Bay County Mosquito
Midland County Mosquito
Saginaw County Mosquito
Tuscola County Mosquito
The unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 continued to be a focus as we began and ended the second quarter. Most of our staff continued to work from home (per Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders) at least until our spring aerial treatment program began in early/mid-April. At that point wearing face masks and social distancing were the norm. COVID-19 logistics for operating the facility, interacting with staff, and interacting with the public were developed and put into place. Protocols were adjusted in accordance with the GEOs.
Attempts to begin aerial treatment on April 13 were delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions (wind) and it took 11 days to complete aerial treatment due to weather delays. Treatment for 2020 was completed on 52,434 acres of flooded woodlots. Overall treatment results were successful with over 85% mortality in test sites.
The EGLE Scrap Tire Grant contract was signed providing funding up to $8,000 towards two scrap tire recycling events hosted by Mosquito Control this summer. The first tire drive on May 30 was a success with 1,005 tires collected. Drivers were instructed to drop tires onto a pile themselves to maintain social distancing. Staff members were on hand to help if needed.
STEM-based mosquito presentations provided to first grade students in the Bay City Public Schools, Bangor Schools, and Pinconning Area Schools were cancelled this year due to COVID-19.
Due to COVID-19, seasonal staff interviewing/hiring continued well into June. Four training sessions were held for all 31 seasonal employees on May 13, May 18, June 2, and June 24. The last two training sessions were set up for brand new employees. These training sessions covered COVID-19 adaptations, PPE, new protocols, proper pesticide application requirements, integrated mosquito management, Bay County work rules, and the various job functions at Bay County Mosquito Control.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions on MDARD’s certified pesticide applicator exam for new employees, accommodations were made for our new Trainer, Kristy, to test new applicators at our facility on June 2 and June 24. Test results were mailed to MDARD.
Experienced seasonal staff began work on May 14, which was followed by heavy rains that fell on May 17-18 causing a wide-spread mosquito hatch, flooding, and road closures. Larviciding shifts worked overtime for a week responding to flooded habitats to limit emergence of adult mosquitoes. The start of adulticiding (fogging for adult mosquitoes) was delayed due to excessive rains/flooding/road closures so began on May 26. Some crews worked overtime hours to combat adult mosquito emergence.
Larviciding crews began with training and treatment of standing water in roadside ditches, catch basins (approximately 14,000 treated in early June), flooded fields and flooded woodlots. No private property inspections to check standing water for mosquito larvae were performed without prior approval of residents. We encouraged residents to contact BCMC to schedule yard inspections. If a resident scheduled a yard inspection, a technician always called prior to arrival.
The treatment season began rainy, but by mid-June, hot, dry conditions prevailed and counts of the floodwater mosquito Aedes vexans were quite low; however, the cattail marsh mosquito Coquillettidia perturbans, began to increase especially along the Saginaw Bay corridor.
Outreach through the media was conducted regularly – discussing aerial treatment and Mosquito Control’s response to local flooding (at the same time Midland County experienced dam failures); the Bay County Facebook page has been regularly used to provide outreach to residents on Mosquito Control activities; the Mosquito Control website is updated weekly with adult mosquito surveillance data and West Nile virus data.
As of June 30, nearly 2,000 mosquitoes have been sent to MSU for testing of West Nile virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis disease presence; results are pending. As of June 30, 2 birds have been tested in-house with the Vector Test for testing of West Nile virus presence with 0 testing positive.
Mary McCarry, Biologist
An eventful season is an understatement for 2020! A pandemic and a 500 year flooding event, and it is still only July.
COVID-19 has provided a number of challenges regarding staffing levels and the ability to carry out field work due to social distancing requirements. The most significant impact this season from COVID was the inability to hire new employees due to no MDARD testing opportunities. As such, we had only half the normal field crew through the demanding spring treatment operation. Nevertheless, the dedicated team of returning technicians (those who had current registration/certification) were able to treat about 2/3 of the flooded woodlot acreage of an average year when we are fully staffed.
When the state finally provided a means to test new hires we were most appreciative. By that time we were able to bring onboard four of the eight who were originally processed to hire. After having to wait six weeks, a number of them had moved on to other opportunities. So at the height of 2020 staffing we were about 75%.
