This is the first of a series of articles that will be in the Messenger Index during the 2021 mosquito season. The purpose of the series is to present timely information pertaining to mosquito control efforts in the Gem County Mosquito Abatement District (GCMAD). Information about surveillance, control, and extension efforts will be included in the articles.
First, it is important to discuss the mosquito control philosophy the GCMAD follows. The District uses integrated pest management (IPM) to control mosquitoes. Integrated pest management is an effective program that utilizes a combination of education (staff and constituents), knowledge of mosquito biology and ecology, surveillance and monitoring, and effective control practices. For more information regarding mosquito biology and ecology, constituents can visit gcmad.org.
Surveillance and monitoring are critical aspects of the IPM approach. Surveillance determines the mosquito source, mosquito population, and timing of control efforts. Surveillance also determines if mosquito-borne disease is present in mosquitoes so the District can act to limit transmission of the diseases. Constituents can expect to see traps placed strategically around the District. Monitoring is the quantification of both surveillance and citizen concerns and allows the District to focus efforts to areas most afflicted by mosquitoes.
The GCMAD controls mosquitoes at all stages of the mosquito lifecycle. This includes the elimination of development sites (the egg stage), the treating of standing water for mosquito larvae and pupae, and the use of control products to reduce the number of adult mosquitoes. Even with a fully integrated approach, it is impossible to eradicate mosquitoes from the Emmett valley. The GCMAD’s goal is to protect the public health by reducing the number of mosquitoes that might transmit diseases and make the District a tolerable place to live by reducing the number of nuisance mosquitoes.
The elimination of development sites is the most successful way of reducing mosquitoes. For the property owner, this means emptying water in old tires, buckets, trash containers, wading pools, birdbaths, tarpaulins, horse troughs, or any container that holds water for more than three days. Nuisance mosquito numbers will be greatly reduced if pastures are allowed to dry so that water is not standing for longer than three days between irrigation events. Keeping drains, ditches, and culverts clean of weeds and trash will allow water to drain properly and will eliminate mosquito development sites.
Currently, the GCMAD is conducting rigorous and aggressive larval mosquito control efforts. Citizens can expect to see District staff in fields, along ditches and roadways, in yards and pastures, and in recreational areas where standing water is present. It is important for property owners to allow the control technicians easy access to the mosquito development sites and to ensure that aggressive animals are not inhibiting the technicians’ efforts.
Wide-area adult mosquito control applications are made to control adult mosquito populations. This type of control application is commonly referred to as fogging and citizens can expect to have the fogging service vehicle come around at least once every seven to ten days to reduce adult mosquitoes.
Citizens need to please remember to protect themselves this mosquito season. This can be accomplished by limiting activity outdoors during peak mosquito activity times such as dusk and dawn or dressing in clothing that protects an individual from mosquitoes, and to always apply insect repellant, following label directions, when outdoors. The GCMAD office phone number is 365-5628 and operates business hours from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.