Group photo of those in attendance at the 2018 meeting
The 71st Annual Meeting was held January 23 – January 25, 2018
at the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel,
425 Water St., Portsmouth, VA.
The 2018 annual meeting saw an excellent turnout with 70 out of 96 regular members attending. Overall, 104 people attended this year, 11 of them sustaining members. On the first day of the meeting, after the last presentation, a group of members went out to a local brewery and had a “phenomenal” time according to members Jay Kiser and Charles Abadam. The “Biting Times” social event the following night, which was sponsored by VMCA (with free drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres!), was a great time to socialize with colleagues and discuss all things mosquito. The hospitality room was also a huge after-hours hit, as usual (see the committee report below). The Student Competition Committee held the second annual poster competition (see the committee report below), including a silent auction and 50/50 raffle to raise funds for the $500 award that is given to the winning student. The Merchandise Committee had a neat new item this year (eco-friendly cork coasters!) along with new apparel and had two new designs, one from Janice Gardner and one from Pedro Arias (pictured below left and right, respectively).
The following awards were presented at the 2018 VMCA annual meeting:
Jeff Hottenstein (right) was presented with the President Plaque for his outstanding leadership as VMCA President; Award given by incoming 2018 President George Wojcik (left)
Michelle Slosser (left) was presented with an Outstanding Service Award for her exceptional service in field work; Award given by 2017 VMCA President Jeff Hottenstein (right)
Nomination submission: It is a great pleasure for me to nominate this individual for the “Outstanding Service Award: for exceptional service in field work.” This person is one of the most talented and well-rounded biologists I have ever met. Her sound qualitative abilities, extensive knowledge of terrain coupled with clear and concise communication prowess makes her a tremendous asset to public health and mosquito control. This person consistently completes complex field projects, such as reorganizing the county’s mosquito surveillance methods, from an outdated system to a simplified and logical one that our citizenry can understand. One example of her creative endeavors was finding a better way to map our trap sites, becoming so involved with the project that she has gone back to college to receive a certificate in GIS analysis. This has also given the division more contacts, who have been working with us to build a better surveillance program. These pragmatic changes have enhanced our data collection and interpretations to better serve our citizens through sound data based decisions. Because of these improvements, we have gone from a program that trapped 6,000 mosquitoes a year to a program that has trapped over 45,000 mosquitoes this last season. We have also identified and confirmed five additional species in our AOC due to the surveillance reorganization, her identification skills, and her positive influence through mentoring to our summer interns. She is admired by her co-workers for her approachability and is a constant biological sounding board and an invaluable resource. Despite her substantial responsibilities she works tirelessly with the Virginia Master Naturalist Program. Her expertise in bats is what motivated me to hire her; she has proven to be a visionary for my division.
She has truly inspired me to become more involved in the community, to reach out to those who are not as knowledgeable about mosquitoes creating one of the best education programs bar none. Even though my division’s primary job is to kill mosquitoes she understands why it is necessary to establish a better understanding of the economics and treatments we use to inform our citizens. I am not sure how my division could operate without the passion and drive she has.
For all these reasons and more, I feel confident that you will agree that Michelle Slosser from York County is a most deserving candidate for this award.
Respectfully submitted by Besty Hodson, Operations Superintendent for York County Mosquito Control
The Student Competition Committee (SCC) held their second annual student poster competition. Eight posters were submitted from Virginia University students and displayed in the meeting hall foyer of the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel. First place and the recipient of the 2018 Dr. Jorge Arias Student Competition Award, with a $500 grand prize, went to Laura Bitzer from ODU (pictured below). Her poster was titled “The role of the northern short-tailed shrews in the maintenance of Borrelia burgdorferi.” Authors of runner-up posters included Alexandra Cumbie from ODU, Madeline Illar from GMU, Michelle Bershers from ODU, and Kathryn Hogan from GMU. First place and all runners-up were awarded free registration to the VMCA annual meeting, which was provided by VMCA.
Receiving the second annual “Dr. Jorge Arias Student Competition Award” during the lunch banquet at the 2018 VMCA annual meeting. Jeff Hottenstein (left), VMCA President, just gave Laura Bitzer (right) her award and a check for $500.
During the meeting, both students and VMCA members were able to participate in several SCC events. On Wednesday morning everyone was able to partake in a Q&A poster session held in the meeting foyer. This session gave VMCA members a chance to talk one-on-one with the students and investigate each poster more thoroughly. During that same day, several students were able to give presentations on their poster research. Thanks to the Agenda Committee, not only Laura Bitzer but also the top two runners-up, Alexandra Cumbie and Madeline Illar (pictured below), were able to present.
