Mosquito Control Emergency Response Planning for 2024

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Emergency Response Mosquito Control Preparation

As we look toward 2024, the need for comprehensive emergency response planning has never been more critical. In an era marked by increasingly unpredictable natural disasters, from hurricanes and major flooding events to wildfires, preparedness has become the cornerstone of successful emergency response. For example, after a landfalling hurricane, mosquito populations can skyrocket due to extensive standing water left from flooding and warm temperatures. The planning process can be complex and must be tailored to the unique needs, budget, and location of the state or municipality to ensure government leaders can initiate a well-coordinated response when emergencies arise.

Early Stages of Emergency Planning

Effective emergency response planning starts with identifying key points of contact and securing funding sources. In this phase, various agencies at local and federal levels collaborate to establish a vital cohesive network of communication. Experienced vector control companies like VDCI can help facilitate this process by establishing effective communication protocols, and can also play a vital role in public awareness campaigns, educating the community, and supporting agencies in crisis management.

Action Thresholds and Predictive Science

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Establishing action thresholds is another crucial part of the planning process. By determining acceptable mosquito levels and specific markers to initiate intervention mosquito control strategies, stakeholders can help maximize and leverage funding, reduce unnecessary insecticide use, and prevent insecticide resistance.

In some cases, emergency response planning may also involve predictive science. Meteorological predictions based on forecasting and historical weather data can help professionals develop preemptive response strategies. This helps communities stay vigilant and prepared, particularly in anticipation of natural disasters.

Predictive Modeling and Regional Considerations

Experts may also use a methodological approach to forecast mosquito population dynamics and potential disease outbreaks. For example, predictive mosquito modeling has been used to accurately forecast St. Louis encephalitis outbreaks by evaluating precipitation, temperature, and bird migrations. Birds play a notable role in the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, and their nesting behaviors can influence the potential for disease outbreaks.

While coastal regions are frequently in the spotlight for hurricane preparedness, it’s crucial to recognize that emergency response plans should extend far beyond these areas. Inland regions are also vulnerable to natural disasters, making tailored plans for different scenarios essential. Heavy precipitation in California serves as a stark example. In 2023, the state experienced record-breaking rainfall, leading to fertile breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Adapting Plans for Various Regions

This showcases the far-reaching consequences of natural disasters and the need for adaptable plans to apply across different regions. Nonetheless, in most cases, emergency preparation involves detailed mapping of a region’s physical attributes to determine which areas are most susceptible to becoming mosquito breeding grounds and to identify potential accessibility challenges. Utilizing specialized traps, laboratory tests, and advanced technology like drones, experts can also monitor mosquito activity and population dynamics. This data informs decision-making during emergencies.

Equipment Preparedness and Post-Disaster Surveillance

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Additionally, storm progress will be closely monitored and all equipment, including trucks, aircraft, drones, and Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) pesticide applicators, will be maintained and prepared for deployment once authorization has been granted. Aircraft pilots can treat up to 30,000 acres in a single evening, and ground crews can cover approximately 3,000 acres in areas where aerial applications may not be suitable, such as ecologically sensitive habitats or residential communities.

Once emergency conditions have subsided, professionals will resume mosquito surveillance and laboratory analyses to confirm that mosquito populations have been effectively managed – with the ultimate goal of safeguarding the public and supporting relief workers as they work to restore power, clean roads, manage flooding, repair infrastructure, and aid injured and displaced citizens. The collected data is then shared with relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure that all objectives are achieved.

Be Proactive and Prepared with An Emergency Response Plan

As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, it’s important to remember that natural disasters and disease outbreaks are bound by few geographical boundaries. This reinforces the need for proactive planning through communication, forecasting, and data collection. If your community does not have an emergency response plan in place, contact us to learn how VDCI can help you prepare for the unexpected.

Contact Us to Build Your Mosquito Management Program:

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.

