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Although the news is dominated by coverage of the COVID-19 virus, those protecting public health are still hard at work doing their jobs. The diseases they work to prevent are still as relevant as they were three months ago, even though they’re not grabbing daily headlines.
It’s easy to be infected with malaria — it’s caused by a single mosquito bite. In the United States, it rarely exists compared to other diseases and viruses. Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated 2,000 cases of malaria in the U.S., most being infected travelers from other countries. In the same time period, there were 39 million cases of the common flu.
But in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, malaria is an everyday concern. These areas are the worst malaria breeding grounds in the world, which saw 219 million new cases in 2019 and 435,000 deaths — 70 percent of which were children younger than age 5.
The Washington, D.C.-based group Nothing But Nets — teaming up with politicians, the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and industries like pest control — has made dramatic efforts to stop the most startling malaria statistic: Every two minutes a child dies from malaria.
HOW IT STARTED. In 2006, Sports Illustrated Columnist Rick Reilly wrote a column (https://buff.ly/2V7AWtt) about malaria and the need for bed nets. In it, he challenged readers to donate so that nets could be purchased and shipped to various countries. That article was the informal creation of Nothing But Nets, which to date has raised more than $70 million and delivered 13 million bed nets to families in malaria-impacted countries.
“Nothing But Nets is the world’s largest grassroots campaign to save lives by fighting malaria. We know that malaria as a disease claims the life of a child every two minutes, so we feel it’s important to address the impact that malaria has across the globe,” said Chelsea Montes de Oca, the foundation’s officer of communications and digital media.
“We bring together the UN partners, advocates, celebrity champions and organizations in order to raise awareness, funds and voices to protect those families that are the most vulnerable. We’re really working together...we’re trying to coalesce all these different groups so we can be the generation that ends malaria for good.”
Bed nets are simple and cost effective to get to the masses. The organization uses long-lasting insecticidal bed nets (LLINs) because they are designed to protect families from malaria while sleeping. Unlike using products that are applied on the skin to protect a person, bed nets create a physical barrier against malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
In addition, the bed nets also kill mosquitoes because they are made with insecticide in the manufacturing process. This is a major force in the fight against malaria, especially in countries where mosquito infestations are year-round because temperatures never cool enough to make them seasonal pests.
THE DIFFERENCE. In the war against malaria, the statistics show Nothing But Nets has made a staggering impact throughout the world. Twenty years ago, only 2 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa was using bed nets. Today, more than half use them.
As a result, it’s estimated that the group, along with other organizations, has helped save more than 6.8 million lives from malaria since 2000. While helping raise the funds to secure the bed nets, Nothing But Nets also works with UN partners and local governments to ensure the nets reach residents in even the most remote areas.
According to Partnerships Officer Jonathan Kidwell, 25 percent of malaria cases in the world are in Nigeria. Kidwell says the foundation works with many global partners to get work done at the ground level.
Nothing But Nets advocates to get critical funding for the United Nations; the President’s Malaria Initiative; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The group also collaborates with the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
PEST CONTROL INDUSTRY. While a few pest control companies are doing great work with the organization, Kidwell is hoping to see more PMPs and manufacturers rally behind Nothing But Nets, especially as there are many ways to get involved with nominal effort.
Eco Pest Control in Richmond, Va., and Adam’s Pest Control in suburban Minneapolis are two companies helping push the organization’s efforts through fundraising and helping expand awareness to fellow PMPs as well as consumers.
“We have several pest control industry partners that we leverage the shared language that we have around the harmful impact of pests around the world,” Kidwell said. “Looking at their contributions to public health domestically we are able to support their messages internationally. Our partners do a few different things. We have a larger company like Syngenta or Bayer who have contributed product and then we have consumer-facing companies and PMPs.
“For PMPs as they are working with their customers to provide quality pest control service to those communities, they are raising awareness for Nothing But Nets,” Kidwell said. He added that companies can share messaging around the harmful impact of pests, which gives them an expansion of their public health messaging to include protecting families and saving lives through the Nothing But Nets campaign.
GET INVOLVED. Kidwell says it’s natural for pest control and Nothing But Nets to be partners in the fight against malaria.
