You can find any number of fact sheets on the internet focused on mosquito control and why society needs it. But according to our expert, Bob Peterson, Ph.D., Professor of Entomology at Montana State University, there has always been a critical educational piece missing – until now.

First, we’d like to provide a summary of Bob’s professional industry experience. Bob leads the research, teaching and outreach program in Agricultural and Biological Risk Assessment at Montana State University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including environmental risk assessment, insect ecology and various special-topics graduate courses. He also directs the online MS program in environmental sciences at MSU. Bob has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, 14 book chapters and one book. And, in 2019, Bob will be president of the Entomological Society of America. It’s safe to say Bob knows his stuff!

After many years of conducting scientific research, publishing journal articles and giving technical presentations, Bob recalled repeatedly receiving the same question from mosquito control district personnel: “Do you have any information I can give to my customers?” This spurred the realization that, from all the work he’d completed, Bob lacked any educational product to deliver to the general public; and he resolved to fix it. He focused on studying best practices on risk communication and on communicating with the public. He took the time to craft language that would translate his technical knowledge into describing the risk-benefit of using disease management products.

The strategy was simple, Bob explained. “It’s about making sure the public is aware of the seriousness of mosquitoes and mosquito borne diseases.  Starting off by talking about the risk primes the reader to pay attention.”

The communication pieces Bob developed are about establishing trust, he claims. “We want to convey that we’re also concerned about our own children’s health, our neighbors’ health and the risks to the environment. We need to highlight the value of science and that we do things based on proven methods. Integrated pest management is not capricious.”

Bob’s pieces thus discuss how public health professionals are using science to understand the risks from mosquitoes and mosquito borne diseases as well as the mosquito management products the industry uses. To make the initiative more consumer friendly, the pieces have been designed as door hangers.

“There is nothing quite like this information we’re making available to the public,” said Bob. For mosquito control professionals, this can help create dialogue with residents about the risks of spraying, to let them know we’re making decisions based on the best knowledge we have, and that knowledge is substantial.”

Bob is excited to make this information available to AMCA’s members, to mosquito abatement districts and to industry partners. You can view and download the door hangers at www.mosquito.org.