, work in their yards, or play outdoors.

Knowing what type of larval habitat individual mosquito species prefer is very important for mosquito abatement professionals. It allows people to target their larval control activities in the right area and not waste limited resources inspecting every possible habitat for the presence of mosquito larvae.

Contact Us to Learn More About Effective Mosquito Management Strategies:

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.

VDCI Assists CDC with Zika Virus in U.S. Territories

Protecting Public Health Worldwide

VDCI began a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April of 2016. The goal of the partnership is to assist U.S. Territories with public health efforts by defending the population against the threat of Zika. As part of the partnership, VDCI team members have been active in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Guam

Dr. Broox Boze, Operations Manager in Northern Colorado, discusses her work while in the Marshall Islands.

“The support from several public agencies as well as residents was immediate. Our team was able to review a course of action and quickly perform treatment applications. Residents prepared their homes for treatments in as little as 24 hours and churches offered to postpone services to help keep us on schedule. It was amazing to see the sense of urgency and duty illustrated towards keeping the island nation’s residents safe.”

marshall-islands-zika-response

The country has seen its residents fall ill to vector-borne diseases in the past. In 2011, a large dengue outbreak resulted in 867 laboratory-positive cases recorded. Last year, the islands reported over a thousand cases of chikungunya. Zika virus is the newest concern in the Marshall Islands, with the first local case recorded in February of this year. The tropical nation provides an ideal climate for the mosquito species Aedes ageypti and Aedes albopictus, with both species a concern in the fight against Zika.

Dr. Boze highlighted the need to focus on the habitats of the Aedes ageypti and Aedes albopictus, saying, “The species are container breeding, which is why we often discover larval habitats around homes as well as areas with large amounts of discarded waste. On this project, we found larvae in a range of receptacles, from coconut shells to car tires. Our team applied outdoor residual larvicide, with more time dedicated to areas of  high-density trash. An additional focus was provided to homes of pregnant women, schools, and churches.”

Along with treatment applications, public relations and education are an important part of VDCI’s community involvement. With a belief that an educated public is extremely beneficial to the successful implementation of an integrated mosquito management program. Dr. Boze reinforced this belief. “Our team provided Ministry of Health and Public Works employees with education in the field and the classroom as well as donated application equipment to aid in further management efforts,” she said, when discussing ways, the company ensured the community was provided with several tools to continue effective mosquito management.

Currently, another integrated mosquito management program is underway in Guam. The country is preparing for the Festival of the Pacific Arts, held every four years. Guam is the host country for 2016 and will welcome delegations from 27 Island Nations and Territories around the Pacific region. The VDCI and CDC partnership is working hard to ensure that the populations of several U.S. Territories are protected against vector-borne diseases during the large event.

Contact Us to Learn More About Effective Mosquito Management Strategies:

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.