A variety of control measures are available to suppress mosquito populations. Craven County used integrated pest management in its vector control program. This means a variety of control is employed depending on a number of factors. The various control measures included education, source reduction, larviciding, and adulticiding. Surveillance techniques were in place to determine the optimum time to implement these control measures.
Vector control personnel were available to perform site evaluations in relation to requests from the public. Many of these requests were handled by simply eliminating the source of the problem. Many times the problem mosquito found was the Asian Tiger Mosquito. The only way to control this mosquito is to eliminate its breeding source. Education is a key component of this. Click here for more information on the Asian Tiger Mosquito.
Through active larval mosquito surveillance, mosquito breeding sites were found. The sites were mapped and monitored for breeding mosquitoes. When breeding was observed the sites were treated using biologicals that specifically targeted the larval mosquitoes. This is known as larviciding.
CDC Mosquito light traps were used to catch adult mosquitoes. They were collected and the various mosquitoes identified as to each species. This told us which species were present and in what numbers. This also told us if these species populations were on the increase or the decrease. When adult mosquitoes reached elevated levels adulticiding, or spraying measures, were implemented. Spraying for adult populations is the least cost effective control measure, but it is often necessary to control adult mosquitoes at an acceptable level.
Surveillance methods were also in place to monitor mosquito disease activity within the county. A key component of this was the use of sentinel chicken flocks. This consisted of placing flocks of chickens throughout the county in prime habitat locations for mosquito development. Disease activity in the bird population was measured from antibodies produced and found present in blood samples taken from the birds every two weeks. The detection of these diseases antibodies when other factors were also present would often trigger the need adult spraying activities. Learn more about EPA pesticides and mosquito control.
What You Can Do
Mosquito control begins in your immediate environment. The vast majority of mosquito problems are the result of them being bred in one's own yard. The following list details many of the important practices to perform to keep mosquitoes from breeding around the home:
- Remove and discard old tires and drill drainage holes in tires used for playground equipment
- Remove or turn over clay pots and plastic containers
- Clean rain gutters so water can flow freely
- Store plastic wading pools inside or turn them upside down when not being used
- Check tarps such as those for boats and pools for areas holding water and arrange these to drain the water
- Pump out bilges in boats and store canoes and small boats upside down
- Remove unused pet food and water dishes
- Replace birdbath water at least twice a week
- Flush water in the bottom of plant holders at least twice a week
- Flush livestock troughs at least twice a week
- Turn wheelbarrows upside down when stored outside
- Clean and discard any trash or debris
- Do not leave trash can lids upside down and look for water standing in the bottom of trash cans
- Repair dripping outside faucets
- Inspect construction sites and do-it-yourself projects to ensure there is proper backfilling and grading to allow drainage
- Keep ditches free of debris so they can properly drain
- If you have ornamental ponds, tree holes or other low water holding areas contact Craven County's vector program for assistance