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Mosquito BEACONS Meeting Minutes

Inaugural Meeting of the Mosquito BEACONS Working Group

The mosquito BEACONS working group – a multidisciplinary and multi-state group founded by UF/IFAS researchers and mosquito control – met for the first time virtually on April 28th 2021. The group brought together a diverse pool of stakeholders across the southern United States including academic institutions, public health, mosquito control, and private pest control. The goal of this meeting was to directly engage stakeholders to identify gaps in invasive mosquito research and outreach.

Utilizing breakout rooms, stakeholders were split into two groups: (1) research and (2) outreach. The research group covered topics such as:

  • future areas of focus for invasive species surveillance and control
  • surveillance in shipping ports
  • current barriers to surveillance
  • how research can enhance control efforts.

 

The outreach group discussed:

  • information hubs
  • training availability and accessibility
  • measuring success
  • social media as a tool for disseminating information.

Learn more about the discussions by reading the Meeting 1 Minutes.

 

Priority Areas in Research and Extension

The BEACONS Board of Directors compiled a list of 10 topics decided by the research and outreach groups. We asked the BEACONS working group members to rank each item from 1 (most important) to 10 (least important). To identify the most important topics, we assigned a point system:

  • Rank 1 received 10 points, rank 2 received 9 points, …, rank 10 received 1 point.

Learn more about the rankings by viewing the priority survey results.

To summarize:

  • Social media is a valuable and underutilized tool for disseminating information to stakeholders and private citizens
  • Webinars and virtual training opportunities scored higher than in-person training
  • The idea of an invasive species symposium at annual State mosquito control association meetings also scored high
  • The membership identified a need for:
          • novel or improved surveillance methodologies and
          • research studies pertaining to interspecific interactions and community dynamics
  • A lack of population genetics data makes it difficult to monitor biological invasions and identify point of entry and specific time periods.

 

“This valuable opportunity to collect baseline data directly from stakeholders will help shape future BEACONS training and research opportunities” – BEACONS Project Director

 

We thank the following organizations for participating in this momentous event:

Beach Mosquito Control District

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

City of Jacksonville Mosquito Control

Environmental Pest and Lawn

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory

North Carolina Mosquito and Vector Control Association

New Orleans Rodent, Mosquito, and Termite Control

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

University of Georgia

West Carolina University

 

The survey titled, “Priority areas in research and Extension pertaining to invasive mosquito species in the southern United States” was approved by the University of Florida’s Institutional Review Board on 6/22/2021 (IRB202101169).