Who We Are
In 1927 the Illinois Legislature passed the "Mosquito Abatement District Act" which enables the voters, by referendum, to organize tax-supported abatement districts. The South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District was organized in March of 1953 and became operational in 1955. The District is the largest mosquito abatement district in the state of Illinois and one of the largest in the mid west. Three hundred forty square miles are served by the District, which in general includes the area bounded by 87th street in the North, the Indiana state line in the East, Will County in the South and West, and DuPage county on the Northwest side. Four mosquito abatement districts serve about three fourths of Cook County's total area. There are twenty one mosquito abatement districts in Illinois.
The SCCMAD is divided into four divisions. Western Division serves Palos, Orland, and Lemont Townships. Its garage is located in Orland Park. It is responsible for about 89 square miles of area. Large areas of Cook County Forest Preserve are located in this division. Southern Division serves Bloom and Rich Townships, an area of 84 square miles. Its garage is located in South Chicago Heights. Eastern Division serves Hyde Park, and parts of Thornton and Calumet Townships, an area of 72 square miles. Its garage is located in Blue Island. Central Division serves Bremen, Worth, and parts of Thornton and Calumet Townships, an area of 96 square miles. The central division garage is located in Harvey. The Central Division is also responsible for all adulticiding and mosquito surviellance activities.
During the mosquito breeding season SCCMAD personnel check all potential mosquito breeding areas on a regular basis. These breeding areas, on both public and private property, are mapped and updated regularly. Potential breeding areas include roadside ditches, retention ponds, runoff areas, marshes and wetlands, and other low areas which hold water after it rains. When mosquito larva are found in these areas larvicides are used to kill them. All the chemicals used are safe when used as directed. All operators are licensed by the state for mosquito control. Killing mosquitoes in their larval stage is the most effective means of controlling mosquito populations.
The SCCMAD monitors adult mosquito populations by setting out mosquito traps during the season and collecting samples on a regular schedule. We currently use 7 New Jersey Light Traps for this monitoring. These traps have long been used for monitoring adult mosquito populations. These traps use a small light source to attract the adults which are then drawn down into a container by a fan. This trap works well for several important species of mosquitoes but does not attract all species.
In addition to these traps we also set out Gravid Traps to collect adult Culex spp. mosquitoes. These are the mosquitoes that are responsible for spreading West Nile Virus in our area. These traps are collected on a regular basis and the mosquitoes are pooled to be tested for the presence of West Nile Virus. A mosquito pool consists of up to 50 mosquitoes from an individual trap from a certain time frame. These pools are tested by the SCCMAD using the RAMP(Rapid Analyte Measurement Platform) System and results are sent to the health department. We have found this test to be fast, cost effective, reliable, and easy to use. Our samples can also be sent to the Illinois Natural History Survey Medical Entomology Laboratory for PCR (Polymerases Chain Reaction) analysis. When a mosquito pool tests positive it simply means that West Nile is present in that area at that time. Not all infected mosquitoes can spread the virus.
Adult mosquitoes are collected from many locations throughout the district to determine population sizes and species content. Adult mosquitoes are also tested to see if they are infected with West Nile Virus. If results are determined to be in excess of certain conditions, adulticiding will be carried out in limited areas. Local municipalities will be contacted when large areas will be treated. Barrier spraying is also done in some areas before large public events. This is done to prevent mosquitoes from entering an area for a limited time.
The South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of five residents of the district. These members are appointed by the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Meetings of the Board of Trustees are open to the public and are scheduled for the second Monday of each month, at 4:00 P.M. at the district headquarters, unless otherwise posted.
The Board of Trustees set the following operational policy in 1955 and it remains unchanged today: "The South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District will abate effectively and economically the mosquito problem, using modern, scientific, and practical methods of control applied in an orderly and systematic manner while giving due consideration to the rights of property owners, residents, and political subdivisions of the District."
Patrick McCool, Chicago
Nick Maloni, Chicago Heights
Main Office:15500 Dixie Highway
Harvey, Il. 60426
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