May 30, 2023
MCHD to begin night-time spraying for mosquitoes
MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) has mosquito traps placed throughout the county to help determine the correct moment to begin night-time spraying to deal with the irritating insects. After reviewing recent collections, officials with Vector Services say trap counts have reached a threshold that requires the commencement of control activities. Spraying throughout Mobile and the county will start this week.
Mobile County has been divided into 50 spray zones. Areas treated are determined by trap data, complaints, and observations by MCHD Inspector. Vector Services is rotating first- and second-generation chemical insecticides and organophosphates so that no tolerance is built up in the mosquito population. In 2022, Vector Services sprayed 760 nights that covered 666,543 acres.
MCHD has an airplane — a Cessna 182Q — that will spray insecticides along coastal areas and in other places that are inaccessible by truck. Final calibrations are needed before it is put into service this summer. The plane will be used when there are large hatchings of saltwater mosquitoes, which are different from the Aedes albopictus mosquito that is the main disease-carrying mosquito. The saltwater mosquito is more of a nuisance, but it can also carry disease.
“MCHD provides a comprehensive program through its Vector Services department. This includes mosquito surveillance, disease surveillance, public health education, larviciding (larvae control), and adulticiding (adult mosquito control) to track, monitor, and control mosquitoes,” said Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. “Vector Services also assesses the potential for mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and St. Louis Encephalitis through its sentinel chicken program.
“There are more than 50 species of mosquitoes in Mobile County and in past years some mosquito pools have tested positive for these mosquito-borne diseases.”
The chicks are placed in 13 strategically located coops throughout the county once they reach maturity. In 2022, there were 512 samples submitted. Eight chickens tested positive for WNV while one more tested positive for EEE.
To learn more about the department, you may visit https://mchd.org/vector-control. From there, you can find a link and a QR code to access the new online portal for ordering services. A mosquito complaint may also be submitted to Vector Services by calling 251-690-8124 or via email at VectorServices@mchd.org.