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Surveillance is the cornerstone of a quality Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) or Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. SCCMAD is experienced in all methods of larval and adult mosquito surveillance and identification. Larval surveillance allows us to identify and treat breeding sites, often eliminating the problem before adult mosquitoes appear. Adult surveillance is the process of understanding how the population and its distribution of the adult mosquitoes are in a given area. This is a critical factor in determining how to control mosquitoes and whether there is a disease risk in the community.

Community Water Sources and Larval Surveillance

Water sources within a community can provide breeding sites for mosquitoes. Depending on the species, larval habitats can be discovered in the stagnant water at a local pond, faulty drainage sites by main roads, or discarded tires at the back of a local business or home. By inspecting breeding sites and providing knowledge to decision makers, SCCMAD can determine if targeted action should be considered. Once a target need is determined, our team provides mapping and reports to capture source reduction as well as control efforts completed.

Collecting Mosquitoes and Adult Surveillance

Adult surveillance includes the weekly trapping of adult mosquitoes within different areas of our community. There are several types of adult mosquito traps used in effective mosquito surveillance programs, each with its own advantages, depending upon what specific information is desired.

  • New Jersey Light Trap: The New Jersey light trap is a generalized adult mosquito trap that is designed to capture a broad spectrum of mosquito species. This particular mosquito collection device is meant for a more permanent trap location as it needs to be firmly mounted about 5-6 feet above the ground and powered by an outlet. Nuisance mosquito control programs in particular may benefit from having a well-placed New Jersey light trap.
  • CDC Light Trap: CDC light traps are an industry standard in adult mosquito surveillance. 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 gases of birds or mammals.
  • Gravid Trap: Gravid traps are designed to catch Culex species, such as Culex Tarsalis or Culex Pipiens, that are capable of transmitting West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and both Western and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Culex mosquitoes are attracted to the trap by the stagnant water placed under a battery powered fan which blows mosquitoes into a collection container. The water contains a solution of organic material, often grass or hay, that has been left to sit for several days or longer and serves as an attractant to the Culex species by mimicking naturally occurring stagnant water.
  • BG-Sentinel Trap: The BG-Sentinel trap was designed with two specific mosquito species in mind, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. The two species are known to vector dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, and Yellow Fever viruses that can 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. A funnel located at the top of the trap leads mosquitoes to an electric fan that pulls them into a collection net.

Counting and Identification of Adult Mosquitoes

The successful collection of adult mosquitoes provides insight into population levels as well as allows our team to properly identify the species in a given area. Correctly identifying species and having knowledge of their bionomics provides insight into desired breeding habitats, active periods during the day/night, host preferences and maybe most importantly, which mosquito-borne diseases they can transmit. Additionally, understanding population levels can determine the severity of a nuisance mosquito outbreak. Collection, counting, and identification all aid in determining which abatement solutions should be employed to reduce the health risk to a community.

Disease Monitoring and Reporting

Testing for mosquito-borne diseases is one of the most important reasons for implementing a comprehensive mosquito surveillance program. In most cases, the diseases that mosquitoes can transmit to humans and animals can be detected in the mosquitoes themselves, weeks before they can be passed on, which gives us the opportunity to take all of the appropriate control actions in order to reduce the risk of human disease transmission. We share these results to the CDC and all appropriate local and state health departments.