Grasping the Concept of Action Thresholds in Mosquito Control

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Understanding Action Thresholds in Mosquito Management

Mosquitoes are a nuisance and one of the leading vectors of deadly diseases. EPA-registered insecticides are an effective and essential tool as part of an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program and used to combat mosquito populations, but they can be affected by limitations connected to budget constraints, environmental conditions, and insecticide resistance. Mosquito control professionals use action thresholds to meet the management goals of communities and maximize the impact of insecticides when and where they are needed. An action threshold refers to a predetermined level of mosquito, abundance, activity, or disease risk that, when reached, initiates carefully designed intervention procedures. Determining and understanding these action thresholds is crucial to ensure the success of management efforts and efficient collaboration between government entities, public health organizations, and local leaders. 

Surveillance data play a crucial role in establishing appropriate action thresholds. Data can be collected and analyzed over time to identify trends and potential challenges, allowing experts to evaluate real-time threat levels.

Mosquito Trapping: Techniques and Tools Used by Experts

Trapping adult mosquitoes is an instrumental part of the process. Experts may utilize a variety of traps, including CDC Light Traps, Gravid Traps, BG-Sentinel Traps, and others, depending on the behavior and reproductive methods of target mosquito species.

Mosquito Lab Analysis: Disease ID and Resistance Testing

Adult species are then brought to a professional laboratory for counting, disease identification, and insecticide resistance testing using CDC Bottle Bioassays.

Larval Monitoring: Data-Driven Decisions in Management

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Surveillance also involves larval habitat monitoring and insecticide resistance testing using Larval Cup Bioassays. This data-driven approach helps stakeholders make more informed decisions when setting action thresholds and selecting appropriate management strategies.

How Are Action Thresholds Determined?

As part of an IMM program, professionals monitor mosquito populations, species types, and the presence of disease in the area. Action thresholds serve as guidelines that dictate when and how interventions should be initiated. Thresholds are typically tailored to the objectives of the municipality or mosquito abatement district, but often center around mosquito population numbers or disease concentrations. They can also be adjusted over time based on goals, budget, or other factors. This flexibility helps ensure that management solutions remain effective over time.

Once the predetermined action threshold is met, stakeholders will initiate management efforts. This may involve insecticide applications via Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) sprayers from trucks or backpacks, or from drones and aircraft. If any diseases are identified through laboratory testing, this will be communicated to the public as well as part of the management program. Informing the public about the advantages of professional mosquito control, the importance of personal protective measures, and their role in preventing mosquitoes – such as eliminating sources of standing water – is crucial for the long-term results of management programs.

Assessing Mosquito Management Efforts with VDCI Data

Just as data collection is an essential part of establishing action thresholds, post-application assessments are necessary to evaluate the success of management efforts and determine if further action should be taken. This data may also be used to adjust action thresholds for future events. When partnering with VDCI, stakeholders can access real-time and historical data through VDCI’s proprietary database.

Action thresholds are at the core of successful mosquito management programs. By establishing appropriate thresholds based on population data or disease concentrations, and adapting them over time, stakeholders can limit insecticide resistance, optimize funds and resources, and ensure consistent communication across agencies and organizations.

Contact Us to Build Your Mosquito Management Program:

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.

3 Essential Facts to Understand About Mosquitoes Post-Hurricane

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What You Need to Know About Mosquitoes After a Storm

Storms and hurricanes leave a trail of destruction in their wake, and communities look to government leaders to guide them through the recovery process. Unfortunately, many leaders overlook the impact of mosquitoes during this critical period. In order to enhance preparedness and ensure the safety of their citizens, it is crucial for government leaders to be aware of three key facts about mosquitoes. By understanding these facts, leaders can be better equipped to protect citizens and ensure a swift and efficient recovery process.

There Will Be a Lot of Mosquitoes

Following a storm, exponential mosquito population growth can be expected. It’s not uncommon for the air to become so thick with mosquitoes that it is nearly impossible for recovery workers, medical teams, and volunteers to stay outside, slowing the restoration of power lines, roads, and infrastructure. Dense swarms can also create added stress for people displaced from their homes or living in temporary tents or shelters. Multiple genera may be present, including Aedes and Culex mosquitoes.