“We have similar messaging and challenges and I think there’s a great opportunity for Nothing But Nets to be a cause partner to the pest control industry and we can help elevate their work to protect public health both in the U.S. and around the world.”
Nothing But Nets attempts to be as creative as possible in the way it partners with companies. For example, some companies donate $10 for every customer that signs up for a new mosquito service during Mosquito Awareness Week in June. That donation provides two nets to protect four people.
Suppliers and vendors also run promotions by placing orders on World Mosquito Day on Aug. 20 and donations are raised that way. In Pennsylvania, an insurance company raises money for Nothing But Nets through partial donations of entry fees from an annual 5K run/walk as well as registrations from a local youth camp.
“We’re really looking at how can we have these multi-faceted campaigns that have corporate contributions in some way, whether a customer unlocks a donation, or a company commits a certain amount of funds based on sales or other action.”
Companies can use the Charity Miles app to support the foundation as well. A technician working on a daily basis would raise .25 per mile with no out-of-pocket cost to the PMP, simply by connecting to the cause. The app’s sponsor picks up the donation.
The author is a Chicago-based freelancer.
Pest management companies continue to add mosquito services to their offerings and with good results. There are several aspects to a good Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program, one of which is the use of traps. This article will focus on how traps can be used in a mosquito service, what the benefits are and what factors to consider when choosing traps.
There are many kinds of mosquito traps on the market these days and they are designed to do different things. This is a key point. And although they may appear to be simple devices, the science behind them can be sophisticated.
The vast majority of traps attract and capture either 1) host-seeking female mosquitoes, i.e., those seeking a blood meal in order to produce eggs, or 2) gravid female mosquitoes, i.e., those looking for a standing water source in which to lay eggs (hence referred to as “gravid traps”). The former is a favorite of mosquito abatement districts and other government entities that, among other things, are tasked with performing surveillance for mosquito-transmitted diseases. The mosquitoes are captured alive and can then be tested, primarily for viruses such as West Nile, Zika and several others.
Conversely, a PMP mosquito service is focused on mosquito control and nuisance reduction, not pathogen/disease detection, so these types of traps may not be the trap of choice but they do offer some value to a service and customers in certain situations.
USES & BENEFITS. As mentioned previously, different types of traps are designed to do different things. You may decide to use one type of trap or multiple types. Whatever your decision, be sure to consult ahead of time with your technical team, distributor, sales representative or manufacturer to ensure that your needs, and the needs of your customers, will be met. Now let’s take a look at some of the uses and benefits of mosquito traps.
Pre-Service Surveillance and Population Assessment. Prior to beginning any treatments, traps can be run for a few nights to simply get an idea of the size of the mosquito population. Mosquitoes are not distributed randomly on a customer’s property and there may be certain “hot spots” on which to focus your treatments. Traps will help identify these. This technique is particularly valuable for large residential properties or commercial accounts such as golf courses, apartment complexes, large medical facilities, homeowners’ associations, etc. The host-seeking traps mentioned earlier are ideal for this but the gravid traps, which are usually less expensive, also may be used.
Identification of Mosquito Species. As with any pest issue, a thorough inspection and correct identification of the pests are critical to treatment success. A customer is likely to have more than one kind of mosquito bothering them. Different mosquito species have different aspects of their biology that impact our ability to control them. Examples include flight range (anywhere from roughly 100 yards to about 40 miles); type of water they breed in (from fairly clean water in artificial containers to water with high organic content to salt water); and what time of day they feed (most species feed around dusk and early evening while others, such as the voracious Asian tiger mosquito, feed primarily during the day).
You don’t need to be a mosquito specialist to recognize the main differences between the big three mosquito groups: Culex, Anopheles and Aedes. If you are lucky enough to have access to a technical specialist, you can get some good training. Another good resource is extension entomologists, which many universities have. They would be happy to help you with mosquito identification.
Service Evaluation. How do you evaluate your mosquito service? If you wait until customers call to complain, I believe that is too late. After you begin your service, occasional trapping for one to two days can give you a good idea of success.
