Harris County Precinct 4’s Biological Control Initiative was established in 2012 to find and develop natural mosquito control methods. Biological control expands the arsenal in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases by using nature against nature and using organisms that prey upon the mosquito. Dedicated technicians and scientists, led by Anita Schiller, research and apply biological controls within Precinct 4.
The mission of Harris County Precinct 4’s Biological Control Initiative (BCI) is to find, evaluate, develop, produce, and release potential biocontrol agents against pest mosquitoes within Harris County Precinct 4.
When incorporated into pest management programs, biological control enhances the effectiveness of pesticides and can reduce the need for their application. Pesticide use can result in unintended ecological consequences that can potentially decimate beneficial invertebrates, including bees and other important pollinators, birds, and fish. Mosquitoes may also develop a resistance to insecticides, thus reducing the effectiveness of future insecticide treatments.
The research and development of a biocontrol agent begins with identifying native organisms that show potential to impact the target without harming non-targets. BCI must also find cost-effective ways to produce the biocontrol agent for deployment in the field. The potential agent is then evaluated in the laboratory as well as semi-field and field settings to ascertain its efficacy to reduce pest mosquito populations.