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More Efficient Mosquito Control

The Issue

The impending introduction of West Nile (WN) virus into California has heightened our need to improve control of mosquito disease vectors in the state. Since the virus was first detected in New York in 1999, it has spread rapidly westward across the USA. Vertebrates susceptible to the virus become infected via the bite of mosquitoes. In 2002 in the U.S., 201 humans and over 13,000 birds (mainly crows) died and over 3,300 humans and 9,000 horses became ill from WN virus infections. No vaccine is available for humans, and our best line of defense against this virus is by control of mosquito vector populations. AES assistant professor Anthony Cornel of UC Davis led research that detected resistance in California mosquito populations to currently used pesticides. Mosquito abatement personnel are now aware of this and have focused more on applications of rotations and mosaics of pesticides to mitigate further spread of resistance. Cornel and ANR GIS analyst Kris Lynn designed a Geographic Information System (GIS) interface for control of mosquitoes in mosquito abatement districts.

What Has ANR Done?

Cornel detected resistance to pesticides in several mosquito populations in a small-scale statewide mosquito pesticide tolerance surveillance program. He trained mosquito personnel on how to conduct pesticide susceptibility testing so that districts can conduct the tests themselves. After developing the GIS interface, Cornel and Lynn trained the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District manager on the use of the GIS package. The district has successfully implemented this interface for six months and during that time has become more efficient in controlling mosquitoes.

The Payoff

Increase in mosquito control efficiency and cost reduction

There have been no further reports of resistance spreading since the discovery of resistance to currently used pesticides. This is testament to the Mosquito Abatement District's use of better resistance management and mitigating strategies. Since evaluation and use of the GIS interface in Fresno County, mosquito abatement district manager Dave Farley is convinced that GIS use will mitigate the effects of future budget cuts his district may have to face. He predicts that the district will save a conservative $138,000 per year -- 15 percent of the current budget -- beginning in 2008-09 and that GIS will improve services.


Supporting Unit: UC Davis Entomology and Kearney Agricultural Center

Anthony Cornel, Assistant Professor
Department of Entomology, UC Davis
Mosquito Control Research Laboratory, Kearney Agricultural Center
9240 S. Riverbend Avenue, Parlier, CA 93648
(559) 646-6581; Fax (559) 646-6593; cornel@uckac.edu