Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health Volunteers

What is it and what did we do?

A group of 12 Charlotte Master Gardener volunteers participated in a 3-hour training on May31, 2005 conducted by Charlotte County Extension and Mosquito Control (part of the recently merged Environmental and Extension Services Department). Volunteers increased their understanding of all aspects of mosquito biology and monitoring techniques that enabled them to perform paraprofessional surveillance activities. Once completing the training, the strategically place M.A.S.H. volunteers, equipped with basic monitoring tools and surveillance procedures, conducted daily monitoring activities (163 days total), and reported data to the Mosquito Control Biologist via email or phone call. Each volunteer was provided with a half-hour home site visit to check equipment and reinforce surveillance objectives. The data submitted allowed the County Mosquito Biologist another IPM tool target or withhold treatment to monitored areas of Charlotte County. A wrap-up, end-of-season 2-hour educational session was conducted on November 10, 2005.

What was the outcome?

In an End-of-Season Evaluation, the results indicated that the M.A.S.H program increased the participants' knowledge concerning overall mosquito control information, gave the volunteers more confidence in their duties, and gave them the ability to talk to the public about general mosquito surveillance issues. The volunteers thought the program was well worth their time and are planning to work as a M.A.S.H. volunteer for at least another year.

The take-home message:

The County Mosquito Biologist offered the following statement: "The MASH volunteer program teaches our citizens about mosquitoes and their biology/life cycle. It gives them the opportunity to make a difference in their neighborhood by allowing them to monitor the mosquito population in their own backyard, to enhance mosquito surveillance in our county and report it to our office. Mosquito populations can vary greatly over our area. We are not able to monitor every square mile of our county with paid county staff. This volunteer program allows for more coverage of our county to assess where the mosquito population is, where it is not, and the meteorological data of various neighborhoods. It allows for a more focused treatment or non-treatment of our areas."

Presentations on the MASH program and mosquito control:

The people that made this happen include:

  • Ralph E. Mitchell, County Extension Director
  • Ginny Day, County Mosquito Control Division Biologist