Atmospheric Transport of Adulticides Used to Control Mosquito Populations across an Urban Metropolitan Area
Pesticides registered with the U.S. EPA for mosquito control are called adulticides and are released directly into the atmosphere as aerosols to target flying mosquitos. This adulticide application approach is different from traditional (agricultural) pesticide applications, yet the fate and transport of adulticides in large metropolitan areas is largely unknown. The Houston Metropolitan Area encompasses eight counties, many of which require county-level mosquito control programs that utilize adulticides. Malathion and permethrin are the primary adulticides used by Harris County (HC) in Houston, TX, USA. Houston, like many other metropolitan areas, has an urban atmosphere supporting the oxidation of both gas and particle phase pollutants. During the summer mosquito season of 2016, we collected atmospheric total suspended particulate matter (PM) samples at Jones Forest (JF), located in Montgomery County (directly north of HC) to investigate the atmospheric transport and oxidation of adulticides in an urban atmosphere. Despite HC alternating the adulticide treatment schedule, we measured permethrin, malathion, and malaoxon (oxidation product of malathion), throughout the sampling campaign. These consistent measurements, in conjunction with 12 h backward trajectories, support the conclusion that JF is influenced by other county-level mosquito-control programs and agricultural pesticide use. This cross-county transport may impact adulticide effectiveness by supporting pesticide resistance in mosquito populations due to repeated exposures to pesticides. This study highlights the need for mosquito control collaborations between counties, especially in areas of urban expansion overlapping with agricultural activities.
Guberman VerPloeg, S., Yoon, S., Alvarez, S., Flynn, J., Collins, D., Griffin, R., Sheesley, R., & Usenko, S. (2023). Atmospheric Transport of Adulticides Used to Control Mosquito Populations across an Urban Metropolitan Area. Atmosphere, 14 (10) https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14101495