Strategy

It is important to understand that the goal of any mosquito abatement program is not to eliminate mosquitoes, but to control them to the point where the risk of human disease is minimized and people can greater enjoy outdoor activities.
 
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(courtesy:CDC-James Gathany) Captured at the water’s surface, as this soon-to-be adult Anopheles sp. mosquito was about to begin its life as a winged warrior. Emerging from its pupal exoskeleton, if this was a female mosquito, she would quickly assume her role as a malarial vector.
 
The Tangipahoa Mosquito Abatement District uses an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approach. IMM is an approach that utilizes knowledge of the mosquito’s biology and life cycle, and its relationship in the environment (bionomics). This knowledge allows us to target multiple stages in the mosquito life cycle.

IMM is comprised of five major components: education, surveillance, chemical and microbial control, physical control, and biological control.

Education

The primary focus of this component is to educate the public on the importance of eliminating standing water and water-holding container around their home. This is accomplished through our public information and outreach campaigns. Also stressed is the importance of avoiding mosquitoes—through such techniques as wearing repellents, wearing clothing that covers arms and legs, and going inside when possible during times of peak mosquito activity (primarily dusk and dawn).

Surveillance

Mosquito surveillance is used to determine the level of mosquito activity at a given time, and whether that level is greater than the threshold which would indicate that treatment is necessary. This surveillance is performed in standing water to determine whether mosquito larvae are present, and in what quantities. Several types of traps are used to capture adult mosquitoes as well. The mosquitoes, which are caught in these traps, are sorted by species and counted. Many of these mosquitoes will also be tested for the presence of mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Chemical and Microbial Control

Mosquito larvae are very susceptible to chemical and microbial control materials, and, as such, are a primary focus of our control efforts. The materials available for controlling the immature stages of the mosquito are the most varied and target specific items at our disposal. Additionally, since larvae are in a defined, contained space, treating those areas is the most environmentally friendly control method.

Since it is impossible to treat all standing water in an area, control of adult flying mosquitoes is necessary when surveillance dictates. Control of adult mosquitoes is accomplished by ground-based Ultra-Low-Volume (ULV) spray equipment, or by aerial ULV spray applications. The ground-based ULV applications are performed by sprayers that are either hand-held, or larger rigs which are mounted in truck or ATVs.

Physical Control

Physical control is primarily the elimination of mosquito-breeding habitat. This can mean filling in or draining low spots, or something as simple as removing containers. Removing, or regularly emptying, containers is the best way for homeowners to control the number of mosquitoes produced in their yards.

Biological Control

This is the use of living organisms to control mosquitoes. The mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) actively consumes many mosquito larvae, and is frequently used as a biological control.