The 72nd Annual Meeting of the VMCA was held February 5-7, 2019

at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel

3001 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

A total of 113 people attended the 2019 annual meeting with 12 sustaining members (vendors) – excellent turnout!

The first day of the meeting was filled with a variety of presentations including the VA state update on arboviral surveillance, adulticiding, education programs, arboviral testing and larval surveillance methods to name a few. At the end of the day, Joe Andrews gave a heartfelt speech about Dr. Bruce Harrison who passed away in December 2018. Dr. Harrison was a mentor and friend to many in the VMCA and his wisdom and kindness will be deeply missed. Joe reminded everyone that the Harrison family is holding a celebration of life memorial service for Bruce on March 16th at The Village Inn in Clemmons, NC; anyone wishing to attend should contact Ryan Harrison (

  meeting day 1 meeting day 1_2  meeting day 1_3

After the last presentation, conference attendees filtered out to the Courtney Terrace for the “Ice Breaker” event to enjoy a few free drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres while catching up with friends and colleagues and discussing the latest news in mosquito control. As if that wasn’t enough, the Hospitality Suite was open from 7pm until late night for even more food and drinks to be enjoyed. Everyone had a great time visiting, as always. Special shout-out to the Hospitality Committee for always doing a great job preparing treats for everyone and to the vendors who supplied the “juice.”

The next day of the meeting began bright and early at 7am with a great breakfast and many informative presentations including our annual VDACS update, details on the new invasive Longhorned Tick, various components of field work, and student poster presentations. The luncheon and award ceremony followed where three awards were given out by VMCA President George Wojcik:

Award-Joe Strickhouser  Award-Amanda student  Award-Karen

From left to right: Honorary Member Award: Joe Strickhouser, Dr. Jorge Arias Student Competition Award: Amanda DeVleeschower, and Distinguished service award: Karen Akaratovic

After lunch, the meeting reconvened with talks of fire ants and pigeons, larval control, and pesticide resistance across the state. Following the last presentation, the Student Competition Committee (SCC) announced the winner of the 50:50 Raffle. Low and behold it was our incoming President, LaToya White! Congratulations to LaToya (pictured below) and thank you to all the members who purchased tickets and helped raise money for the SCC student award! Immediately following the raffle drawing was the Silent Auction, also sponsored by the SCC. Thank you to everyone who donated or bid on items! See the article below to see how much money was raised from both events.


LaToya White (left) wins $243 from the 50/50 raffle to benefit the SCC.

Throughout the meeting, the Merchandise Committee was selling lots of cool mosquito swag for member enjoyment. New t-shirts and hoodies were a huge hit, as were color changing mugs, stemless wine glasses, pint glasses, and a variety of other items. This year, 3 people submitted artwork (shown below) and the committee chose to use all 3 for their items. Thanks to everyone who purchased merchandise at the meeting. If you forgot or weren’t able to attend, don’t fret! You can visit the Merchandise page (will be updated soon) or contact Tim DuBois to make a purchase and pick it up or have it shipped to you!

albopictusSilver  sic seal    crossbone1cutout

Artwork by (left to right): Rachel Kempf, Alex Riley, and Karen Akaratovic

The last day of the conference began with a delicious breakfast buffet and great talks about new products, rodents, trapping experiments, human WNV cases, MAMCA and AMCA updates, and the expanding range of the invasive Aedes aegypti. After the last presentation, the business meeting began where several events transpired. First, President-Elect LaToya White presented the Presidential Plaque to George Wojcik (pictured left below) for outstanding leadership as VMCA President in 2018. Next, the election results were announced and Wes Robertson (pictured right below) from Henrico County was elected as the newest addition to the VMCA board as First Vice President.

