From 2013 to 2015, VECMAP was used in very high-resolution mode to track the presence of the invasive Aedes japonicus mosquito, and to plan, implement and assess the success of an elimination program. This was carried out in collaboration with public service organisations in Wallonia, and with the assistance of local communities in the village of Natoye and its surroundings. The sites selected by VECMAP were surveyed between May and October in 2013 and 2014, using specific traps for adults as well as collection strategies for larvae. Each potential breeding site was then treated with biocide, cleaned, or removed completely. Following this there was no positive trapping of this invasive mosquito after August 2015, again a first for Belgium and Europe!
“MODIRISK was a unique opportunity to apply to Europe the methods I developed in Africa and to set the scene for VECMAP" – Guy Hendrickx, CEO Avia-GIS
Today’s VECMAP has its technical and intellectual roots in methods which the founder of Avia-GIS developed in Togo, West Africa, for mapping tsetse flies, their hosts, and the diseases they transmit to man and livestock. In Belgium he initiated MODIRISK, a Belspo project set up to map mosquito diversity in Belgium: 1,000 sampling sites were visited during two vector seasons, each divided into two sampling periods. As a result, 22 mosquito species were identified of which two were first-time records of invasive species. Here five model outputs are show for the mosquito Culex pipiens in the Benelux using first the full data set of 1000 sampling points, and then respectively a sub-sample of 800, 600, 400 and 200 sampling points. This is part of a research conducted by Avia-GIS do identify ideal sample sizes and optimize the cost-efficiency of field surveys.