Mosquito Management Pilot Recognized for Innovation on the Ground
Malcom Williams, a pilot for over 30 years, was honored during the Florida Mosquito Control Association's 89th Annual Meeting.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Nov. 28, 2017 - PRLog -- Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) took part in the Florida Mosquito Control Association's (FMCA) Annual Meeting earlier this month in Kissimmee, FL.
The 2017 meeting provided an opportunity for individuals working in mosquito management to reconnect with fellow industry professionals, participate in Continuing Education, learn about current research efforts as well as discover new technology and methods to reduce mosquito populations and protect public health. Malcom Williams, VDCI's aerial expert, was recognized during FMCA's 89th Annual Meeting for his innovative thinking and contributions to the industry. He has been working with the mosquito control industry since 1987 as an aerial applicator. As the recipient of the James W. Robinson Memorial Award, Malcom was honored for incorporating aerial technology into ground-based equipment.
The mosquito management industry is frequently looking for new and innovative methodologies for controlling mosquito populations, and the introduction of Zika virus created a greater focus on the urban environments of container-breeding Aedes species, such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Malcom addressed these challenges by integrating an aerial application system onto truck-mounted equipment for Wide Area Larvicide applications of an environmentally benign larvicide (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelenis). His goal was to find a solution that increased the period of time that larvicide remained in the air and the likelihood of the product reaching the backyard habitats that Aedes species utilize for breeding. These areas are often not easily accessed on foot and would require substantial human resources and time to properly treat – not ideal as mosquitoes can produce large populations in a short period of time.
Although high-volume spray systems and rotary atomizer nozzles have been used in the past, the desired droplet spectrum for proper distribution of larvicide, to reach multiple container habitats in a large area or behind urban dwellings, remained elusive. Through trial and error over many months, Malcom was able to design an application system for truck-based application equipment that mimicked the device on his aircraft. The results of Malcom's design provided excellent coverage with over 300-foot reach from the roadside.
Last year, Malcom and the VDCI team were able to assess the efficacy of the larvicide application equipment within several areas of South Florida. Along with County staff, VDCI was able to collect data, and the results were impressive. The average mortality was 90% across the tested habitats. While larval mortality in cryptic backyard habitats was not as high as other areas, the knockdown rate was still high enough to reduce the need for hand treatments and door-to-door inspections significantly. These strong results indicate that VDCI's system is effective in reaching conspicuous areas throughout residential neighborhoods. The system should be considered as a valuable and time-saving tool for suppressing urban mosquito populations that present the greatest risk to public health in the current fight against Zika virus as well as several other mosquito-borne diseases.
Due to the initial successful results, Malcom and the VDCI team have continued to optimize this application system. This new design has now been adopted and successfully implemented in other Florida counties throughout the 2017 season.
For additional information on VDCI and its wide-range of mosquito management services, please visit www.vdci.net.
VDCI is a company built on the foundations of public health, ethics, professionalism, and technical expertise. VDCI takes pride in providing municipalities and mosquito abatement districts with the tools they need to run effective mosquito control programs. Our mosquito control professionals have extensive experience in operating comprehensive Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) programs as well as emergency response missions. Our IMM programs include public education, surveillance, disease testing, and a variety of control measures, all of which are essential to managing mosquitoes and helping to prevent the transmission of serious mosquito-borne diseases. We establish IMM programs that are based on an understanding of the underlying vector's ecology and rooted in the current science of environmentally sound control measures. For more information, visit www.vdci.net.