The talk lately in the mosquito industry has been about the
spread of Aedes aegypti and ways to suppress the populations in
California. One of the pieces of equipment that districts
have been utilizing to fight this invasive mosquito is the A1
Super Duty larvicide sprayer. The sprayer combines high volumes
of air, with low volumes of finely atomized liquid larvicide to
treat backyard-breeding habitats in counties that have Aedes
It is the end of an era. District staff has been hard at
work removing everything from our recently sold property in
Redwood City to the building we are leasing a few doors down from
our current office in Burlingame. Everything is fitting
nicely in the new facility and it has been great having a place
to store our airboat inside. This move has opened more
parking for our staffs’ personal vehicles, which has created more
parking spaces for the public to utilize at our main
office. It is sad to see the old building go but it is much
more convenient having our entire di
In March, our district was contacted by a project manager of a
commercial construction project to conduct an inspection for
potential mosquito breeding sites. Cities require approval
from different entities to sign off on projects before they are
finalized to ensure they are not causing issues for particular
agencies. If we identify potential problems during our walk
through, the project manager will work with the construction
company to fix the issues. During these inspections, we
typically find potential breeding habitats to occur in the storm
drain system. In the
Like many of you, we are keeping a close eye on the latest news
about the COVID-19 outbreak. The health and safety of our staff
and of the residents within our service area is our first
priority. Following guidance issued by our local health
department, we have made the difficult decision to cancel
the District’s annual open house.
While we are all disappointed to miss the event this year, I hope
to see everyone safe and healthy at next year’s open house.
District staff are assisting in a collaborative study on a
mosquito parasite that is spearheaded by researchers from
Stanford University and the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
The parasite is a ciliate type of protozoa, Lambornella
clarki, which is a single-celled animal that lives in water.
Lambornella clarki is found in water that collects in
tree holes, and can enter the body of the mosquito larvae of
Aedes sierrensis, the western tree-hole mosquito. Inside
the mosquito larvae, it multiplies and kills the hosts.
In February, district staff participated in CPR and First Aid
training that included an online course with simulated scenarios
and a day of performing CPR and First Aid on test dummies. Every
2 years our staff renews their certification that helps keep them
safe and prepared to assist others in case of an
emergency. Since our staff does spend a portion of their
workday in remote parts of San Mateo County, we find this
training to be of the utmost importance to their health and
On March 4th, District Manager Dr. Chindi Peavey and trustees
Donna Rutherford and Wade Leschyn, along with other members of
the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of
California, went to Sacramento to talk to our local
legislators about the importance of mosquito control in
California. Curious what they had to say? See this year’s
Legislative Day materials.
Rats aren’t the only rodent pests Recently our district
received a gopher service request from a homeowner in Pacifica
looking for advice on how to eliminate them from their
property. During the inspection, Vector Control Technician
Ryan Thorndike identified multiple gopher burrows on the caller’s
front lawn. This gopher problem is affecting the whole
neighborhood and the local park nearby.
On January 26-29, the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of
California (MVCAC) held their annual meeting in San Diego.
District laboratory staff presented on some of the projects they
conducted during the previous year.
The SMCMVCD Laboratory presented three scientific posters at
The District staff has been hard at work inspecting and treating
their seasonal rainwater impounds for mosquitoes such as
Aedes squamiger, the winter salt marsh mosquito. This
mosquito can fly up to 20 miles. It is an aggressive, day-biting
mosquito, and can be a major pest to humans. Throughout San Mateo
County, there are 245 sites that are inspected weekly by our
staff starting now and continuing into May, depending on how much
rainfall we get during this time period.
In December, we started working on reducing the number of site
visits in the neighborhood where Aedes aegypti was
discovered in 2013. We are taking a cautious approach to this
reduction by reclassifying the sites that have not had any
mosquito detections in the last 2 years. This change will allow
us to continue to view the sites in our database, but they will
not fall under our current inspection protocol of 4 visits a
year. Currently we have 888 Ae. aegypti sites in this
Living in California, we often welcome the rainy season as a sign
that we won’t have to turn the water off while we soap up in the
shower, but did you know that there are many insects that welcome
the rain as well? Outside, the influx of water may trigger some
insects to hatch from eggs, others to begin searching for food,
and still others to spread out and seek new places to live.
On November 15th, our district hosted a Bed Bug Training with the
City of San Mateo’s Code Enforcement Division. The training was
provided by Nader Shatara who is a Senior Environmental Health
Inspector for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The
City of San Mateo Code Enforcement recently took over responding
to bed bug complaints for properties that are 4 units or more.
The biggest concern with Bed Bugs is they feed on humans while
they sleep and can cause allergic reactions because of the saliva
injected during feedings.
In November, Field Supervisor Casey Stevenson and Vector control
Technician Walter Bruj attended The West Coast Rodent Academy in
Irvine, CA at the University of California’s South Coast Research
and Extension Center. The workshop included lectures, hand-on
activities and break-out sessions with industry professionals
that helped us gain a better understanding of rodent ecology and
integrated pest management (IPM).
Everyone likes to be cozy in the winter, and neighborhood
wildlife is no exception. Animals like raccoons, opossums, and
skunks can find it hard to resist the tempting warmth of your
attic or crawl space. Now is a great time to check your
vents and other openings to make sure they’re tightly sealed
against animal intruders. Don’t forget areas under decks and
porches and on top of roofs – skunks are great at digging and
raccoons love to climb. Even your pet door can provide access to
an inquisitive animal if left unsecured at night.