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Surveillance & Monitoring

Surveillance Programs

The Collier Mosquito Control District (CMCD) performs a number of surveillance and monitoring functions that are integral to providing quality mosquito control to residents of the District. All of these functions can be divided into two major areas, mosquito surveillance and environmental monitoring.

Mosquito surveillance is an essential part of any mosquito control program, especially CMCD's. It allows the District to identify the extent of the mosquito problem in and around the District and to plan daily mosquito control operations. The information from surveillance programs provides a basis for evaluating the efficiency of control operations, the data necessary to adhere to state rules and regulations regarding the justification for treatments, and a foundation for measuring the potential for transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. The CMCD relies on several methods of surveillance to monitor mosquito populations in the county. All of these monitoring activities operate for the entire mosquito season, which might last as little as six months or as many as twelve. Mosquito surveillance consists of landing rate counts and New Jersey light traps for monitoring adults, larval sampling for monitoring breeding sites, and telephone service requests to monitor both adults and larvae.


The surveillance programs conducted by the CMCD depend primarily on four full-time inspectors. Seven days a week, beginning as early as 5 a.m., during the mosquito season the inspectors collect samples from, and maintain, approximately 54 New Jersey Light Traps within the District. They also count mosquitoes at almost 100 landing rate stations. The inspectors travel throughout the district examining hundreds of breeding locations such as roadside ditches and swamps. They sample these areas for mosquito larvae and treat them with larvicide when necessary. The inspectors also collect data from tide gauges near the coast and rain gauges throughout the District. When a District resident calls with a concern that mosquitoes are being produced on their property, the inspectors will investigate the matter. They travel to the residentís home and inspect it for anything that may have become breeding habitat for mosquitoes, such as dirty gutters, and help the home owner to alleviate the problem. The inspector may also investigate whether adult mosquitoes are a problem at that location. The inspectors are an integral part of the operation of the Collier Mosquito Control District; the data they collect is what is tabulated and analyzed to determine whether control operations will be performed.

Landing Rate Counts

Landing rates are used to measure adult mosquito activity in a specific area. This is achieved by counting the number of mosquitoes that land on a person in a given amount of time, usually one minute. The counts are performed by the same inspector at each location for consistency. This is important because mosquitoes react differently to each individual. Approximately 100 landing rate stations are located throughout the 401 sq. miles of the CMCD. Each station is counted daily by 9 a.m. throughout the entire mosquito season. This count is effective for monitoring salt-marsh mosquitoes that bite in the early morning and during the day. Occasionally, the district performs night counts for fresh-water mosquitoes. This helps the district to determine the extent of the area that needs to be sprayed, or whether an isolated portion needs to be treated.

New Jersey Light Traps

The CMCD uses New Jersey Light Traps throughout the district to monitor adult populations. The traps are located in 54 sites throughout the 401 sq. miles of the district. Inspectors pick the traps up seven days a week for the duration of the mosquito season. The collections are brought back to the lab where they are counted and identified by 9 a.m.

The daily information from light trap collections and landing rate counts is plotted on a large map of the District as soon as the information is available. This graphical representation of the mosquito populations within the District makes it easy for the Executive Director and the Director of Operations to determine if, and where there are mosquito problems. This facilitates the decision making process and allows control operations to be scheduled quickly and accurately to provide fast relief from mosquitoes to District residents.

Larval Sampling

Larval sampling is another important technique the CMCD uses to monitor mosquito production in the District. Surveying locations that contain larvae helps the District to determine mosquito breeding sites in the area and where larviciding is necessary. There are hundreds of breeding locations in the District that are routinely sampled including; birdbaths, roadside ditches, retention ponds, fresh water swamps, and vast salt marsh areas. Inspectors visit these sites and collect larvae using a dipper to determine if larvae are present.

Telephone Service Requests

Telephone service requests also provide CMCD with important information that can help mosquito surveillance. The district has a telephone number that citizens can call to inform the district about possible problems in their neighborhood. There are times when a request notifies the district to a problem in a particular area that was not monitored by light traps or landing rate counts. However, many service requests refer to problems produced by the callers' own activities. For example, people who have birdbaths, plants, or open containers in their yard can contribute to mosquito production. Other factors that can influence mosquito production in a particular area are water buckets, tires, wheelbarrows, and storm water retention areas.

Environmental Monitoring

Another area that is important to CMCD and routinely monitored is the environment. Environmental changes, such as rainfall and tide levels, play a very important role in mosquito production. Knowledge of environmental conditions allows CMCD personnel to anticipate changes in mosquito population levels. The CMCD monitors environmental changes through rain gauges, tide gauges, and weather stations.

Rain gauges are used to determine the amount of rainfall the county receives. Rainfall totals are helpful in determining the level of mosquito production being monitored. Increased rainfall can mean an increase in mosquito production. Rain gauges are located throughout the 401 sq. miles of the district from the Lee County line south to Marco Island, and east to Desoto Blvd. in the Golden Gate Estates area. The gauges are capable of holding 12" of water and are monitored daily during the mosquito season.

Tide gauges are used to determine tide levels in the coastal areas of the county. Tidal activity influences salt marsh flooding and dictates when areas will need to be inspected for larvae. Tide levels can also identify changes in water level caused by rain and wind that may result in mosquito production in salt marshes and mangrove swamps. The CMCD monitors tidal fluctuations through various resources. Inspectors monitor low-lying swamps and marshes for tidal flooding on a regular basis. The District also utilizes the newspaper tide forecast, the N.O.A.A. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) tide predictions, and N.O.A.A. online tide information from a tide gauge located at the Naples pier.

Further weather information is monitored through the CMCD's own weather station, as well as television weather forecasts. The district also depends on AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System), which is the airport weather information service. This weather information is important in planning aerial adulticiding operations, since they utilize the wind to help disperse the insecticide being applied. Additionally, if weather conditions are inappropriate applications may be cancelled.