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Mosquitoes Can Hatch in Several Ways

Mosquitoes reproduce in warm, wet habitats. Storms and hurricanes can create these ideal environmental conditions across entire regions. Floodwater mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, and Aedes vexans lay their eggs in the soil prior to a storm. Standing water mosquitoes such as Culex pipiens and Culex tarsalis lay their eggs directly on the surface of water that has pooled in ditches, trash, debris, and outdoor objects like tarps, buckets, flower pots, and playground equipment.

The Threat of Disease is Not Imminent….But

While the threat of disease transmission may not be imminent, mosquitoes can significantly impede recovery efforts. And if management strategies are not implemented swiftly, it is possible for mosquitoes to begin spreading diseases in the weeks to months following the storm. Standing water Culex species, in particular, are a primary vector for West Nile virus (WNv) and Encephalitis. Floodwater Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are known to spread Dengue, and Aedes vexans can transmit heartworm to pets.

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Managing the threat

It’s easy to get caught up dealing with the most urgent safety and recovery needs following a storm, but the threat of mosquitoes must not be overlooked. Despite the unpredictable nature of natural disasters, government leaders have the ability to control mosquito surges through proactive planning. 

Through an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program, community leaders and decision makers can create contingency plans with the support of companies like VDCI. This involves coordinating with key stakeholders and organizations to develop strategies that can be set in motion as soon as a storm is identified, helping to ensure efficient communication, access to FEMA funding, and rapid response. 

During rapid response missions, aerial fleets and ground crews are deployed to apply EPA-registered insecticides, ensuring comprehensive coverage across the region. In order to evaluate the success of these mosquito control efforts, trapping and disease testing information is collected over the following days and weeks, and compared to pre-storm data. 

Understanding the impact of mosquitoes after a hurricane is vital for government officials and community leaders. By being aware of the exponential growth in mosquito populations, the various ways mosquitoes hatch, and future disease threats, leaders can take proactive steps to manage and mitigate them before they get out of control. VDCI is committed to supporting officials throughout every step of the process, so they can focus on restoring safety and infrastructure in their communities. 

Contact Us to Build Your Emergency Response Plan:

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.

Mosquito-Borne Disease Outbreaks: Ensure Eligibility for Federal Funding

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Your Guide to Prepare for a Mosquito-Borne Disease Outbreak

Mosquito-related emergencies can instill fear in the public and pose challenges for community leaders. Understanding the different types of emergencies and how to prepare for each one empowers communities to take timely action when they arise. 

There are two main types of public health emergencies related to mosquitoes: those influenced by weather and those connected to an increased risk of disease transmission. Weather-related emergencies happen when environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and rainfall patterns lead to a rise in mosquito populations or changes in the types of mosquitoes present. The second type occurs when there is a higher prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases caused by either existing or newly introduced species or arboviruses. When the number of infected mosquitoes rises significantly or when cases of human disease surge, public health experts may announce a state of emergency, as they did for the Zika outbreak in 2016.  

The Process of Declaring Mosquito-Related Public Health Emergencies: Protocols, Verification, and Response Initiatives

Mosquito-related public health emergencies are declared through specific processes. A written request can be made by a public health official to their state’s Governor or Tribal Chief Executive, who then asks the President to declare an emergency or major disaster. The declaration requires data confirming the existence of a mosquito-related public health threat, which is verified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Once declared, mosquito abatement operations can be initiated in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws.

Multiple agencies collaborate throughout this process. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) leads the federal response and coordinates reimbursement for recovery initiatives. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ensures compliance for aircraft and drones used to apply EPA-registered pesticides, and the U.S. Air Force, under the Department of Defense, can aid in applications if local mosquito control districts and private contract services require additional support. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors the well-being of humans, wildlife, and sensitive environments in the targeted treatment areas.

