Science & Safety

Without regular efforts to control pestiferous mosquitoes, cities like Charleston, Savannah, Atlantic City, Virginia Beach, Houston, Naples, New Orleans and most of our coastal areas of California, Florida, the Pacific Northwest, and even the Great Lakes Region would be very difficult to live in during the long mosquito season. Modern mosquito control efforts are based on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) or Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approaches to manage these dangerous and pesky winged insects. Control measures include: the reduction of mosquito development habitats (source reduction), the use of larvicides (mosquito larviciding) and adulticides (mosquito adulticiding), and public education.

Entomologists and biologists at local and county Mosquito Control Districts keep track of mosquito populations in their respective areas through trapping and surveillance. The changes in mosquito populations indicate where they need to place their resources in order to prevent disease transmission. The level of virus in the mosquito population is monitored through on-site work at the program level, or by sending mosquitoes to state epidemiology labs for evaluation.

Control efforts are always carefully planned. Products are carefully chosen for their ability to control the mosquitoes. Safety of the applicators and the public is the top priority. If pre-notifications to residents are required, these are distributed. The application of the control agent is completed and an assessment of the effectiveness is measured by comparing mosquito population counts before and after the application.

The work then shifts back to monitoring the mosquito populations, finding the sites where mosquito larvae are developing, working with the community to encourage their help, larviciding where possible, followed by mosquito adulticiding where and when necessary.