By Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.
You are probably well aware of the increased national attention on mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika virus. Additional information will be discovered and there is much more still to know. My purpose is to condense what we know and what we can speculate with some certainty into a format that Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) can use to help service their current and future clients.
First, what should a PMP’s role be in light of the Zika virus?
- Calm the public’s fears by communicating with them in a professional manner about what they can do to help reduce the chances of contracting mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika virus.
- Provide pertinent literature on mosquito-borne disease prevention to those who ask.
- Stay up to date via the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA)’s most recent recommendations.
- Provide a treatment service that can help alleviate the chances of contracting mosquito-borne diseases.
PMPs cannot guarantee that their mosquito management program will ensure no one will get mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika virus because evidence shows that the Zika virus, for instance, can be contracted through sexual contact and even kissing. Still, the mosquito bite is the primary way you contract mosquito-borne viruses, and PMPs play a vital role in mosquito population reduction.
Some PMPs mistakenly think that if they provide pest management services in a big city then there is very little they can do to control mosquito populations – but this isn’t true! The mosquito species Aedes aegypti, capable of transmitting diseases like the Zika virus, can breed in sump pump pits, clogged rain gutters, rubber tires, tree holes and roof top vegetation including small ponds. Remember, even a bottle cap turned upside down can have enough water for a few mosquito larvae to survive.
Here are some steps to help you roll out a sensible mosquito management program:
- Contact your distributor for whatever knowledge they have on products available and which PMPs are offering a control program.
- Go online at least once a week to update yourself from reliable sources including:
- Find out what the NPMA is doing in conjunction with CDC to provide PMPs with literature and control strategy.
- Train your team of technicians on where and how to inspect for breeding areas and what your company is prepared to do. Do not present a control program of just using pesticides. Integrated Pest Management concepts (destroying water breeding sources, screening and wearing protective clothing) are essential for the holistic approach.
- Consider installing screens when needed, repairing torn ones and inspecting the premises on a regular basis for potential breeding areas and screen maintenance.
- Inform persons traveling to known Zika areas what to do if they are determined to go. Include the use of mosquito repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and netting when camping. Those pregnant or expecting to become pregnant in the near future should consider postponing trips to affected areas.
- Provide free training sessions to scouts, clubs, school classes and other groups on mosquito management.
In 2015, Syngenta launched the SecureChoice™ Mosquito Assurance Program for PMPs. Field tests have proven it to be quite successful. The SecureChoice program combines two products into a single tank mix for a one-two-three punch.
- Demand® CS insecticide at 0.06% provides quick control initially via small microcaps, which release product shortly after application.
- Demand CS at 0.06% plus Archer® insect growth regulator at 0.01% provides up to 60 days of residual control, with various size microcaps releasing over a two month period.
- Archer, at 0.01% adversely affects the reproductive cycle of mosquitoes by preventing larval development, resulting in fewer adults.
The lambda-cyhalothrin capsules in the SecureChoice program are approved by the World Health Organization for mosquito vector control and are also used in mosquito nets to protect against malaria in Africa, Asia and Latin America. If applications of Demand CS and Archer fail to provide adequate reduction of mosquito populations during the 60-day treatment period, Syngenta will provide the appropriate quantity of Demand CS and Archer to cover the retreatment(s).
Our challenge is to stay on top of each new challenge and provide the best service we can. People really do depend upon us.
To receive articles by Dr. Austin Frishman, advanced pest management information and more on a monthly basis, subscribe to our emails.
©2016 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. Archer®, Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, SecureChoice™ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).