These adaptation strategies offer possible ways to address anticipated climate risks to public health from mosquitoes, ticks, and other vectors.
Public health adaptation strategies for mosquitos, ticks, and other vectors
- Create a public health adaptation plan
- These plans help assess the community’s vulnerability to vector-borne diseases and decide on the best plan of attack for vector reduction.
These are at best a temporary solution and should only be used if there are no other alternatives available. In all cases, there must be proper considerations of the area and safety measures must be followed exactly.
- Use larvicide to reduce the level of larval vectors
- Use adulticide to target adult mosquitos
- This is less efficient than larvicide and should only be used for supplemental or emergency purposes. They are applied as ultra-low volume (ULV) sprays to dispense extremely small droplets.
- While there are strategies that local governments can implement, if citizens are aware of what are breeding areas and how to reduce them, it can help reduce the overall number of vectors. Strategies to communicate to residents include:
- Search for and dispose of discarded or unused tin cans, old tires, tarps, boat covers, or other artificial water containers
- Make weekly inspections of the water in flower pots and plant containers
- Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools weekly and drain them when not in use
- Stock garden and lily ponds with top-feeding minnows
- Keep rain gutters unclogged and flat roofs dry
- Eliminate stagnant pools, puddles, ditches, or swamps places around the home and property
- Keep margins of small ponds clear of vegetation
- Place tight covers over cisterns, cesspools, septic tanks, fire barrels, rain barrels, and tubs where water is stored
- Chlorinate and filter swimming pools and outdoor hot tubs
- Remove all tree stumps that may hold water
- Conduct a survey for breeding places
- A survey will allow public health officials to determine what areas are good breeding areas for the different vectors. Once these are known, they can be used as locations for reduction strategies.
- Ditch and clean stagnant streams to ensure a continuous flow of water
- Drain or fill back-water pools and swamps where stagnant water accumulates
- Keep overgrown and heavy vegetation cleared and cut in tick-infested areas
- Remove vegetation and debris from along the shores of lakes and ponds to discourage breeding
- Stock small lakes and ponds with top-feeding minnows, if allowable
- Improve wetlands and marshes to encourage the development of predators (e.g. frogs, predatory insects, predatory fish)
- Install window and door screens
- Cover all gaps in walls, doors, and windows
- Make sure screens are “bug tight”
What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.
To learn more about IPM, visit the USEPA's page on IPM.
These strategies are adapted from the following existing website: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal resources. Please view these strategies in the context provided by the primary source document:
The adaptation strategies provided are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address current and future climate threats to contaminated site management. Read the full disclaimer.