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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
(1) Demonstrate a strategy for area-wide Aedes albopictus control; (2) demonstrate the public health importance and socio-economic benefits of area-wide mosquito control; and (3) transfer the strategy to end-users of the technology.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Will establish and implement an areawide pest management research and action program for Asian tiger mosquito management which (a) results from a stakeholder partnership and collaboration dedicated to the demonstration and areawide adoption of Asian tiger mosquito control technologies and (b) achieves an Asian tiger mosquito management system so end-users, consultants and other interested parties will be left with an affordable program. This will require the development of a multidisciplinary approach between Federal, State, local and private interests, and whose participants will be involved in the program from conception to adoption.

3. Progress Report
FY2010 activities at 6 sites in Mercer and Monmouth Counties, NJ ended in November 2009 when no traps had Asian Tiger mosquitoes (ATM). A 50%-60% reduction in adult ATM was achieved in the Full Intervention sites in both counties; with a maximum 75% reduction in Monmouth County. Backpack applications of pyriproxyfen in 10% of the sites had no effect on adult ATM. Active educational efforts reduced the containers in backyards but need reinforcement. A protocol for 2011 was drafted and reviewed with the external Project Evaluation Team in January. After its approval, surveillance activities began in May with weekly trapping of adults in Biogents Sentinel (BGS) traps, egg counts and species identification from ovitraps. The 2011 control efforts began in April and focused on area-wide application of larvicides guided by a degree-day model. The Full Intervention and Control sites were switched in Monmouth County to measure cumulative effects of prior source reduction activities and evaluate the degree-day, area-wide larvicide strategy. No parcel-to-parcel source reduction or larviciding was conducted. In July, a “hot-spot” treatment using BGS traps; treatment of larval habitats with Spinosad, source reduction, and removal of excess vegetation; and hand held Ultra Low Volume spraying occurred in the Full Intervention site in Mercer County. Mosquito surveillance ends when there are no Ae. albopictus in 188 traps for 2 weeks. In 2011, an effort began to expand the project from the 2 original NJ counties to 2 “new” sites in Mercer and Monmouth Counties, 2-4 sites in 1-3 counties in PA, LA,VA, and FL. Prior to detection of ATM activity, sites were surveyed with 20-25 ovitraps. Egg papers were sent to Rutgers for processing to find pairs of sites with similar ATM dynamics where control activities might occur in 2012. During the Brandeis’s team’s field visit to Monmouth and Mercer Counties in February 2011, costing information for the ATM control and research was compiled by activity, source of funding, and site. Cost analyses were conducted in Monmouth (4 yrs) and Mercer County (3 yrs) and will be completed in August 2011. The second round of the interviews for 221 households in Monmouth and Mercer Counties was conducted in late 2010. This survey refined approaches for assessing willingness-to-pay and quality of life. Combining these interviews with the responses from the third round of the household knowledge, attitude and behavior survey yielded 650+ respondents from the 1,700 households selected for the survey and interviews. The survey was to ask how mosquitoes affect household members’ mosquito-related experience and quality of life; time they spent or would have spent in outdoor activities. The results show a significant improvement in the quality of life for residents in the intervention areas compared to the control areas. A difference-in-difference analysis suggests that these two interventions were effective in mitigating the mosquito burden. The results showed a gain in total hours in outdoor activities in the Full Intervention areas, where the change is statistically significant, and a favorable trend for the educational intervention.

4. Accomplishments
1. Sequenced the single copy genome of the Asian Tiger mosquito (ATM). ATMs have large amounts of repetitive genetic material that have until recently been difficult to develop into population level genetic markers. A technique developed at Rutgers University was used to remove the repetitive material, isolate a single copy, and then use it to obtain large sequences of this material. This is the first large-scale sequence of this genetic material for this disease vector which will be developed into useful population markers. These markers will be used to determine the source and number of ATM introductions into the United States and around the world. This information will lead to the development of more effective strategies to recognize and respond to the introduction and spread of other nuisance mosquitoes and disease vectors of humans and livestock.

2. Developed and implemented a new technique to identify the source of blood meals in the Asian Tiger mosquito (ATM). Analysis of the source of mosquito blood meals is a critically important technique in the full understanding of disease transmission risk to humans and livestock. It is also important in the identification of source of the blood meals as they relate to understanding population dynamics of the ATM and other mosquitoes. Existing blood meal analysis methodologies have failed to work for the ATM. We have designed and implemented a new approach that uses a unique laboratory technique that effectively works in the ATM and can be expanded to other mosquito species. This new technique is inexpensive and allows for the rapid recognition of hosts and assessment of the frequency of blood meals taken from human and livestock hosts.

3. Developed a rapid method to identify the eggs of mosquitoes that are found in containers. The first step in developing a successful integrated management program for mosquitoes is the identification of the target mosquitoes and the source of their production. To do this, a set of effective surveillance methods (traps) is essential. Inexpensive ovitraps are effective sampling tools for ATMs, but a limitation of these traps, which can be deployed in high density, is the identification of the eggs that are deposited therein. This is usually accomplished by a labor intensive process involving hatching of the eggs, rearing of the larvae, and finally identification of the immature (larvae) mosquitoes. We have developed a special laboratory test that allows the pooling of at least 1,000 eggs. This new procedure allows for the identification of all five Aedes mosquitoes that occur in containers and impact feed on humans and livestock along the mid-Atlantic states.

4. Prepared a manuscript on willingness to pay for enhanced mosquito control services. Following three years of research associated with the Asian Tiger mosquito (ATM) Area-Wide Pest Management (AWPM) project, Brandeis University researchers have summarized results of their unique research activities into a manuscript which describes their results from a specialized “willingness to pay” (WTP) technique. This technique is used in the economic analysis of programs where the benefits are collective, as the case with the ATM AWPM project. Such programs are difficult or almost impossible to provide through the private sector and are widely funded collectively in the U.S. through taxes or charitable donations. The manuscript reports responses from a 2008 telephone survey of 51 randomly selected households in the New Jersey study areas. The mean (±standard error) annual WTP for an enhanced mosquito abatement program was $9.54±$2.90 per capita. Most respondents were willing to pay immediately through taxes (35%) or charitable donations (6%) or through one of these means in the future (43%); while 16% were unwilling to pay for additional abatement services. The study projected that the counties’ 1.01 million residents of the area surveyed would be willing to pay $9.61 million annually for an enhanced mosquito control program. Thus, collectively, residents would be willing to provide new funds, equivalent to 3.67 times the combined 2008 annual operating costs ($2.61 million) of the counties’ existing mosquito control programs. This accomplishment led to more refined methods to measure WTP, as well as, approaches to assess quality of life, changes in outdoor activities, and other outcomes impacted by mosquito control. These results reflect a positive attitude of residents toward mosquito control and their enjoyment of more outdoor activities while recognizing its role in the elimination of mosquitoes and prevention of the diseases that they transmit to humans and livestock.

Review Publications
Bartlett-Healy, K., Hamilton, G., Healy, S., Crepeau, T., Unlu, I., Farajollahi, A., Fonscea, D., Gaugler, R., Clark, G.G., Strickman, D.A. 2011. Source reduction behavior as an independent measurement of the impact of a public health education campaign in an integrated vector management program for the Asian tiger mosquito. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 8:1358-1367.

Unlu, I., Farajollahi, A., Healy, S., Crepeau, T., Bartlett-Healy, K., Williges, E., Strickman, D.A., Clark, G.G., Gaugler, R., Fonseca, D.M. 2011. Area-wide management of Aedes albopictus: choice of study sites based on geospatial characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and mosquito populations. Pest Management Science. 67:965-974.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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