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How to Manage Pests

Mosquitoes

Adult western malaria mosquito, Anopheles freeborni.

Managing Mosquitoes in Stormwater Treatment Devices

Section 1: Introduction

Published 2004

Sections of this publication:

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  1. Introduction
  2. Mosquitoes and Mosquito Control, and Larviciding Versus Preventative Engineering
  3. Type and Location of Treatment BMPs
  4. Mosquito Suppression through Design and Maintenance
  5. Basic Guidelines for Mosquito Management
  6. Conclusion and References
  7. For More Information

Section 1: Introduction

The federal Clean Water Act, as amended in 1987, requires states to develop and implement nonpoint source pollution management programs (see Copeland 1999, 2003). These mandated programs require that certain measures be taken to abate pollutants carried by rainwater and urban (i.e., dry weather) runoff, herein collectively referred to as stormwater runoff. A principal component of stormwater programs is the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), a term first adopted in the 1970s to represent actions and practices used to reduce the flow rates and the constituent concentrations in runoff (WEF and ASCE 1998).

The regulatory pressure to achieve increasingly higher levels of pollution abatement gave birth to a burgeoning industry that specializes in developing stormwater treatment devices based on the latest available technologies. These "treatment" BMPs are engineered to maximize the capture and removal of target pollutants from stormwater, often with the added benefit of reducing excessive downstream flows. Hundreds of designs have been developed across the United States, including many proprietary devices, and in some cases existing structures such as flood-control basins and constructed wetlands may be modified to function as treatment BMPs to satisfy local needs.

Unfortunately, although "best" for managing runoff, these devices often provide aquatic habitats suitable for mosquitoes and other vector species as an unintended consequence of their implementation (see CH2M Hill 1999; Chanda and Shisler 1980; Dorothy and Staker 1990; Florida Coordinating Council on Mosquito Control 1998; Kluh et al. 2002; McLean 2000; Metzger et al. 2002, 2003; O’Carroll 1978; Santana et al. 1994; Schimmenti 1979; Schmidt 1980; Smith and Shisler 1981). In this publication, "treatment BMP" and "treatment device" are used interchangeably.

Public health and safety is a major component of all stormwater management programs. Flood control and the reduction of waterborne pathogens are high priorities, yet mosquito management is often overlooked. Mosquito management is essential to prevent disease transmission and maintain quality of life and must be integrated into every stormwater program.

This publication provides basic guidelines for mosquito management that are relevant to the location, design, and operation of proprietary and nonproprietary stormwater treatment devices. Unfortunately, the rapid growth and evolution of stormwater programs and BMP designs combined with the tremendous number of local factors that may influence mosquito production at any given site preclude any "cure-all" recommendations or solutions. Careful implementation of these guidelines will help suppress mosquito breeding while reducing health risks and discomfort, lowering costs associated with mosquito abatement, and lessening legal liability.

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[UC Peer Reviewed]

Managing Mosquitoes in Stormwater Treatment Devices, UC ANR Publication 8125
Marco E. Metzger, Vector-Borne Disease Section, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento

Copyright © 2004 The Regents of the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. All rights reserved.

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