Florida Mosquito Control Research Program
Florida mosquito control has for many years supported an in-state program to support high priority research that will improve mosquito control and make it more efficient, effective and environmentally proper. Support for this program goes back to the period when the state of Florida provided funds directly to Florida's mosquito control districts to assist the districts in meeting state regulatory requirements. Starting in 1992, tire tax funds were the source of the state mosquito control and research funds. At the beginning of the program, a group of the mosquito control directors recognizing the importance and necessity of continuing research to improve mosquito control advanced the plan to the state that a portion of these funds be earmarked annually in support of mosquito control research. Today the research program supports projects at the two primary Florida research laboratories, the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory and the John Mulrennan Public Health Entomology Research and Education Center. The funds for research, originally $250,000 annually in 1985, increased to $500,000 in the late 1980s. This was later reduced to $250,000 annually. It has remained at this level for nearly the full 25 years since it began.
This Florida Mosquito Control Research Program (FMCRP) is funded through this annual allotment of $250,000 and is administered by the Florida Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services. The program is clearly essential to maintain and improve mosquito control effectiveness throughout Florida.
The Florida Coordinating Council on Mosquito Control (FCCMC), responsible for ensuring that Florida mosquito control is efficient, effective and environmentally proper, agreed in 2008 that the FMCRP is essential for Florida mosquito control and that increasing this program is the highest priority. The FCCMC recognized that the current level of funding is inadequate to meeting the pressing needs of mosquito control in this time of increasing demands on Florida mosquito control to reduce pest and disease carrying mosquito populations and protect the public health and well-being of Florida's ever growing population and growing tourism industry.
FCCMC members supported the need for additional funds. FCCMC is composed of the following agencies and organizations:
|FL Fish & Wildlife Cons. Comm.||Florida Mosquito Control Districts|
|Florida A&M University||FL Dept. of Health|
|FL Dept. Environmental Protection||University of Florida|
|Florida Defenders of the Environment||USDA|
|FL Dept. of Agric. & Consumer Services||U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
Why is research for Florida Mosquito Control needed?
- Emerging mosquito-borne diseases are a real threat to Florida requiring improved forecasting/control: Chikungunya, Dengue, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Malaria, Rift Valley Fever, St. Louis Encephalitis, Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Encephalitis.
- Greater control of mosquito pests and disease carriers in growing urban centers is needed.
- New environmentally friendly mosquito control products, methods, strategies are needed.
- Improved operational mosquito control with greater efficiency, reduced environmental impact.
- Global warming will impact mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease in Florida.
The accomplishments from the FMCRP are too numerous to list. The investments over the years have helped Florida mosquito control to maintain its leadership in the profession. The Florida Mosquito Control Association working with the FCCMC has been instrumental in developing new research priorities annually to ensure that the program remains current addressing current high priority mosquito control issues.
Past Selected Accomplishments
- Florida sentinel mosquito-borne disease surveillance program.
- Florida mosquito-borne disease forecasting program.
- Diagnostics to detect eastern equine & St. Louis encephalitis.
- Greater efficiency in detecting and interpreting West Nile virus in Florida.
- Evaluation of non-target effects of pesticides.
- Improved efficiency of aerial adulticiding and spray systems.
- Reducing the impact of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes.
- Evaluations of the effectiveness of novel insecticides.
- New environmentally friendly insecticides--Bti, TMOF.
- Environmentally sound mosquito control in coastal wetlands without insecticides.
- Improved mosquito-borne disease surveillance.
- Targeted mosquito control to prevent disease outbreaks.
- Reduce the impact of mosquito control on the environment.
- Improved efficiency of mosquito control.
- Increased research funding from Federal, international and corporate sources.
The FMCRP is the primary means to enable Florida mosquito control to meet future challenges. The program supports a mosquito control enterprise with a combined annual budget of ca. $140 million. An increase in the research budget to $500,000 will represent an investment of only 0.35%. Mosquito control and the state of Florida cannot afford not making this small investment. The future of Florida is at stake.
Walter J. Tabachnick - Retired
Entomology and Nematology
Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory
University of Florida/IFAS