Our seasonal catch basin program has been up and running since
mid-April. Our first seasonal employee started on April 20th.
Currently we have six seasonal catch basin drivers working from
East Palo Alto to Daly City. On an average day, one driver can
treat anywhere between 400 and 800 catch basins. Basins are
treated with BVA-2, a material similar to mineral oil which coats
the surface of the water and prevents mosquito larvae in the
water from breathing. The material dissipates after a few days.
In May, our staff sprayed 37,821 catch basins.
District staff has been doing a great job adapting
to the ever-changing coronavirus guidelines. Currently our vector
control technicians are showing up to work with a fresh uniform
on each day, getting in their work trucks at 8 am, and heading
out to the field. We have a staff meeting online twice a week
using the Microsoft Teams app to help coordinate work for the
week. This has been a great feature because gives us the ability
to connect with all of our staff at one time in a virtual meeting
The Asian giant hornet may be all over the news, but residents of
San Mateo County are far more likely to encounter our local
species of bees and wasps. As the weather warms up, these
insects become more active and more numerous in yards.
Although capable of stinging, most species are non-aggressive,
and only sting defensively when their nests are threatened.
Surveillance for West Nile virus began in California in
mid-April. The District protects residents from this
mosquito-borne disease with control methods that target
mosquitoes in the larval stage, as well as mosquito population
monitoring, disease surveillance and public education.
You may have heard the news lately that a new invasive insect
dubbed the “Murder Hornet” has been spotted in the United States.
They are more commonly known as Asian giant hornets (Vespa
mandarinia), and are the largest species of hornet in the
world. The queens can be almost 5 cm long (nearly 2 inches) and
they nest almost exclusively underground. This species is native
to temperate and tropical east Asia and far east Russia where
they live in low mountainous regions and forests, completely
While your mind is likely on a different virus right now, San
Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District, along with the
Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC) and
mosquito and vector control districts across the state, are
observing California Mosquito and Vector Awareness Week this
week. While they do NOT transmit COVID-19, mosquitoes do transmit
other diseases, including West Nile virus.
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
As Californians hunker down for another month of
sheltering in place, many may choose to spend more time in their
own backyards or take on some neglected outdoor projects. The
District would like to remind residents to be aware that there
may be dormant threats from vectors around residential areas and
that they should take some precautionary measures to protect
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.