With the growing concern about the spread West Nile virus and the emergence of Zika virus in the United States, the City of Berkeley Lake adopted a formal policy and action plan to address the issue in May of 2016. The city has taken a two-pronged approach of integrated pest management for the control of mosquito populations during peak periods and public education to promote personal protection from bites.
Integrated Pest Management
The current interests in ecology and environmental impact of mosquito control measures and the increasing problems that have resulted from insecticide resistance emphasize the need for "integrated" control programs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage maximum adherence to integrated pest management (IPM), an ecologically based strategy that relies heavily on natural mortality factors and seeks out control tactics that are compatible with or disrupt these factors as little as possible. IPM uses pesticides, but only after systematic monitoring of pest populations indicates a need. Ideally, an IPM program considers all available control actions, including no action, and evaluates the interaction among various control practices, cultural practices, weather, and habitat structure. This approach thus uses a combination of resource management techniques to control mosquito populations with decisions based on mosquito population monitoring.
The underlying philosophy of mosquito control is based on the fact that the greatest control impact on mosquito populations will occur when they are concentrated, immobile and accessible. This emphasis focuses on habitat management and controlling the immature stages before the mosquitoes emerge as adults. This policy reduces the need for widespread pesticide application in urban areas.
The city has in past years treated areas of visible standing water throughout the city with Altosid XR® briquets which contain (S)-Methoprene, an insect growth regulator (IGR) that causes mosquito larvae to die in the pupal stage before they can emerge as biting adults. This product is effective for up to 150 days and can be applied in dry conditions in locations where water will collect and remain for an extended time following a rain event, i.e. stormwater catch basins or neglected detention ponds and swimming pools. Under the adopted policy and action plan, the use of a larvicidal product such as Altosid XR® has been expanded to include all structures within the city's stormwater system which can potentially hold water long enough to sustain a mosquito breeding cycle.
EPA and CDC recognize a legitimate and compelling need for the prudent use of space sprays, under certain circumstances, to control adult mosquitoes. This is especially true during periods of active mosquito-spread disease transmission or when source reduction and larval control have failed or are not feasible. The City of Berkeley Lake would consider employing wide-spread ground or aerial spraying or fogging only as as method of last resort.
To be of maximum effectiveness, the people for whom protection is provided must understand and support and practice mosquito control and personal protection. An integral part of most organized mosquito control programs is public education. It is important that residents and business-owners have a good understanding of mosquito habitat, life-cycle and behaviors, the benefits realized from their control and the role people have in preventing certain mosquito-spread diseases. People who are informed about mosquito biology and controls are more likely to mosquito-proof their homes and businesses, take responsibility to eliminate mosquito breeding places on their own property and employ appropriate precautions to prevent mosquito bites to themselves, their children and pets or their customers.
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