We sent a survey to hundreds of mosquito control and public health programs across the southern region USA. We are interested in capturing information about budgets, surveillance and control tools, and personnel training and education. This information is needed to understand how well-prepared we are to detect, monitor, and control invasive and non-native mosquitoes in our region.
So far 76 programs have responded from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Learn more about the survey by reading our Preliminary Data Presentation.
We asked programs to report when they start and end their mosquito surveillance programs. This will help us get a better idea of gaps in surveillance across the south, and identify weaknesses where a potential new invasion could go unnoticed.
The shortest program we observed was 4 months and the longest program was a full year (only 4 of 76 programs survey mosquito populations year-round).
Most programs start in January or March, and end in November. The average program runs ~7.9 months.
Invasive Mosquitoes and Shipping Ports
Many invasive mosquito species are container-breeder species – they prefer to lay eggs in containers. Furthermore, the eggs of many species are able to withstand many weeks without water, increasing their chances of survival during transport. Therefore, shipping yards and ports are high risk areas for the introduction and spread of invasive and non-native mosquitoes in the USA.
For example, Aedes aegypti – a.k.a. the yellow fever mosquito, and a vector of Zika virus – is believed to have travelled from West Africa throughout Asia and the Americas on board vessels transporting slaves in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Aedes albopictus – a vector of dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses – first arrived in North America in used tires and was later detected in shipments of Lucky Bamboo in the Los Angeles shipping port.
Aedes vittatus – a vector of chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and zika viruses – is thought to have arrived to the Caribbean on board shipping containers originating from the Indian subcontinent.
88% of respondents AGREE that surveillance at shipping ports and yards is critically important. But, only 3 programs conduct surveillance in these areas. This is an area the Mosquito BEACONS Working group will be focusing our efforts in 2022/2023.
The application of chemical insecticides remains to be an effective tool to reduce populations of biting mosquitoes. However, repeated or excessive exposures has resulted in many populations developing resistance to many insecticides currently in use.
Only 7 of 76 programs indicated that they perform insecticide resistance testing on site. This indicates a large gap in knowledge across the southern region and potential for programs to expand into this area.
In Florida, insecticide resistance testing is provided by a partnership with the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Medical Entomology Lab. To learn more about the program, please email Dr. Eva Buckner @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Budgets and Staffing
So, how well funded are mosquito control programs in the South? The answer: very well! Average annual mosquito control program budgets are listed below:
Florida $6.7 million
Louisiana: $5.7 million
Georgia $1.1 million
North Carolina $390K
South Carolina $590K
Still, over 50% of mosquito control and public health programs indicated they are constrained by budget and staff. And 70% of respondents are NOT satisfied with the number of training opportunities. The Mosquito BEACONS Working group is working to improve the number of training and collaboration opportunities in our network. We are proud to offer a 1-day workshop for mosquito control personnel in our network.
Mosquito BEACONS Workshop
We are planning a 1-day workshop on data management and visualization & invasive species bionomics and morphology. The workshop will be held on Monday January 24th 2022 in Panama city, Florida. Learn more about the workshop topics by reading the Workshop Agenda.
See everyone in Panama City, Florida!
The mosquito BEACONS working group met on December 10th 2021. Learn more about the discussions by reading the Meeting 3 Minutes.
Our final meeting (#4) for 2021/2022 will be held in-person alongside the American Mosquito Control Association 88th Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida. We are meeting in the City Terrace 6 Meeting Room from 3 to 5 pm on Monday Feb 28th. This meeting is open to everyone. Feel free to pop-in and join the discussions. Furthermore, look for our booth and watch our presentation on Tuesday March 1st 2022.
Learn more about the AMCA 88th Annual meeting by reading the program. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Jacksonville!
We are supported by the Southern IPM Center (Project S21-002) as part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Crop Protection and Pest Management Regional Coordination Program (Agreement No. 2018-70006-28884).