STEPHENVILLE, Texas – A collaboration between several Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents, mosquito control experts and environmental experts has come together to help Texans control mosquitoes just in time for the mosquito season to begin this year.
The final product –called Texas Mosquito Management–is a manual that contains everything that Texas city and county health departments need to know about managing mosquitos and mosquito borne diseases.
Assistant Professor and Extension Entomologist Sonja Swiger said demand for the manual was created as Texas county and city governments searched to find up-to-date information during and following the 2012 record West Nile Virus outbreak that occurred in the state.
Swiger said that a specialized task force was organized in 2012 to compile a manual of the latest information and research, mosquito and disease monitoring, mosquito control and education programs. She said that the main audience would be mainly city workers and contracted pest control professionals assisting in mosquito abatement programs.
“The mosquito manual is one of the outcomes of this collaboration and incorporates all the information a mosquito abatement p
rogram needs to know in one place,” she said.
The manual explains the biology of the mosquitoes and incorporates color photographs on how to identify the mosquitoes which commonly occur in the state.
The manual discusses the concept of integrated mosquito management, an environmentally-sensitive approach to controlling and managing mosquitoes.
In addition, there are sections on how to properly conduct mosquito monitoring and surveillance trapping, the use of GIS to map surveillance data, virus screening and mosquito source reduction in common breeding sites. There also is a section dedicated use of pesticides in mosquito control and the proper procedures to conduct these operations safely.
Swiger and co-authors included sections on how to deal with mosquitoes in both the larval and adult stages, how to monitor for and manage insecticide resistance and creating a public education and information plan.
Swiger said mosquito surveillance should be conducted between April and November, with West Nile season peaking in August.
“Like most insects in Texas, the season begins when spring arrives,” she said. “Rain is important for mosquito populations to develop, but the artificial container breeding mosquito populations can grow in any container that holds water, with or without rainfall.”
She said that even though the manual is mainly for municipal workers and pest control professionals, the general public can benefit from the information.
The manual is now available in the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore at agrilifebookstore.org.