I had no idea.” “When can I come back?” “Everyone in Collier County needs to know this.”
Those are the three most common statements we hear after people take a tour of our facilities. From the laboratory to the hangar, our campus tours are designed to educate and inform visitors of our Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approach to managing mosquito populations. IMM is a comprehensive program using various techniques to control mosquito numbers while maintaining a quality environment, which includes the following aspects.
Public Education Teaching people about potential mosquito breeding habitat on their property, showing them how to reduce it, and explaining how to avoid mosquito bites are all at the very core of our program. Each interaction provides an opportunity to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases by augmenting community knowledge.
Surveillance Data It drives IMM action and is therefore the backbone of our integrated approach to mosquito management. From automated mosquito traps that relay information to us every 15 minutes, to weekly testing of mosquitoes in our laboratory for any trace of disease, data is reviewed daily to determine whether a treatment is warranted. Additionally, determining which of the 42 species of mosquitoes in Southwest Florida we’re targeting helps determine the time of day and control material needed for the most effective control approach.
Larval Control Preventing larval mosquitoes in water from becoming adults has become an increasingly employed component of our IMM program. Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Bti), is a naturally occurring, soil-based bacterium that is toxic to mosquito larvae, but not to mammals, fish, other insects, plants, or humans. The District uses Bti larvicide in a granular form applied from helicopters or drones, in a liquid form from our trucks, and in a solid briquette dropped into storm drains. During the past three years, we’ve increased our larviciding program some 300 percent.
Adult Control In Southwest Florida, mosquito habitat exists naturally and in an abundance too significant to manage by larvicide alone. That’s why an important part of our IMM program is the control of adult mosquitoes through the application of adulticide materials in an ultra-low-volume (ULV) program. The District uses four different materials – including organic Merus 3.0 – for adult control and rotates their use in order to reduce the mosquitoes’ resistance.
Are you ready to learn more about the District’s IMM program? Public tours are available which include presentations by our scientific team in the laboratory, our operations/surveillance team, and a visit to the hangar. Please call our office at (239) 436-1000 to schedule a tour or if you’d like more information.