Last month, District staff assisted the San Mateo Resource Conservation District and CBEC Eco Engineering with the flattening of marsh vegetation along the proposed grading alignment of the Pescadero Integrated Flood Reduction & Habitat Enhancement project.
One type of very common, but often overlooked, household insect belongs to the order Collembola. These primitive insects may be unfamiliar to many people, but they are abundant and numerous throughout the world. They occur in habitats ranging from freshwater, animal nests, caves, and glaciers and most commonly in leaf litter, under logs or bark, and soil. These tiny organisms are often called “springtails” because many Collembola families have a rear appendage called a furcula that they use to launch themselves into the air.
In February, a team from the District took a trip to southern California to visit three mosquito and vector control districts to share ideas and learn about their programs. The staff visited San Gabriel County MVCD, Greater Los Angeles MVCD and Orange County MVCD. It was a great trip and staff learned a little something from each district that they can utilize in our program. One of the highlights from the trip was seeing Greater LA’s underground storm drain program, which they have been working on for over 15 years.
At this District, each mosquito control technician is assigned a geographic zone within the county. Currently our service area is split into 9 zones. During February the District rotated the majority of technicians into a different zone. In the picture above, technician Walter Bruj is treating a 12.5 acre marsh in East Palo Alto, which is one of the cities in his new zone. Due to the sheer size of the breeding area, technicians use an Argo all-terrain vehicle for this type of treatment.
In early February, several District staff members had the opportunity to share their knowledge with colleagues from around the state at the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California 87th Annual Conference.
Officials at San Mateo Mosquito and Vector Control District (SMCMVCD) remind residents that winter is the season for the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). This tick is the primary vector for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses in San Mateo County. “Most people think of mountain lions and coyotes as the major risks when enjoying outdoor activites. We’d like to remind people that some real threats come in much smaller packages,” said Laboratory Director Angie Nakano.
At the District, the majority of our tick surveillance focuses on three tick species, Ixodes pacificus, (western black-legged tick), Dermacentor varabilis, (American dog tick) and Dermacentor occidentalis, (Pacific coast tick). These ticks quest for hosts in the vegetation along trails, and are easily picked up by hikers and dogs. While these three species present the greatest risk of disease transmission to humans and pets, there are many more species of ticks that live in San Mateo County that we do not collect as part of our usual surveillance.
Rabies has achieved somewhat of a boogeyman quality due to its high risk of death and tendency to invade the nervous system but did you know that this frightening disease is actually very rare in California?
This summer, the laboratory has been assisted by Alexander Flores, who conducted most of the surveillance for invasive Aedes mosquitoes this season. For the past five years, Alex has worked for the District as a seasonal technician in the Operations department. This year he took a position in the Laboratory department for a new experience. Alex started the summer as the invasive Aedes technician, funded by a grant from Public Health Foundations Enterprises, Inc. on behalf of the California Department of Public Health.
Autumn is the time of year for termite swarms as adult winged termites (called alates), leave their colonies, mate, and establish new colony sites. Residents often see the swarms around their neighborhood or find discarded wings and dead termites scattered on the ground or caught in spider webs. Only a very small proportion of termites are successful in establishing a new colony.
It’s that time of year again: Coastal Cleanup Day! On Friday, field operations supervisor Casey and seasonal staff members Evan, Devon, and Justin did their part to keep San Mateo County beautiful by removing some trash from the shoreline.