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District History

The 1950’s

  • 1952 The Southeast Mosquito Abatement District was formed through a citizen petition aimed at controlling mosquitoes emanating from the Los Angeles River, affecting the proximate cities of Maywood, Bell, Huntington Park and portions of Los Angeles County totaling approximately 150 square miles.
  • 1955 A new permanent headquarters was built in the city of South Gate. District Entomologist Gardner C. McFarland was promoted to the position of District Manager. He was the first Manager to ever serve the District.

The 1960’s

  • 1965 Fourteen additional cities joined the District including most of Los Angeles City and its area referred to as the San Fernando Valley.
  • 1968 To best serve the Valley, both economically and efficiently, the District established branch operational facilities in North Hollywood.

The 1970’s

  • 1975 District Entomologist Frank W. Pelsue was promoted to District Manager after the untimely death of the founding Manager Gardner C. McFarland.
  • 1978 Proposition 13 dismantled the District’s sole funding mechanism–ad valorem property taxes. As a result, 20% of District staff was laid off.

The 1980’s

  • 1983 An unprecedented outbreak of mosquito-transmitted St. Louis encephalitis infected 26 people (17 within the District) with two fatalities.
  • 1985 Insect growth regulators, growth inhibitors, and biorational products gradually replaced organophosphate insecticides dominant in use during the 1970’s.
  • 1986 A District-wide flat rate per parcel benefit assessment restored funding to pre-Proposition 13 levels and the District was able to resume normal operational activities.

The 1990’s

  • 1990 The value of education and outreach was realized, and the Public Information and Education Program, now called the Community Affairs Department, was launched.
  • 1994 The District changed its name from Southeast Mosquito Abatement District to the present moniker.
  • 1997 A new District headquarters was built in Santa Fe Springs, replacing the South Gate facility.
  • 1998 A blackfly assessment zone to control black flies along a special 26-mile corridor of the Los Angeles River was established, and a proactive midge program focused on preventing midge nuisance associated with water reclamation, water regeneration, and flood control improvement sources was implemented. The Africanized honey bee (AHB) removal program began following AHB colonization in Los Angeles County.

The 2000’s

  • 2001 The Asian tiger mosquito, an imported exotic species , was discovered in a shipment of lucky bamboo. GLACVCD was the first agency to take responsive action. The Greater Los Angeles Mosquito and Vector Control Public Health and Educational Foundation, a newly formed 501 (C)(3) tax-exempt organization based in Santa Fe Springs, CA, was founded to further advance GLACVCD’s current elementary program with a Mobile Science Education Program.
  • 2002 The District discontinued its Africanized honeybee removal service. The implementation of the Underground Storm Drain Program was incorporated into operations to avert the spread of West Nile virus. The northern branch office opened in Sylmar, replacing the North Hollywood Branch facility.
  • 2003 West Nile virus (WNV) was first detected in the District on October 3, 2003. The District began a collaborative research program with the University of California, Davis to investigate the urban disease ecology of WNV.
  • 2004 The first wide-spread epidemic of West Nile virus occurred in 2004, particularly in Southern California. Statewide there were 830 human cases (28 deaths), 540 horse cases (230 deaths) and 3,232 dead birds reported to the California Department of Public Health. The District expended an additional $500,000 on resources, labor, and community outreach. This unprecedented effort (including the “Wipe Out West Nile Virus” public relations campaign), protected and saved countless lives.
  • 2007 California experienced a resurgence of West Nile virus activity this year, with 380 human cases reported including 16 fatalities. In August, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the three counties in Central California hardest hit by the virus.
  • The Underground Storm Drain Program was incorporated as a permanent component of the Operations Department.
  • 2010 Following a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that vector control agencies are subject to the Clean Water Act and must obtain an NPDES permit to apply public health pesticides in or near waters of the U.S., the District began working with MVCAC, member districts, and the CA State Water Resources Control Board to develop a statewide permit and monitoring coalition.
  • 2011 In September 2011, an infestation of the Asian tiger mosquito was discovered in the San Gabriel Valley. The San Gabriel Valley MVCD and GLACVCD worked collaboratively to conduct intensive surveillance and control efforts. The infestation zone incorporated approximately 18 square miles in the cities of South El Monte, El Monte, and portions of unincorporated LA County.
  • 2014 Two additional invasive mosquitoes were identified in several GLACVCD cities: Aedes aegypti and Aedes notoscriptus. Increasing global travel and commerce, and changing environmental conditions are bringing increased vector-borne disease risks to the region.
  • 2021 The City of Vernon was annexed into the District's service area, becoming the 36th member city to join the public health agency.