Placing Product in Drains
As early as March we begin placing long-term larvae control products in the drain system of Durango, the college campus, and outlying areas of our district. When the water recedes after periods of rain leaving static pools in the drain system that are not visible or accessible from the surface, this product is working for us all season long.
Placing Long-Term Abatement Products
Beginning in mid-March through April we place our extended duration abatement products focusing on the larger sloughs and bodies of water that would be producing the majority of the mosquito population. These products provide between 30 to 180 days of abatement depending on which product is used in a particular habitat.
Distributing Natular Tablets
We use Natular XRT to provide abatement all year in standing water or areas that will accumulate water due to the rise in the Animas River and irrigation in the coming season.
Broadcasting Natular Granules
We broadcast Natural G-30 granules in the low areas of hay fields and other areas where we anticipate small pooling where it would be inefficient to place a tablet in each individual location we find water, i.e. water filled cow tracks, a rut in a a hay field, etc.
Sampling Water for Larvae
The majority of our summer activity and the basis of our abatement is sampling water for the presence of mosquito larvae. This involves simply using a dipping instrument to confirm that mosquito larvae are being produced. When present, larvae are collected to be identified in AMCD’s lab and the water habitat is treated with a larvicide.
Larviciding with Mineral Oil
When a mosquito larva population is discovered in a body of water, mineral oil is applied, which creates a thin film on the surface of the water. Since mosquito larvae are unique to other aquatic life in their developmental stages, in that they must rise to the surface to breathe through a tiny siphon tube, the thin film of mineral oil that we apply creates a barrier, suffocating the mosquito larvae. AMCD uses mineral oil because it not only very specifically targets mosquito larvae but has almost no environmental impact whatsoever.
From May 1st through September 30th AMCD maintains and monitors 15 mosquito traps throughout the district. A trap attracts mosquitoes throughout the night with light and CO2 and then draws them into a net with a fan. Captured mosquitos are taken to AMCD’s lab where they are counted, identified, and tested for West Nile. This information gives us insight into where adult mosquito populations exist and what type of habitat they are reproducing in. Each specie reproduces in a particular type of environment and identifying the adults alerts us to where to find and abate their larvae population.
Mosquito Identification and Testing
Through inspection under a microscope in AMCD’s lab, mosquitoes are counted, identified according to sex and species (among over 20 present in our district,) and this information is place in our daily log to give us a comparison of mosquito populations. This data give us a scientific basis for our mosquito abatement strategies.
We systematically monitor the residential areas of our district for mosquito producing habitat like water-filled tires, buckets, bird baths, ornamental ponds, tarps and covers that are holding water, etc.
Spraying at Night
Spraying for adult mosquitoes takes place when we observe or are alerted to adult populations by residents who call us and request spraying. We do not systematically spray for mosquitoes in our district. It is our policy to only spray at night when adult mosquitoes are active and bees and other pollenating insects are inactive.
Clearing Access Trails
In September and October we do the maintenance necessary to keep access open to mosquito producing habitats for the following year’s abatement. By doing this in the fall, we are able to remove that year’s growth after wildlife has already reproduced and before they arrive next spring.