Any company leader understands the importance of superior customer service, and Cheryl Clay is no exception. As Vector Control Supervisor for Madison County Health Department in Alabama, she considers responding to citizens’ concerns as her department’s number one priority. Vector Control aims to inform the public of its mosquito control efforts and activities, because as our industry understands, public perception is one of the most important points a mosquito control professional must address.

The Vector Control Division of the Madison County Health Department is responsible for mosquito and rat control in the areas of Huntsville that are located within Madison County, which accounts for 170 square miles. Vector Control’s primary goal is source reduction, which Clay admits is a challenging one: “Eliminating breeding sources is a permanent solution. We will do the most effective job of mosquito control by doing this, one yard at a time. Once you educate one homeowner, they are educated for life.”

Clay believes often times residents aren’t aware of the problems that exist on their own properties and therefore need an education process to learn how they can contribute to mosquito control efforts. Vector Control consistently seeks ways to make its program more efficient, specifically by distributing more information to the public in a timelier manner. Their operations have become more digital; for instance, their routes are GIS-mapped, and the county has a unique partnership with the Huntsville GIS department, which enables the public to type an address on the website and see when their area was last fogged. Vector Control also receives citizen concerns via email which they’ve found to be much more efficient than by phone.

The greater Huntsville area is constantly growing, requiring new areas to be treated, and with the recent peak season being the wettest summer in memory, it’s no wonder they used 331 gallons of Aqua-Reslin® to treat 201,884 acres and 43 gallons of Zenivex® to treat 32,766 acres; treating a total area of 234,650 acres. Vector Control conducts citywide surveillance searching for elevated mosquito populations, and four of its spray trucks are equipped to spray the identified areas with Aqua-Reslin®, while one spray truck uses Zenivex® where possible based on label requirements. One of their spray trucks is also equipped with an ADAPCO® Guardian 190ES sprayer, which Clay says “has been a very reliable fogger” for the five years they’ve used it.

Because its citizens are so attuned to the area’s mosquito control efforts, it’s critical for Vector Control to use a tool that offers complete application recording, data management and reporting capabilities. Thus, each of their trucks are equipped with ADAPCO®’s Monitor 4 system. Vector Control uses the Monitor 4’s to determine where the trucks have been, how fast the trucks were driving and how much chemical was applied, among other data. Clay calls Monitor 4 “a great advantage to [us]” and “a valuable tool” to manage proper coverage of the city; to stay cost efficient; to assist with driver accuracy; and to ensure [we] adhere to label requirements. When residents call with questions, using Monitor 4, Clay’s team can verify the specific date and time the homes were sprayed, and even use Google Earth to display a picture of the truck’s route by the homes for any given spray mission.

With local residents staying proactive and relaying their concerns, this often leads Vector Control to discover some of its greatest mosquito sources. With the combined effort between the public and Clay’s team, the county experienced a successful year of mosquito control in 2012: landing count rates showed a 61% reduction in mosquitoes over the season.

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Madison County Health Department