Disney World: The No-Mans-Land for Mosquitos
A Wetland Wonder
Florida is well-known for its wetlands, and mosquitos LOVE water. In fact, water is crucial to the life cycle of these nasty little vampires and females even lay their eggs in water to hatch. So, it seems very apparent that a place like Disney World, which is in the midst of this swampy state, would probably be overrun with mosquitos… but it’s not. Rather, many guests recall having the opposite experience at the park: experiencing extremely low or no mosquito encounters whatsoever. But, how could this be?
As it turns out, Disney, which a company well known for placing an extremely high precedence on their guests’ experiences, has taken a plethora of steps to enact their own full-out war on mosquitos.
Covering Their Bases
Disney truly started their war on bugs with the basics. While things that are “basic” can often be misconstrued as weak or negligible, when it comes to pest control, they are crucial steps, and no campaign against bugs can truly be successful without them. The basics that Disney implements include:
- Sealing off buildings to limit or completely prevent mosquitos from entering
- Spraying insecticides in areas of high activity
- Utilizing mosquito growth regulators in order to reduce the life span of the bugs
Disney is also known for fostering a positive environment for the natural predators of mosquitos in order to encourage nature’s original pest control. While these basics are all very important, it isn’t just the fact that Disney has them that keeps so many mosquitos at bay, rather, it is how they implement these tactics.
SOS stands for “search out the source.” This is something that we implement in our own pest control efforts as it is proven to be the most effective way to treat for any kind of pest. A technician could spray the air where the bees are flying all day, but unless their nest is discovered and removed, the problem will persist. This is very much the same case with mosquitos. By targeting their breeding areas and areas of high activity, Disney’s pest control team can truly target their efforts. This is especially important for Disney World, because their park is extremely expansive and it would be extremely time consuming, expensive, and most likely far less effective to just evenly spray the whole park.
Luckily for Disney World, they are part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District of Disney, whose Department of Planning and Engineering has launched a Mosquito Surveillance Program. This has eliminated blind spraying and replaced it with patterns guiding the teams on both where and when to spray based on extensive scientific data. This data is collected through the use of over 60 mosquito traps strategically place throughout the park. The traps utilize an excretion of CO2 in order to attract the mosquitos into them as CO2 is one of the leading reasons that mosquitos are able to find us. In fact, this is such an important method for the mosquitos to identify their prey that they actually have three sensors for seeking sources of CO2. These sensors are cells called GR1, GR2, and GR3. So, in practice, these traps are very successful.
Once trapped, the mosquitos are collected for laboratory analysis. The analysis conducted is extremely thorough cataloging the age, species, gender, health, and even the capability of being a vector of disease for each mosquito. This data provides the specialists with the information on where to spray as well as what treatments will be most effective in which areas. Using this information, Disney sprays these areas twice a day – at sunrise and sunset – in order to most effectively eradicate mosquitos and create a fun, bite-free atmosphere for their guests.
Why Are There No Mosquitos at Disney World? (2018) YouTube. Midway to Main Street. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_30jPKzWdN0 (Accessed: August 2020).