Indicator of Missed Breeding Sites. Adults of the backyard container-breeding mosquitoes, such as the Asian tiger mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito, usually will only fly approximately 100-150 yards from the breeding site that produced them. Often, it is much less than this. In this situation, if you are catching females in a gravid trap (the type that attracts egg-laying mosquitoes), it may indicate that you have overlooked one or more breeding sites on that particular property. If you suspect that the mosquitoes in your customer’s yard may be breeding next door, take the opportunity to knock on the neighbor’s door and offer your service.
Mosquito Population Reduction. So far, we have talked mostly about traps being used for monitoring and surveillance. However, they also can be very effective in reducing mosquito populations, particularly for certain species such as the backyard container breeders. The traps of choice here are usually the gravid traps. Some of them actually trap and kill the female as she attempts to lay her eggs. Others contaminate the egg-laying female with minute quantities of two insecticides, one of which she disperses to other breeding sites, killing larvae and the second which kills her after a few days.
Note that on average, a female mosquito may lay between 150-200 eggs after each blood meal and under optimum conditions, she could do this six to eight times during her lifespan. So, the math says that trapping and killing just one female mosquito could result in 1,200 to 1,600 mosquitoes never seeing the light of day!
SELECTING A TRAP. So, how do you go about selecting a type of trap (or traps) to use in your service? It is worth repeating that you should consult with your technical specialist, distributor, sales representative or manufacturer to make sure your selection fits the company’s service goals as well as the needs of your customers. Key factors to consider include:
Use Patterns. Some traps are best for use in large commercial and urban mosquito control programs, while others work well in smaller residential or commercial settings.
Target Species. A few types are effective against almost all species but most target specific kinds. As an example, gravid traps are particularly useful against the backyard container breeders and some species of Culex mosquitoes.
Attractants Used. All mosquito traps use some type of attractant, whether for host-seeking mosquitoes or egg-laying ones. The range of attractants is quite variable. Some of them are included in the price of the trap, others are purchased separately, and still others represent a minor investment of time and inexpensive materials. One of the most common attractants is carbon dioxide, either in gas form or as dry ice. Other types of attractants include UV light, specific lures and “seasoned” water designed to attract egg-laying females.
Killing Mechanism. As mentioned earlier, many types of traps catch mosquitoes alive so that they can be identified, possibly tested for virus or evaluated for insecticide resistance. Some traps use glueboards to capture and kill; these are pesticide-free and great for sensitive accounts. Other types use pesticides in various ways to accomplish the job.
Energy Requirements. Many types of traps have no energy requirements whatsoever while others require batteries or a plug-in power source. If you use traps that require an energy source, remember to consider this extra cost when pricing your service.
Cost. This varies widely, ranging from approximately $20 per trap to more than $1,000. Most of the mosquito traps that would be considered for use by pest management professionals are not the more expensive ones. Consult with your distributors and suppliers on trap availability and pricing.
SUMMARY. The use of mosquito traps as part of an Integrated Mosquito Management service is becoming more popular in our industry. And, as the demand for mosquito control services continues to grow, so will the need for more diverse, effective tools. As you ramp up for the mosquito season, remember that using traps can save you time and money, as well as make you money. They also can help reduce the environmental impact by eliminating excessive or even unnecessary pesticide applications.
Author’s note: I thank Gene White, B.C.E., global director of vector management, Rentokil, for his contributions to this article.
The author is vice president, technical products and services, AP&G; Captain (retired), U.S. Navy; and past president, American Mosquito Control Association.
As a former high school athlete, Rolly Parrott, owner of Professional Pest Control, Atlantic, Iowa, knows the joys of sports and he values the important lessons he’s learned while competing. As a single father, he also understands the financial sacrifice it requires from parents.
“I coached my son Korey’s (now age 17) Little League team for seven years and I noticed that a lot of the kids didn’t have proper cleats or gloves,” Parrott recalled. “We had kids whose parents didn’t live together, or who had large families and they didn’t have the money to go to [sporting goods stores]. Plus, kids outgrow their equipment quickly.”
So, in 2014 Parrott launched The Trojan Sports Locker, a venue in which families donate used sports gear, and families in need pick up the equipment free of cost. The program began when Parrott launched a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/377786362378005/, and began distributing sports gear from his home (the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department has since provided him a building for the Trojan Sports Locker).