10 Essential Steps for Effective Preparation in Mosquito-Borne Disease Outbreak Emergencies

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Effective management of mosquito-related public health emergencies relies on thorough preparation. Waiting until after a crisis is declared to determine a course of action can impede decision-making and delay recovery efforts. It is crucial to have comprehensive procedures in place that govern product types, equipment, and communication channels while taking into account financial obligations and unexpected challenges. By coordinating ahead of time, efficient and unbiased action can be taken as soon as a public health emergency is declared. Here are 10 steps to prepare for a mosquito-borne disease outbreak:

1. Create a plan

Time plays a central role following the declaration of a public health emergency. Having a clear action plan in place allows government leaders to respond quickly and direct their focus on other immediate responsibilities. Regular plan evaluations and exercises can help ensure its efficacy and allow for updates and improvements.

2. Dedicate a budget

Allocating funds for mosquito control emergencies is crucial as they can be extremely costly. There are systems in place at federal, state, and local levels to assist with expenses, but cost-sharing agreements are often required and funds may be denied. A budget should account for potential expenses associated with surveillance, mapping, applications, staff overtime, and other unexpected costs. Estimating a sufficient budget for pesticide application often involves creating maps, identifying high-density areas, and estimating specific costs per acre.

3. Negotiate contracts and cooperative agreements

Securing contracts before a mosquito-borne disease outbreak emergency saves time and eliminates the guesswork. It ensures that the necessary resources will be available, particularly if critical infrastructure is affected. Pre-negotiated contracts streamline the process and save money by fixing prices and designating responsibilities and communication channels. 

4. Choose mosquito control products

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To be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, the adulticide formulations that are used for public health emergencies must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and applied by licensed applicators in accordance with all regulations. When choosing products, consider factors like availability, active ingredients, efficacy data, formulation, application methods, and application rates. These considerations will help you make informed decisions and ensure your mosquito abatement efforts meet federal requirements.

5. Create maps

An essential part of the planning process is creating maps that will direct adulticide applications. Working with authorities in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can help government leaders design spray maps that identify areas with high population density and favorable mosquito habitats, and designate no-spray zones, such as areas with endangered species, organic farms, and apiaries.

6. Generate baseline surveillance data

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Reimbursement for emergency mosquito control often requires data to validate emergency conditions. Regular data collection does not have to be costly or complex; even communities with limited bandwidth can gather basic data. Setting up a single CDC Light Trap and recording mosquito population data on a weekly basis can provide sufficient baseline information.

7. Establish action thresholds

During the planning process, it’s important to establish thresholds that signal a public health emergency. After a natural disaster, responders can gather data from mosquito traps or measure landing rates and compare them to baseline information. However, determining a public health emergency caused by mosquito-borne diseases is more complex. Local jurisdictions should establish their own thresholds, considering different species and habitats. This tailored approach ensures effective response measures for specific situations.

8. Cultivate relationships

 Nurturing connections is vital to ensure seamless coordination during public health emergencies. Foster strong relationships with government agencies and political leaders by engaging in regular discussions and facility tours. Regularly conducting drills and simulated scenarios as part of an annual review process can strengthen communication and improve preparedness for all stakeholders.

9. Draft communication templates

Clear, timely communication is crucial during emergencies, and it requires careful planning. To expedite the dissemination of vital information, it’s helpful to have pre-written templates for various communication needs. Public health experts can collaborate with their Public Information Officer or community engagement teams to develop impactful information. When creating a message, it’s important to consider the target audience, communication channels, and the intended message.

10. Ensure regulatory compliance

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By staying on top of regulatory obligations, decision makers can ensure that emergency operations meet all necessary standards. As part of the preparation process, it’s essential to confirm that personnel have the correct licenses and permits for pesticide use and the operation of equipment. While there are exemptions that allow treatments during a public health emergency without prior approvals, paperwork must still be submitted retroactively. 

Integrated Mosquito Management: Empowering Government Leaders with Proactive Planning and Effective Control Strategies

Through an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) Program, mosquito control experts at VDCI can support government leaders with proactive planning, and continuously monitor mosquito population dynamics, insecticide resistance, and the presence of disease. Mapping and surveillance data provides real-time insights that are reported to government leaders via a proprietary database, allowing for more informed decision making about where, when, and how to target control efforts – before an outbreak reaches emergency status. 

