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Operations

The Mosquito Abatement Districts program is based upon scientific approaches that have been incorporated into a comprehensive strategy of Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM). This management strategy includes several components that work together to accomplish effective mosquito control. Operations are directed primarily at controlling the mosquito species that are responsible for transmitting West Nile virus. The following are some of the components of the IMM strategy:


I. Mosquito Sampling and Inspection

Mosquito sampling and inspection provides data upon which all control operations are based. Without good inspection data, it would be virtually impossible to conduct an effective and efficient mosquito abatement program. Mosquito sampling methods used at the District are directed to collect data on mosquito adults and larvae. Strategies for control operations are based on the analysis of these data.


A. Adult Mosquito Inspection

Landing rates and light traps are utilized to collect data on adult mosquito activity in order to provide information on the relative abundance and distribution of species of mosquitoes in many locations throughout the parish.


1. Landing Rates

A landing rate is defined as the number of mosquitoes identified landing on a still human (inspector) in a minute time period. This sampling method is an excellent means of estimating the adult mosquito populations of many species. Landing rates are performed on a daily basis throughout the parish during the daytime. Occasionally, landing rates are performed at night to measure mosquito levels and to determine species that are more active during the night. Landing rates performed before and after adulticide treatments are an excellent means to evaluate the effectiveness of the applications.


2. Light Traps

Many mosquito species are attracted to light. The District takes advantage of this behavioral characteristic by utilizing 62 New Jersey light traps to collect mosquitoes. New Jersey light traps are mechanical devices that are permanently located at sampling stations throughout the parish. They are operated at night and the next morning an inspector collects the mosquitoes caught in the trap. This data provides the District with an estimate as to the relative abundance and the species of mosquitoes at each sampling site. Each trap is operated 1-2 times each week. In addition to the use of NJLT, another mechanical light trap used is a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) trap that is portable and can easily be moved and stationed at many sampling locations. This trap utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) as an attractant to enhance the collection. These traps are operated 2-3 times a week throughout the parish. CO2 baited CDC light traps also serve to evaluate adulticide treatments. In addition, these traps are used to collect live mosquito specimens that are sent to the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine Diagnostic Lab to be tested for West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis, and eastern equine encephalitis. It is very important that the District has information as to whether or not mosquito borne viral agents are in the parish. Another mosquito collection trap used is a gravid trap. These traps are primarily used to obtain information on the southern house mosquito, the primary vector for West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis. The majority of the mosquitoes collected in these traps would have recently taken blood meals and are seeking a place to deposit eggs. The specimens collected are then tested for the presence of West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.

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