The Illinois Mosquito and Vector Control Association (IMVCA) is a non-profit organization consisting of individuals who are interested in promoting the economic, environmental, and ecologically sound management of mosquitoes and other arthropod vectors and pests, in order to enhance human and animal health and well-being. Our mission is to provide leadership, information, and education concerning the suppression of mosquito and other vector transmitted diseases and the reduction of pest annoyance levels caused by mosquitoes and other arthropods of public health importance in Illinois.
THE MAIN GOALS OF THE IMVCA ARE: 1. To promote the principles of integrated pest and vector management, i.e, to reduce vector and pest populations to tolerable levels through scientifically based methods that consider the long-term ecological, environmental, and economic impact on humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife; 2. To facilitate professional cooperation and collaboration between and among mosquito abatement districts, public health departments, applied and basic scientists, commercial and municipality vector control specialists, and the general public; and 3. To keep members abreast of new developments in the study of vector-borne diseases, insect control technology, and pest and vector surveillance. The main method of achieving these goals is to provide a forum for the interaction of members at the annual meeting, in order to both review and preview insect, tick, and other arthropod-related public health issues relevant to Illinois.
THE IMVCA MOSQUITO MANAGEMENT POLICY: Mosquitoes are a serious threat to human health and comfort ranging from the transmission of arboviruses, like West Nile virus, to the vexatious biting of floodwater mosquitoes. The successful management of this group of insect vectors and pests significantly increases access to the outdoors and the quality of life. The IMVCA wishes to establish a broad outline of the principles of integrated management of mosquitoes that can be adapted to local needs and conditions. Ideally, mosquito management should be based on the best available and scientifically supported methods of surveillance and integration of larval and adult control methods and agents. In addition, two key components of any mosquito abatement program should be the appropriate training of control personnel and a strong commitment to educating the public about vector-borne diseases, abatement actions, and the best methods for personal protection and homeowner source reduction.
SURVEILLANCE OF MOSQUITO POPULATIONS: Mosquito management measures should be based on adequate field data. Abatement efforts should respond to the presence of significant mosquito populations of pest and/or vector species or the detection of a risk of pathogen transmission rather than based on a rigid temporal schedule in the absence of monitoring. Although preventive treatment of potential breeding sites by larvicidal agents or source reduction is common and preferred in integrated management, surveillance provides a means of judging the efficacy of various types of intervention. Effective mapping of breeding sites and periodic surveillance of these are among the most important components of a mosquito control program.
INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF MOSQUITOES: Integrated management utilizes a spectrum of intervention measures to suppress the target mosquito population, while having minimal impact on non-targets. The primary or initial method of control should be source reduction i.e., the elimination, reduction, or modification of mosquito breeding sites. Source reduction is preferable to chemical control agents and should be attempted wherever economically and environmentally possible. Naturalistic control by predators and/or parasites should be attempted under suitable conditions; however, the use of naturalistic agents should be based on scientific data and controlled field experiments rather than testimonials and tradition.
Although source reduction and natural control are strongly encouraged, they rarely reduce mosquito populations to tolerable or acceptable levels during mosquito population peaks. A strong larviciding program is a prerequisite for any effective mosquito control organization. Adulticiding should be considered a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, larviciding. Consequently, safe and effective pesticides should be used with an emphasis on relatively mosquito-specific agents, whether they be synthetic chemicals, microbial agents, or insect growth regulators. Not all microbial and chemical agents are suitable for all abatement conditions, so the choice of a particular agent should be based on: 1) the biology of the target mosquito species, 2) the life stage targeted (larvae or adults), and 3) the local environmental and ecological conditions. Chemical control agents are appropriate when chosen based on mammalian safety, target specificity, and biodegradability.
TRAINING OF MOSQUITO CONTROL PERSONNEL: All mosquito management personnel should receive adequate training, including periodic retraining on the proper use, and consequences of misuse, of control methods and agents. Label recommendations and manufacturer’s instructions should be followed. Chemical control agents should be applied under proper environmental and ecological conditions in order ensure effective control and avoidance of beneficial insects and non-targets. Control programs should not be based on traditions and calendar dates, but should be periodically reviewed and updated when appropriate. In addition to their responsibility to serve the public, mosquito control personnel have a responsibility to protect the public and environment from improper use of chemical mosquito control agents.
PUBLIC EDUCATION: One of the strongest weapons the mosquito control worker has is an informed, educated public. An informed public can help mosquito control workers minimize breeding sites in residential areas. An aggressive public education program will help reduce misinformation and minimize unreasonable demands on mosquito control workers. Various media groups should be enlisted to help inform the public about the methods and requirements for effective mosquito management in order to reduce disease transmission and nuisance.