Ongoing coordination with government leaders and organizations also includes public education. Involving residents and stakeholders raises awareness about mosquito risks and the need for personal protection. Community engagement also promotes cooperation in eliminating breeding sites and other preventive measures. 

Understanding and preparing for mosquito-related emergencies empowers government leaders to take timely action. By implementing comprehensive plans, allocating budgets, gathering baseline data, establishing action thresholds – and much more – government leaders can help their communities recover rapidly in the event of a disease outbreak. 

Contact Us to Build Your Emergency Response Plan:

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.

Mosquito Natural Disaster Response: Are You Prepared for the Big Storm?

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Severe weather can be devastating to our communities, bringing heavy rain and flooding, damaging infrastructure, displacing people from their homes, and creating conditions that promote overwhelming mosquito populations. Luckily, it is possible for communities to prepare mosquito management plans ahead of time, so they can be put into action as soon as an incoming disaster is detected.

Following a major storm, mosquito problems develop in a few ways. When flooding occurs, mosquito eggs previously laid by floodwater mosquitoes in moist soil areas will begin to hatch, resulting in abundant populations. Additionally, container-breeding mosquitoes, which reproduce in standing water that has pooled in outdoor containers and debris, will hatch and begin searching for a blood meal. 

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Abundant mosquito populations can force crews and volunteers indoors, potentially slowing debris removal, power restoration, and medical aid. Though many species that appear after storms don’t pose an immediate disease threat, several can become vectors of disease if left unchecked. Culex mosquitoes are a primary vector of West Nile Virus. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are known to spread Dengue, and Aedes vexans can transmit heartworm to pets.

After a storm, communities must act quickly in order to keep mosquito problems from getting out of control. However, these efforts require a great deal of coordination between community leaders, public health organizations, and government agencies. Inefficient communication can waste valuable time and pull attention away from other urgent recovery obligations. Stakeholders can prepare by partnering with a mosquito management company to develop emergency response contingency plans.

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By partnering with a mosquito management company with a mission to protect public health, communities can ensure the prompt execution of mosquito control measures. Effective response programs begin with pre-mission surveillance to gather information about local mosquito species, population dynamics, and the presence of disease. Prior to the storm, ground crews and pilots will map the physical characteristics of the region, identifying areas that may pose accessibility issues, contain endangered species, or be most vulnerable to flooding. 

Your mosquito management partner can also provide guidance on accessing FEMA funds. Districts seeking federal aid for mosquito control need to demonstrate the necessity of post-storm mosquito suppression. Having a comprehensive mosquito abatement program in place before the disaster strikes increases the chances of receiving this funding. Districts that collect baseline data through regular trapping and testing can more easily demonstrate an increase in mosquito populations and justify the use of funds.

Public education is another essential component of storm preparation. Community members can help support mosquito control measures by ensuring water can flow or drain properly when the time comes. This includes removing vegetation, debris, and other blockages from storm drains and gutters, bringing containers such as buckets, wheelbarrows, pet bowls, kiddie pools, and potted plants indoors, and filling in potholes and low spots that are prone to water collection. Eliminating sources of standing water will help reduce available breeding grounds for mosquitoes after the storm.

Public education also includes distributing tips for personal protection from mosquitoes. For outdoor recovery efforts, community members should be prepared to wear light-colored long sleeves and pants, and an EPA-registered insect repellent. VDCI can aid local organizations and media groups in disseminating this important information and keep the public informed throughout the recovery period. 

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Navigating post-storm recovery efforts can be challenging and taxing on an entire community. In the face of structural devastation and medical emergencies, mosquito management can become an afterthought. VDCI is committed to helping officials design contingency plans so that they can competently manage recovery efforts during these times of fear and uncertainty. Over the last 25 years, we have led 17 major emergency response missions, most recently following Hurricane Ian, a category 5 disaster in Southwest Florida in 2022.  

Does your community have an emergency response contingency plan in place for mosquito control? If not, contact us today to learn how we can help you prepare for the unexpected.

Contact Us to Build Your Emergency Response Plan:

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.