Award-President                                      Wes Robertson

The business meeting resulted in the approval of a Photo Contest as suggested by Wes Robertson and sponsored by Central Life Sciences. The details of the contest will be discussed by the Photography Committee. An award for Dr. Harrison was also approved by membership. Earlier in the meeting, Charles Abadam introduced the idea for this award that he and the City of Suffolk Biology department (Jay Kiser and Karen Akaratovic) had discussed as a way to honor Dr. Harrison. The suggested award would be titled “The Dr. Bruce Harrison Mosquito Research Award” in keeping with Dr. Harrison’s legacy of decades of research, publishing that research, and sharing his knowledge with the scientific community. The Awards Committee along with the VMCA Executive Board will finalize the criteria and details for the award. Changes to the By-Laws were also voted in and included redefining the annual membership period, a new voting board member (industry representative), identifying MAMCA and TMVCC representatives’ term limits, and other grammatical and clarifying language. Detailed changes can be reviewed in both Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 Skeeters and the updated document can be found on the Bylaws page of this website. Finally, Randy Buchanan, Legislative Committee Chair brought to everyone’s attention the new EPA regulations that may be restricting or altogether taking Chlorpyrifos off the market along with Malathion and Diazinon. Stay tuned to your emails for important updates regarding this issue.

-Student Competition Committee article coming soon!

Meeting Presentations: 


2018 Virginia Arboviral Surveillance – Elena Mircoff, VDH

Keep calm and do RealStats – Karen Akaratovic, Suffolk Mosquito Control

The magic silver bullet – Ann Herring, Suffolk Mosquito Control

VMCA’s Student Competition Committee update – Jay Kiser, SCC Committee Chair

Third grade mosquito program – Lisa Wagenbrenner, Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission

Vector Test vs PCR, catching the WNV wave.pptx– Jay Kiser, Suffolk Mosquito Control

1803 yellow fever outbreak in Alexandria, Virginia– John Orr, Fairfax County Health Department

Enemies at the gate, mosquito control more important than ever – Joe Conlon, AMCA

IPM-IVM-IMM and pesticide modes of action – Steve Robertson NAVFAC

Off-season larval surveillance – Carla Caulkins & Katherine Reutt, Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission

Award dedication to Dr. Harrison – Charles Abadam, Suffolk Mosquito Control


Pesticide regulatory update – Rodrickus Knight, VDACS

Bed Bugs – Jeff O’Neill, Central Life Sciences

The invasive longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis)- coming soon to a neighborhood near you! – Holly Gaff, ODU

York County mosquito control’s use of survey 123 – Janice Pulver, York County Mosquito Control

WNV response 2018 – Dreda Symonds, Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission (contact via email for presentation information)

A comparison between 2017 & 2018 mosquito property maintenance inspection reports – Pieter Sheehan, Fairfax County Health Department

Tracking potential hosts of Amblyomma maculatum through wildlife cameras – Amanda DeVleeschower, ODU

Preparing for disaster – a day in the life of an Air Force bug doc – Jennifer Remmers, USAF

ODU Tick Team 2018 highlights- population genetics, tick gardens, and guinea fowl – Sara Simmons, ODU

VMCA, Central Life Sciences photo contest – Wes Robertson, Henrico County Public Works

WNV in Maryland 2006-2018 – Brian Prendergast, MD Department of Agriculture

Overwintering Cx pipiens and restuans within combined sewer inlet basins – Ryan Levering, Henrico County Public Works

DCLS mosquito processing explained – Sean Kelly, DCLS

Imported fire ants and pigeons – George Wojcik, Portsmouth Public Works

Larval mosquito control – more than just larviciding – Nathaniel Nagle, Prince William County Public Works

Wild caught or farm raised – collection methods for pesticide resistance – Jay Kiser, Suffolk Mosquito Control

Pesticide resistance testing – procedures and results – Penelope Smelser, Norfolk Dept of Public Health


The BG-CDC Trap and BG-MTS Tool Box – Scott Gordon, Biogents

The world of rodents – Tim DuBois, Portsmouth Public Works

AutoTOTs, transformation of the gravid trap – Karen Akaratovic, Suffolk Mosquito Control

AMCA update – Joe Conlon, AMCA

MAMCA update – Betsy Hodson,  Virginia MAMCA Representative

Assuring quality in surveillance – Rob Erwin, Fairfax County Health Department

Aedes it’s cold outside! An update on the northernmost overwintering population of Aedes aegypti in the US – Andy Lima, Fairfax County Health Department