Vector Control

River Region Pest Control supports the use of Vector Control, or Integrated Vector Management, in Montgomery, Alabama.

What is a Vector?

Vector Control in Montgomery, Alabama - tick vector crawling

Broadly defined, a Vector is any organism (human, animal, or insect) that can transfer a disease to another organism.

The process of trying to eliminate the cause of an illness is called Vector Control, or Vector Management.

While many primarily think of Vector Control as being applied to mosquitoes, ticks and other insects, it can actually be applied to birds, mammals, and any other creature that transmits viruses and bacteria.

Pest Vector Control, a practice River Region Pest Control endorses, is most commonly applied to mosquitoes, though, because Mosquito Vectors carry such a large number of pathogens that affect humans.

Why is Vector Control Important?

Mosquito Vector Control in Montgomery, Alabama - word cloud containing vector terminology

Vector Control is vital to eliminating or greatly reducing the number of infected people from diseases that have no cure.

Without Vector Control, West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, and Dengue fever could spread unchecked, affecting many more people than they currently do.

According to Wikipedia, Vector control focuses on utilizing preventative methods to control or eliminate vector populations.”

Vector Management can be broken down into a number of different methods:

  1. Environmental Control
  2. Limited Exposure
  3. Chemical Control
  4. Introduction of Natural Predators

Environmental Control

Vector Management in Montgomery, Alabama - drainage ditch for vector mitigation

Controlling the environment can help control the spread of insects that carry diseases.

For example, limiting the amount of standing water reduces the breeding grounds of mosquitoes. While this is somewhat easy to do in urban areas, it can be impossible in swamps and other areas with naturally standing water.

Making major habitat changes can also damage the ecosystem if it’s not done carefully.

Limiting Exposure

Mosquito Netting in Montgomery, Alabama - mosquito crawling over vector control netting

Limiting exposure is another way to implement Vector Control.

Hanging netting around beds, installing window screens, and wearing protecting clothing during mosquito season helps reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects.

However, people must be vigilant about following these methods, and the majority of the community has to participate in this type of vector control for it to be effective.

Chemical Control

Vector Pesticides in Montgomery, Alabama - vector control technician applies pesticide fog

Using insecticides and other types of chemicals and repellents may also be used to reduce or fully eliminate vectors.

Larvicides are often used in areas full of mosquitos to kill off their larvae, reducing the population. Using insect repellant can be part of limiting exposure, while using insecticides at home can also help.

The World Health Organization endorses the use of pesticides as a pest control method, and they have been effectively used in some areas.

Natural Predators

Mosquito Predators in Montgomery, Alabama - bluebird holding mosquito in beak

Using natural predators, which includes animals and insects as well as bacteria and plants, can be a way of naturally controlling vectors without worrying about the effects of chemicals on the environment.

Importing fish that eat the larvae of mosquitoes, for example, can be one method of natural vector control.

Barriers to Vector Control

Unfortunately, even with these four aspects of Vector Control, it is still very difficult to fully control any disease that is passed by insects or other animals.

Part of this is the cost of Vector Control.

Chemical control, for example, can be very expensive.

Then there’s the feasibility of limiting exposure or fully controlling an environment. Unless an entire community participates, these methods may not be effective.

Disturbing the natural ecosystem by importing natural predators can be dangerous and can upset the balance of the environment in disastrous ways. Because of this, it’s difficult to truly implement Vector Control in many areas.

Implementing multiple types of vector control in one area, however, has been shown to be very effective, and is referred to as Integrated Vector Management by the World Health Organization.

Integrated Vector Management may also make it possible to combat a number of different diseases at the same time.