Pestec uses carbon neutral methods for mosquito abatement in the City and County of San Francisco. Mosquito abatement helps provide a higher quality of life to the residents of San Francisco due to the recent introduction of West Nile Virus to mosquito populations in northern and southern California.
The Mosquito Abatement Courier (MAC) Team was created in 2005 as a response to the rapid spread of the West Nile Virus in California. The first reported case of WNV in the U.S. was in 1999 in New York, and appeared in California two years later. Across the U.S. West Nile Virus has claimed over 600 lives since 1999 and is considered a serious health threat. Since its introduction to California, there have been over 800 human cases of WNV within the state. Seventy four of those have proven fatal. San Francisco has never had a single reported human case of the West Nile Virus; however, WNV infected bird and mosquito samples have been discovered within the city limits. In 2008 the city was one of only nine counties in California to have no reported WNV, due in a large part to the MAC team and Pestec’s efforts. The mosquito abatement courier team provides several services for the city of San Francisco beyond that of pesticide application including inspections and monitoring when requested by the department of public health, reporting dead birds for collection and WNV testing through the California Fight the Bite campaign. As of 2011 there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus in the City and County of San Francisco.
Each member of Pestec’s bicycle courier team is capable of monitoring and treating catch basins in multiple neighborhoods per day with a reduced risk microbial larvacide, which is approved by the San Francisco Department of the Environment. The team covers approximately 750 miles per month; by using carbon neutral transport, Pestec depletes CO2 emissions by 4 tons a month over an eight month period or roughly 32 tons of CO2 a year while saving San Francisco money and cutting smog.
As the acting mosquito vector control program for the City and County of San Francisco, the MAC team contributes immensely to the city’s Fight the Bite Campaign. The Fight the Bite Campaign urges California residents to report any mosquito activity as well as dead birds to their local vector control program. This campaign has helped to track mosquito borne diseases in mosquito and bird samples throughout the state. These samples are an absolute necessity in order to track disease activity in the mosquito and bird populations and ultimately help prevent such diseases from infecting people.
A large part of a successful mosquito abatement program is education. Several times a day each MAC team member has conversations with San Francisco residents explaining what they are doing and why. In those brief conversations we are able to educate residents about this unique and carbon neutral program as well as about where mosquitoes can breed and how we can prevent it. It is impossible to reduce mosquito breeding sites without the help of the city’s residents. Educating people on eliminating standing water as well as reporting mosquito activity and dead birds enhances the MAC team’s effectiveness throughout the city.
For more information on the Fight the Bite campaign in California visit the State of California West Nile resource site.
For information on the Fight the Bite campaign in San Francisco visitsfmosquito.org.