In May came 4+ inches of rain, which caused significant flooding and the eventual failure of two dams in Midland County. The Tittabawasee river crested to over 35 feet, the highest level ever recorded. Areas along the lakes and rivers downstream from the dams suffered catastrophic property loss with many homes a total loss. Knowing that our staffing was only half capacity, we knew we would not be able to effectively deal with the coming mosquito populations. Therefore, efforts began to arrange a first – an aerial operation to treat adult mosquitoes. Thanks to assistance from Dow Chemical, a proposal for the operation was approved at the highest level at the state and we received calls from MDARD, EGLE and DHHS to inquire how they could assist us. We were most grateful for the support from these agencies, which made it possible to arrange such a large operation in quick order. Clarke was selected as the contractor (with the aerial capability provided by Dynamic Aviation), and two treatments were carried out to 120,000 acres of Midland County in June. We were most grateful to Clarke/Dynamic for the provision of such a critical service at a time of considerable need. Given the staffing difficulties and scale of mosquito populations from the flood, this was the only option to provide substantial relief to the county.
Interestingly, the trapping results revealed that Aedes canadensis was the most abundant species following the floods. This species was also the most abundant last season. Aedes vexans were captured, but not as abundantly as in 2017 following the June flood. Perhaps the seasonal timing of the May flood in 2020 favored Ae. canadensis over vexans.
As we enter into July we have not seen significant rain in a number of weeks. Cocquilletidia perturbans has made its annual appearance in honor of Independence Day, and we are still capturing the residual of the flood in the form of spring and summer floodwater species. There is still a lot of season left so we are wise to not lose our vigilance. With our staffing back down to about 50% due to loss of some personnel, we are vulnerable to any significant flooding rains that might still come this season.
The 2020 season is definitely one that will go down in infamy.
Carl Doud, Director
“I hope this update finds you well and prosperous.
The challenges continue in 2020, the pandemic is ongoing and we are seeing what works, what needs improvement, and what has changed. This includes at home and of course our mosquito control work. We have all heard the phrase, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” which certainly applies to mosquitoes and the threats they pose. This season has delivered exceptional nuisance levels resulting from damaging floodwaters, followed by a very warm June with temperatures well above normal. Along with June’s heat, dry weather moved in favoring an active year for West Nile virus (WNV). I would like to thank SCMAC’s staff for the outstanding job they have done during this challenging time, thank you! Our staff makes this public health effort possible even during a pandemic.
This very active mosquito season has us attending to a variety of larval habitats, from natural flood water habitats to man-made ones such as catch basins, retention ponds, and tires. Our community ULV treatment has been working overtime attending to what has been a “healthy” nuisance population after May’s regional flooding. While we fared better than other counties, a lot of water flowed through our five rivers and into the Saginaw River, resulting in substantial flooding along many of those adjoining rivers. As we enter July, we are beginning to see the ease in the floodwater nuisance, while permanent water nuisance mounts with the emergence of summer cattail and Anopheles mosquitoes.
Concerning arbovirus activity, the hot, dry conditions that persisted through much of June are forecasted to continue into July, favors WNV activity. Operations and surveillance are targeting Culex populations - the primary vectors of WNV. We have completed one county-wide treatment of catch basins, which are prolific Culex habitats, and are just starting our second treatment. Neglected swimming pool, retention pond, and sewage lagoon surveillance and treatment is also slated to begin. These habitats routinely generate multiple generations of Culex. Arbovirus surveillance is ongoing and we continue to look for a variety of mosquito-borne diseases within our mosquito populations. We would again like to thank Dr. Ned Walker’s lab at MSU for again providing virus testing.
It feels good to talk about mosquitoes, but I would be remiss if I did not discuss the impact of COVID-19 on our operations. We have put multiple precautions in place and are doing our best to keep staff and the public safe. Increased use of PPE, disinfectants, and sanitizers are likely the norm everywhere along with social distancing and mask use. Control operations have changed to allow for individual truck use and to forego those assignments that do not allow for social precautions. Our scrap tire program illustrates these efforts, as we are not holding tire drives throughout the county this year, yet we are allowing scheduled, no-contact tire drop-offs. The focus of our community education efforts are primarily through digital and social media engagement, with us now on Twitter and Instagram. The community has been rather receptive and understanding of the necessary changes and for that, we are appreciative.
Again, thank you to our employees for all their hard work and perseverance.
William Stanuszek, Director
Spring 2020 has come and gone and we are now entering our hot summer days. Our crew was allowed to start returning on April 20th, just about a month later than our normal start up time this season due to the COVID-19. We slowly were able to bring back more technicians by spacing out the startup and ending shift times. By May 4, we had our crew of 26 technicians ready to go.
As many of you already know, Kim Green retired as Director. Her last official date worked was March 20th. Larry Zapfe, former Equipment Tech, was selected as the new Director. Larry was replaced by our former night foreman, Pat Dennis. His knowledge is proving to be a great asset to our garage work.
We hope you are all doing well and adjusting to the “New Normal.”
Larry Zapfe, Director