About Us

"We are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for our community by providing effective and environmentally sound vector control and disease prevention programs through research, development, and awareness."

During the mid 1920s, eye gnats (Hippelates) had become a significant problem in the Coachella Valley. Mass meetings were held resulting in petitions sent to the University of California, the State and County Boards of Health and Federal Government asking for immediate assistance. The concern was, not just the nuisance that eye gnats were causing, but that eye gnats are potential mechanical vectors of conjunctivitis (“pink eye”).

In 1927, “pink eye” had become so prevalent that schools in the Coachella Valley were closed for two months during the eye gnat season. To address the problem, Dr. William B. Herms of the University of California, Berkley sent researchers to the Valley and the Federal Government appropriated $12,000.00 for study of eye gnats. The Bureau of Entomology established a Gnat Research Laboratory with four entomologists, D.C. Parman as head, David G. Hall, Ga ylon, W. Robertson and Robert W. Burgess. The Coachella Valley Mosquito Abatement District (District), was formed under the California Mosquito Abatement by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on March 12, 1928, to combat eye gnats. At the time seven trustees were appointed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to create and oversee the District policies.

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In October of 1948, the first District entomologist, Dr. Ernest R. Tinkham, began his intensive research into eye gnat control. Dr. Tinkham confirmed that eye gnats could be controlled by the application of insecticide to the soil where eye gnat larvae breed. The District employed this practice for many years until insect resistance, environmental concerns, and budgetary constraints made it no longer feasible. Since 1956, Dr. Mir Mulla from the University of California, Riverside has collaborated with the District in extensive research on eye gnats, including their habitats and control techniques, introducing a method termed “trapping out” using non-pesticide attractant to draw the flies in the traps and deplete them locally.

In 1949 the Coachella Valley Canal was completed bringing an abundance of water to the valley, which resulted in the formation of mosquito breeding sites from irrigation runoff. The abundance of mosquitoes created a nuisance as well as a health threat in the form of mosquito-borne virus transmission.

In January 1951, the Board of Trustees of the District formed a Mosquito Control Department in addition to the eye gnat control. Forty-four years later, in 1995, the Board of Trustees expanded the District to a full vector control agency and changed the name to the CV Mosquito and Vector Control District. With this expansion in programs came the need for a larger, modern headquarters to meet work and safety requirements. The District moved from its Thermal headquarters, where it had been located for 73 years, to the new headquarters in Indio in April 2001.

In 2005, the District added the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) Program. Valley residents suffering from RIFA infestations could now call the District for property inspections and treatment of this pest.

The Bio-Control Facility was completed in 2006 as a result of the District’s commitment to research and apply the latest integrated methods to control mosquitoes. At present mosquito fish, nematodes and tadpole shrimp are being investigated for suitability in various habitats in the Coachella Valley.

Currently the District has 58 full time employees. The District has a Code of Conduct to operate responsibly socially, environmentally and fiscally. The three most important functions of the District include Surveillance, Control, and Public Outreach/Education. The District’s goal is to keep this three-legged stool stable through the efforts of a dedicated and professional staff, fiscal security, and administrative guidance from the Board of Trustees.

Check out the quarter century of research carried out at the District in this presentation to the District Board of Trustees in July 2013 by Dr. William Reisen.
University of California Research in Coachella Valley: a quarter century of collaboration (William K. Reisen and Hugh D. Lothrop)