If anyone knows about growing pains, it’s Ed Burnett, Director of Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District in Nampa, ID. In just a couple of years, his district’s operational area grew from just 25 square miles to more than 670 miles today. The district had two hard-hitting years of West Nile Virus to thank for the growth spurt. As a result, Ed’s need for manpower has also grown, from two full-time and two part-time employees to five full-time and 25 seasonal employees; not to mention a fleet that grew from two trucks to 13.

“It’s a challenge,” Ed concedes. “We’re still in a growing stage. We’re still trying to find larvae production sites and we have to adjust our equipment and personnel as we find more sites.”

Canyon County MAD must also overcome many geographical challenges in its spray applications. Planted in the middle of the district is a 25-square-mile federal wildlife refuge, a very active breeding ground for mosquitoes. The district faces restrictions on which type of products and chemicals it can apply in order to maintain the integrity of the federally-managed wildlife area.

In addition, two major river systems – the Boise River and Snake River – run directly through the middle of the district, coming together to form an area of mosquito-breeding marshlands that also happens to be a wildlife management area. On top of it all, Canyon County is a leading national producer of specialty crops and the MAD must remain cautious of not interrupting this multi-million dollar industry.

Ed’s philosophy in approaching mosquito control is to be “open and excited about using new materials. It’s beneficial to us and to the industry. You’ve got to try new things.”

In supporting this philosophy, Canyon County recently made the switch to employ ADAPCO®’s Monitor 4 and GeoPro Data Center. Ed cites the technologies’ mobile GPS and digital backup capabilities will be especially helpful for tracking applications in specialty crop areas to map where they did and did not spray. The ability to create “no spray zones” is especially helpful for its population of leafcutter bees, which they rely on to pollinate alfalfa seeds, a major industry that could be destroyed if pesticides were mistakenly applied.

In addition to deploying cutting-edge technology, Canyon County is eager to test the newest products on the market: “We have a limited supply of tools to manage mosquitoes, so anytime a new product comes out I want to try it.” Ed will soon begin field trials using Four Star® CRG (Controlled Release Granule) and FFast® Bti.

As a political advocate and active member of numerous professional trade associations, Ed believes it is important that the industry stays in tuned with political leaders to keep them aware of its challenges. He believes both sides have good common ground, stating, “We all have the same goal: to provide a service to protect public health and to be stewards of the environment.”

He adds, “As we get into more of the regulatory atmosphere with environmental issues and advocacy groups, we need to project a good image of professionalism and well-trained staff to the people who pay our bills.” For property tax-funded Canyon County, it is the citizens from whom Ed seeks feedback. He is pleased that an overwhelming majority of the feedback he receives is positive: citizens feel their tax dollars are well spent, often exclaiming, “We see your trucks out in the county more than county sheriffs!”

Operations Supervisor, Carrie Maes conducting Bti larvicide treatment to pond.

Operations Supervisor, Carrie Maes conducting Bti larvicide treatment to pond.

 

boom spray

Boom Spray Operations with Bifenthrin applied to athletic field for control of Aedes vexans.

 

full time staff

Full time staff (from left to right) – Ed Burnett, District Director; Julie Brown: ULV Supervisor; Teri Babcock: Director’s Assistant; Carrie Maes: Operations Supervisor; (back row) Tom Harrelson: Maintenance; Mike Moses: Larvicide Field Supervisor; Jane Puyear: 0ffice Manager (front)