“It’s helped get kids involved in sports and it’s given parents an opportunity to get their kids involved in sports,” Parrott said. “A lot of sports start up in the fall when parents are already spending money on clothes and school supplies, so this takes one financial burden off them.”
Parrott said he’s seen donations come full circle. “I remember kids being really happy to get a new Nike shirt or Under Armour cleats, and then a year or two later they return and are happy to donate some of their used equipment.”
Parrott recently took inventory and said the Trojan Sports Locker now has more than 300 pairs of shoes (baseball, softball, football, track, soccer and basketball) as well as clothing, equipment and even bubble gum.
A service professional for another pest control company the last five-plus years, Parrott launched his pest control business, Professional Pest Control, this past February. He provides residential and commercial services throughout Southwest Iowa and is kept busy with spiders, bed bugs, crickets, fleas, bats and rodents. “I want to do a really good job eliminating people’s pest problems and showing customers that I am concerned about them and their pest problems. When I get a service request, I look to jump on it right away, and get the job done.”
The All Beetle Ready-To-Use trapping system from Insects Limited has an improved design for easy deployment, the company says. The no-mess system comes with a pre-loaded pheromone cartridge that snaps into the base of the trap for a one-step install. Once the cartridge is in place, it is ready to be placed against the wall on a floor or shelf and it will immediately begin monitoring for pest beetles, Insects Limited reports.
The combination of food attractant and pheromone gel that is in the cartridge contains the pheromone for flour beetles, cigarette beetles, warehouse beetles, rice weevils as well as a food-based attractant for saw-toothed grain beetles and up to 20 other species of stored food beetles. The firm says the product features:
Bell Labs recently introduced the Ambush iQ bait station sensing tray, the latest addition to Bell’s Sensing product line.
Bell Labs says iQ products provide PMPs with previously unknown rodent data, allowing technicians to spend time conducting rodent control service instead of checking empty traps. All iQ products have fully integrated, weatherproof rodent sensors, batteries and Bluetooth antennae. Bell Labs says iQ products also provide PMPs with the first scalable rodent monitoring system that utilizes the same products currently used in their everyday rodent service. The Ambush iQ joins the full iQ line-up with sensors, including Express iQ, T-Rex iQ and 24/7 iQ. These products include secured stations, low-profile stations, multiple catch mouse traps and rat traps.
American Bio-Systems offers PMPs several products to assist in their cleaning service offerings. BioMop Plus, a combination floor cleaner/biological degrader specially formulated for food-service accounts, can replace customers’ current mop products. The firm says it is a powerful microbial formula that “digests” organic waste and grease. After mopping, unused mop water is poured into problem drains.
Additionally, DrainGel is a powerful biological drain cleaner and its advanced microbial formula removes organic waste and odors in food-service accounts, American Bio-Systems says. DrainGel has two times the bacteria count as competitive products and incorporates advanced technology, the manufacturer reports.
1st Defence Industries, a Canadian-based company that provides pest management products, announced a partnership with Target Specialty Group. The partnership gives Target Specialty Products the exclusive rights to sell 1st Defence Industries’ industrial-grade pest monitors, lures and traps. The partnership also provides the exclusivity for Target Specialty Products for a line of all-natural pest deterrents, including rodent and wildlife products, as well as its Rat Dust Yard Gard product.
“We are truly excited to work with Target Specialty Products to offer an extensive line of products to customers,” said Randall Sanford, founder and president at 1st Defence Industries. “Target Specialty Products can now expand its offering of eco-friendly, pesticide-free, non-toxic, child and pet safe pest control solutions to their customers directly.”
1st Defence is based in British Columbia with manufacturing facilities in Ontario and the U.S.
Coxreels’ new line of three industrial duty LED lights is available on the PC13 (Power Cord) cord reels. The LED lights feature a variety of industrial-grade features and options, including a 50,000-hour rating, internal light diffusers and shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses. Coxreels’ LED lights also feature adjustable steel hooks for hands-free placement. Whether PMPs are looking for the compact LED light feature, the LED light with the additional power source, or the industrial-duty, UL Listed LED light, these reels are ideal for a variety of applications.