Runner-up posters at the VMCA annual meeting. Alexandra Cumbie (above left) with her poster titled “First report of Candidatus Rickettsia mendelii in Ixodes brunneus ticks collected in the United States”, and Madeline Illar (above right) with her poster titled “Case-series of Lyme borreliosis in Mongolia from 2007-2017: Describing the clinical spectrum of Borrelia in Central Asia.”
For the second year, the SCC held two successful fundraising events during the annual meeting; a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. With the help of the SCC, VMCA members, and sustaining members, we were able to collect a total of almost $1,400. This money will be used to fund future competitions that encourage research in fields of vector biology. Throughout the meeting, Francis Valera and Karen Akaratovic were hard at work selling raffle tickets and sold over $463 worth. George Wojcik was the lucky winner whose ticket was drawn, but generously donated his winnings back to the student fund (Thank you George!!!). Ann Herring spearheaded the 2018 silent auction. With the help of several VMCA members and vendors, she was able to auction off 24 donated items and collect over $900. If anyone is interested in donating items to next year’s auction, please contact Ann Herring at firstname.lastname@example.org
2017-2018 Student Competition participants at the 2018 VMCA annual meeting. Photo includes students, judges, and committee members.
The Hospitality Room for the 2017 VMCA meeting happened on Tuesday & Wednesday nights after the day’s wonderful presentations. Your 2017 Hospitality Room Committee consisted of Jay Kiser, Michelle Slosser, and Ann Herring. There were lots of food, beverages, fun, and camaraderie of friends and associates to share stories, ideas and laughs. Shout out to all the vendors that stopped by with refreshments!
Virginia arboviral activity in 2017 – Dr. David Gaines, VDH
Insect idioms – Wes Robertson, Henrico County Public Works
Train the trainer – Lauren Lochstampfor, Fairfax County Health Department and Jay Kiser, Suffolk Mosquito Control
Pesticides…just some things to think about – Steve Robertson, Navy
VMCA Student Competition Committee update – Jay Kiser, SCC Chair, Suffolk Mosquito Control
Aedes aegypti in the National Capital region: life in the extreme range- Andy Lima, Fairfax County Health Department
York County Mosquito Control’s 3rd grade education program – Elizabeth Hodson, York County Mosquito Control
WNV surveillance in review – Randy Buchanan, Henrico County Public Works
AMCA overview & updates 2018 – Dennis Salmen, AMCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and Charles Abadam, Suffolk Mosquito Control
VDACS legal aspects & updates– Anton Goodwin, VDACS
Keeping an eye on the tiger – Charles Abadam, Suffolk Mosquito Control
Insecticide Resistance Workshop – What is resistance– Dr. Janet McAllister, CDC
Evaluation of Lambda-Cyhalothrin and Pyriproxyfen barrier treatments for Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) management in urbanized areas of New Jersey- (article) Dr. Isik Unlu, Mercer County Mosquito Control, NJ
Using Natular G as a method of Coquillettidia perturbans control – Kaitlyn O’Donnell, Norfolk County Mosquito Control and Derek Drews, Clarke
Effects of truck-mounted, ultra low volume mosquito adulticides on honey bees (Apis mellifera) in a suburban field setting– (article) Dr. Kristen Healy, LSU
Using your WHOLE toolbox– Jason Pevear and Chris Gautier, Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission
Let’s talk about resistance – Emily Boothe, Clarke
Property Maintenance Inspection Form – Josh Smith, Fairfax County Health Department
Outreach outside the box: [rap] battling Zika with hip-hop- Andy Lima, Fairfax County Health Department
Choosing a gravid water recipe and CO2 formulation for mosquito surveillance– Jay Kiser, Suffolk Mosquito Control
Accessing local natural green space and the implications on education and public health outcomes– Eli Hosen, Prince William County Mosquito & Forest Pest Management
Documenting Virginia’s New Illegal Aliens– Karen Akaratovic, Suffolk Mosquito Control
TMVCC year in review 2017– Michelle Slosser, TMVCC President, York County Mosquito Control
MAMCA Update– Ann Herring, MAMCA Representative (VA State Director)
Getting the most out of your adulticide program– Nate Nagle, Prince William County Mosquito & Forest Pest Management
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