We routinely conduct larval surveillance within the City of Albany boundaries. This is accomplished with a dipper, a plastic cup attached to the end of a thin pole. Larval breeding areas are sampled by dipping the cup into the water and inspecting it for mosquito larvae. Inspections are performed on several types of sources, including marshes, ditches, creeks, canals, catch basins, neglected fish ponds or hot tubs.
For adult mosquitoes, a specialized trap called an EVS (encephalitis vector surveillance) trap is used. These battery powered devices use dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) as an attractant, and operate a fan that collects live adult mosquitoes into a bag. The District currently has 11 regular locations throughout Albany where adult surveillance occurs. Each location is trapped every two weeks, from March through October. The most commonly encountered mosquito species in Albany are Culiseta incidens, Culex tarsalis, and Culex pipiens.
For those sources that require a treatment, products that specifically target the mosquito biology in the immature stages are used. These are naturally-based substances and have minimal environmental impact. One group is derived from a type of bacteria called Bacillus, and include Bacillus thuringensis israelensis and Bacillus sphaericus. These materials act as stomach poisons on feeding larvae. Another type of product that may be used is an insect growth regulator, called methoprene. This mimics a specific mosquito hormone and prevents the pupating mosquito from emerging as a normal functional adult. Methoprene is absorbed directly into the body of the mosquito, and must be applied during the correct larval stage in order to be effective. Any of these materials may be applied in a liquid, granular, or “briquette” form.
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