According to Elizabeth (Biz) Collins of the North Fork Mosquito Abatement District, it’s almost unheard of to have an all-volunteer trapping program. But that is exactly what was accomplished this past season in the North Fork, and hopefully with more volunteers, can be expanded next season.
Volunteer have to set out the traps and pick them up at specific times. The traps, due to the life of the batteries, need to be set out between 5 and 7 p.m. and picked up between 7 and 8 the next morning. If the traps are picked up late or set out too early, the batteries fail and the mosquitoes can escape making the sample useless.
Trappers donate their time, cars and gas. They receive no reimbursements for their work. After the crew was laid off for the season due to a shortfall in tax revenue, the district had their first case of mosquitoes with West Nile Virus.
The volunteer program has grown from two people in 2008 to eight volunteers by the end of that season. In 2009 up to 13 people volunteered. For 2010, the volunteer program is aiming to grow to 20 people.