How the U.S. Legislates Mosquito Control
Mosquito control has been an important goal in the United States for nearly a century now. As time has gone on and the government has taken a bigger and bigger role in preventing mosquito populations from swelling and spreading disease, a variety of laws have been passed. In addition to legislation though, there are organizations that have been given charge of mosquito control efforts. When taken as a whole, it presents a patchwork, but effective, effort to stop these pests from spreading.
The most common types of legislation for controlling mosquitos is called vector control. Vector control ordinances make laws regarding the displacement of “junk” (such as inoperable cars, rubber tires, etc. which often act as mosquito breeding grounds) and its proper disposal. These controls also state which agency is responsible for which areas, ensuring that everyone knows what their mosquito prevention responsibilities are.
FDA and EPA Controls
The Food and Drug Administration works side by side with the Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to reviewing mosquito control measures. Legislation defining the standards these agencies use often shifts, but the goal is to make sure that the methods used to control mosquito populations remain effective and safe not just for humans, but also for the rest of the environment. These organizations are the enforcement arm of the laws regarding what people can, and can’t, use to help control mosquitoes.
Reduction of Environment and Other Measures
Many pieces of legislation all over the United States focus on mosquito prevention. The theory behind these laws is that it’s easier to make sure that mosquitoes never show up in the first place than it is to get rid of them once they’ve started thriving. These laws require that certain types of plants be removed, and that certain procedures be taken to limit the spread and growth of the mosquito population. This can include:
- Eliminating cat tails and other high grasses.
- Providing proper drainage to eliminate standing water, which acts as a breeding ground.
- Regular aerial photographic sweeps to identify problem areas.
- Regular use of pesticides to kill mosquitoes and keep them from spreading.
There are a number of other powers given to local jurisdictions regarding mosquito and pest control. They can declare when an area is infested, and they have the authority to call in exterminators. These more heavy-handed powers, though, are only used in event of an actual emergency.
Cuts and Furloughs
Some of the biggest, headline-grabbing pieces of legislation regarding mosquito control in the United States is the fact that it’s being cut in many areas. Whether it’s forcing employees to take one day off a week, cutting down on the size of the workforce, or just being allocated fewer resources by the government, efforts to cut the cost of mosquito prevention have been put into law all over the country.
These legislative cuts have come at a time when concern for diseases like West Nile Virus are growing. With this rarely-fatal but often debilitating diseases spreading, mosquito control has never been more important.
Public Awareness and Other Efforts
In an effort to combat the strain that mosquito control places on the government, many local communities are asking residents to help out. From cleaning up yards to eliminating standing water, citizens working together can help, but only with 100% participation.