This edition of “Personal
Rootzone” is from Dr.
Nancy Troyano, a board-certified medical entomologist with Rentokil Steritech.
She earned her PhD from Virginia Tech and is responsible for leading and
supporting the development of Pest Service Specialist training for Rentokil
may be starting to cool, but one vestige of summer can hang around into
mid-fall: mosquitoes. In outdoor public spaces, such as parks, campuses, and
sports areas, mosquitoes are an annoyance and pose a heightened risk to people
enjoying milder weather.
can spread several diseases to humans, such as West Nile virus (WNV), Eastern
Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and La Crosse encephalitis viruses. Mosquito bites
can also sicken domestic animals, causing heartworm in dogs and EEE in horses.
In the US,
WNV is a concern. As of September 4 this year, 326 human cases have been
reported, resulting in 15 deaths. EEE, which can cause brain swelling and is
fatal in 33 percent of cases, has a high number of reported cases this year. To
date, three people in three states have died from the disease this year.
Reducing mosquito activity in public
public spaces, everyone can play a role in mosquito prevention with small
actions. However, businesses and operators can take larger actions to reduce
Remove standing water. This is the
top action to reduce mosquito activity. Standing water serves as a nursery for
mosquitoes and it doesn’t take much. Larvae can live in as little as a
tablespoon of water.
Inspect items that can hold water.
Playground and sports equipment, planters, or an uncapped fence can collect
water and become a hot spot for activity. Add daily inspections of these
habitats to grounds crews’ responsibilities, especially during peak season.
Empty trash frequently. Trashcans
can become a habitat for mosquitoes to lay eggs. If possible, use trashcans
with self-closing lids to limit pest access.
Watch for water collection points on
the ground. Are there holes, uneven ground, or damaged sidewalk where water
collects? Fill, grade, or repair these areas to prevent water collection. After
extreme weather, monitor grounds for any changes.
Aerate water bodies. Consider
installing an aerator in lakes or ponds to keep water moving.
Keep vegetation trimmed. Mosquitoes
rest on vegetation. Keep grasses and shrubs trimmed to reduce attractiveness to
Use signs to educate. Engage the public.
Use signs asking people to report standing water or mosquito activity and to
wear an EPA-registered insect repellent when enjoying your space.
Mosquito management programs
routine mosquito management efforts protects your public space and its visitors
from mosquitoes. Depending on your facility, you may need to go through
different levels of approval to have treatment conducted. Employing
professionals experienced in mosquito surveillance and treatments can reduce
populations and incorporate proactive measures into your program.
and municipalities have mosquito abatement programs that cover surveillance and
treatment of public spaces within a community. If you are responsible for a
community-operated public space, speak to the community’s public works, public
health, or environmental services manager for more information.
management program in public areas, such as a park, may include multiple steps
Surveillance to identify standing
Habitat modification, such as
filling tree holes or low-lying areas in the ground;
Larvicide treatments of water
showing activity to prevent adult mosquitoes;
Trapping adult populations to
understand species and density and determine control measures, such as
ultra-low volume (ULV) fogging; and
governments are often charged with protecting their citizens from public health
threats, which include mosquitoes,” says Kris New, Regional Director with
Vector Disease Control International (VDCI). “However, running a mosquito
management program can involve a labyrinth of regulations, which can be
difficult to navigate. Employing a mosquito abatement company familiar with
best practices and regulations can often be the most responsible route for
communities without the time or resources to invest in operating a program on
run spaces can typically contract with pest control providers for mosquito
control efforts on their properties, which may include a detailed inspection to
determine potential sources, barrier treatments, or larvicide applications to
non-public water bodies.
your guard down this fall. By implementing these tips and working closely with
a mosquito expert, you can create a more enjoyable environment and protect your