There’s no doubting Bill Stanuszek is an expert in mosquito control and he’s also an expert in the geographical intricacies of Saginaw County. He’s been with Saginaw Mosquito Abatement Commission since 2005 and director since 2014. In this role, Bill’s focus is on continuous improvement through an integrated mosquito management program that involves source reduction, education through community engagement and continually trialing new products and technologies.

Unique Habitat

To understand Saginaw County’s mosquito control challenges, you must understand the county itself consists of 816 square miles of agriculturally-dominated mosquito habitat. Sitting at the heart of Saginaw Valley, the water (a lot of it) comes through the Saginaw River into Saginaw Bay. “Even if we don’t get direct rainfall, it will flood,” says Bill. There is a national wildlife refuge, which is home to a variety of migratory waterfowl, in the heart of Saginaw County that covers many square miles. This habitat produces flooding events and ferociously-biting mosquitoes. In addition to its border-to-border flood waters, Saginaw County represents a unique mosaic of mosquito habitats including highly urbanized areas, which harbor neglected pools, backyard containers and catch basins.

Continuous Improvement

Saginaw Mosquito Abatement Commission is constantly seeking to enhance its protection to residents by “operating on what the past tells us; looking at what is happening in the present; and responding and preparing for future,” says Bill. In preparing for the hot, dry summer months of July and August, West Nile Virus will become the priority, with the goal to treat catch basins in urban areas, towns and villages in part with a one-and-done treatment that will result in season long control.

Saginaw’s other current focus is on improving its use of extended release products for “more of a larvicide punch.” Bill is currently relying on Bti, which he calls “the gold standard of all larvicides”, and with the addition of extended release larvicides, substantially more of the mosquitoes can be controlled prior to emergence. Saginaw is also increasing its arsenal for adult control in urban areas with high resistance potential, namely by incorporating DeltaGard  into its integrated mosquito control program. Bill was pleased to have Saginaw selected by Bayer to test DeltaGard, stating, “We always want to test new products and to be at the forefront of our profession. Before I buy, I want to use it and test it. I’m confident DeltaGard will offer benefits for resistance management and WNV control in urban areas.”

What excites Bill next is the idea of bringing GIS and workflow to handheld field reporting devices. He is considering incorporating ADAPCO®’s GeoPro as his “own data management number cruncher, 24/7, to increase productivity and the ability to predict and build a better modeling system.”

Community Engagement and Involvement are Key

If there’s one area where Bill will never lose focus, it’s his determination to engage the community through education. “I know there’s a place for mosquito control in public health. That is tried and true. We would not live the life we live in America without mosquito control,” Bill states. “We want to keep the community involved in our programs. We need them to be our partner in public health. If they call me, they know they’ll see that yellow truck out there.”

Bill Stanuszek

Deltagard MMD

Health Dept. arbovirus surveillance training

Zoo tables

Deltagard post test mosquito transfer

Media interview

Saginaw makes it a point to staff booths at community events to reach citizens with informational pamphlets and conversation. And while he recognizes all counties don’t have the resources to employ a full-time education coordinator, Saginaw is fortunate to have a staffer focused on educating citizens from a very young age, for instance making mosquito education available in schools. Saginaw is also proactive about staying in front of the media with regularly-issued press releases and timely announcements. Bill believes “it keeps the program sharp.”

Continuing Education

Bill claims Saginaw’s success wouldn’t be possible without a fully integrated mosquito management strategy that includes source reduction, education and working closely with government. Saginaw performs scrap tire recycling through a government grant and works with the County’s Drains Department to teach citizens to drain flooded areas in their yards after it rains.

And as much as Bill is focused on educating citizens, he is committed to his own continuing education through attendance at conferences like AMCA and involvement in Michigan Mosquito Control Association, of which he is a past president. He says the opportunity to network with district personnel and industry professionals is invaluable. “Anything you’re thinking of, someone has likely thought of it before. There’s so much to learn from other professionals. You become smarter and better at controlling mosquitoes by being involved.”

When asked his favorite thing about his job, Bill says without hesitation: “The people.” Then he adds, “A ‘thank you’ phone call will make any mosquito professional’s day.”