The more we know about mosquitoes – their biology, physiology, and genetics – the more we learn a how to control them and thus protect public health. The Collier Mosquito Control District’s (CMCD) scientists engage in detailed mosquito research which informs and advances our integrated mosquito management (IMM). This program uses a variety of methods to control mosquitoes based on sound science.
The remarkable work of three Ph.D. scientists on the CMCD staff touches almost every aspect of our IMM program, including the extraction of mosquitoes’ DNA for disease testing in our laboratory and testing EPA-approved control materials for their effectiveness against local mosquitoes.
Not only is their work valued locally, but their in-depth research is contributing to a global industry. Since 2020, a few of their accomplishments include:
Detecting four mosquito species not seen previously in Collier County, including Aedes scapularis, which can transmit yellow fever, lymphatic filariasis and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. These mosquitoes were found in traps from throughout the area.
Testing trapped mosquitoes weekly for virus using CMCD’s PCR machine (no sign of mosquito-borne disease is currently detected).
By invitation only, the team conducted ground testing of a new mosquito control material that could potentially revolutionize the industry.
KEIRA LUCAS, Ph.D., CMCD
Deputy Executive Director Ph.D. in Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics from the University of California, Riverside5 years at CMCD
“My focus in vector biology and mosquito borne disease led me to mosquito control. My research interests have blossomed into understanding the ecology and physiology of each targeted mosquito species and tailoring management plans to their specific vulnerabilities. Using applied sciences and working with a diverse group of professionals at CMCD to develop a science-based approach to mosquito control and make a difference in our community has been especially rewarding.”
REBECCA HEINIG, Ph.D
Director of Research Ph.D. in Entomology fromThe Pennsylvania State University4 years at CMCD
Quote: “I’m a medical entomologist at heart, so CMCD has been a uniquely rewarding place to work. On the entomological side, I’ve already identified six new species that hadn’t been recorded in the county before, bringing our total number of known species to more than 50. On the human health side, we monitor several endemic arboviruses such as West Nile virus, but we also have some novel arboviruses whose significance isn’t clear yet, giving our work a real sense of urgency and purpose. When you add in a supportive community and leadership that prioritizes strong science as a foundation for integrated mosquito management, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
ROBERT STRASER, Ph.D., CMCD,
Research Entomologist Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside1 year at CMCD
Quote: “As an applied entomologist, I leverage my experience in insect ecology and integrated Pest management to conduct research that informs and improves the District’s operations. It’s a privilege to work at CMCD alongside diverse professionals with the shared goal of identifying safe and effective solutions for maintaining the public health and well-being of residents in Collier County.”
Want to know more about the science behind mosquito control? Looking for someone to speak to your group’s next meeting?Visit the District’s website at cmcd.org or call 239.436.1000.