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Spring 2024 Newsletter

Quarterly Newsletter and Updates Spring 2024

Remembering Dr. Jan O. Washburn

A collage with various images of people in different settings such as a group meeting, a conference, and an outdoor event, with text overlay.

Dr. Jan O. Washburn, professor, writer, and long-time board trustee passed away in late January 2024. When his passing was announced, many staff shared stories about Jan, his unique humor and his enthusiasm for “most all creatures with more than four legs (ticks excepted).” Jan was a lifelong entomologist, who collected insects by three years old and began rearing butterflies before he was eight. Originally from the East Coast, Jan earned a B.S. degree in Biology and an M.A. in Ecology from the University of Delaware, before moving to California for a PhD in Entomology from UC Berkeley. For decades Jan researched, wrote, and inspired students from around the world. One review of Jan from a student on Rate My, an unfiltered review of professors reads “Jan was one of the best teachers I've ever had. The kind of course that makes you want to change your major to the subject and save the planet. Super, super duper awesome. Hard class though, and the tests are brutal.”

The District was founded by a UC Berkeley professor, Dr. W.B. Herms in 1930, and the District has had a UC Berkeley professor on the Board of Trustees throughout the decades. Jan continued the long tradition of connecting the District with UC Berkeley starting in 1993. Dr. Jan Washburn not only sat on the board for both the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, but he was also the Interim District Manager in the mid 2000’s. He recruited colleagues and students to work at the District throughout his tenure, and served as a connection between the District and the UC Botanical Garden. For years during special events at the Botanical Garden, Jan showed thousands of people his favorite insects, and spoke about the importance of the tiny creatures to supporting all forms of life on this planet.

In February 2024 the ACMAD Board of Trustees approved naming the District laboratory for him, in deep appreciation for his work. The dedication plaque reads “We celebrate his impact on entomology and mosquito control, his dedication to scientific discovery and education, and his commitment to making science accessible to all. The Dr. Jan O. Washburn Memorial Mosquito Laboratory embodies his legacy, motivating future generations to excel in science and service to community, thereby continuing the journey that he so passionately pursued.”

West Nile Virus is cictulating in Alameda County



The district has found West Nile virus in Alameda and Union City so far this year. The first detection of a dead WNV positive bird occurred on January 19th. “While the early detection of West Nile virus at the start of the year is a surprise, it is not unprecedented” says ACMAD Lab Director Eric Haas-Stapleton PhD. “Our ever-shifting weather patterns of rain and sunshine provide opportunity for mosquitoes to be active throughout the year.” The district’s laboratory team will continue to test for mosquitoes in the surrounding area and deploy operations staff to treat common mosquito sources.

We appreciate the public’s help in locating dead birds and encourage everyone to contact the California Dead Bird Hotline to report a dead bird, no matter where it is found. Remember to reduce mosquito habitats by dumping or draining any containers that hold water. The district encourages residents to contact the office if they find standing water or an unmaintained pool in the county as well. For more information about where we have found West Nile virus so far in this year, use our website:

Social Media Moment

A green rain barrel with hose and a watering can, featuring an illustrated fly frustrated by the protective screen.

If you're saving water, make sure to have a tight fitting lid or a screen to avoid mosquitoes.

Now hiring: Seasonal Mosquito Control Aide

A person trimming a hedge, a red SUV, a person at a desk, and a market stall.

The district is pleased to announce we are hiring for three Seasonal Mosquito Control Aides. The role is a partnership between field operations, laboratory and public outreach, in an effort to provide the aides a comprehensive view of mosquito abatement work. Resumes are due Sunday, April 21st by 5pm. For more details about the role, please see the job announcement: Seasonal Mosquito Control Aide



Staff from the district presented and moderated sessions at two large conferences, American Mosquito Control Association and Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California. Check out what we did below.

American Mosquito Control Association Annual Conference 

Miguel Barretto: Barcoding Quantitative PCR assay to distinguish between Aedes aegypti and Aedes sirriensis

Ryan Clausnitzer: The National Special District Coalition

Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California conference 

Miguel Barretto: Barcoding Quantitative PCR assay to distinguish between Aedes aegypti and Aedes sirriensis

Ryan Clausnitzer: The Pivotal Power of Prudence when Managing Mosquito and Vector Control Money

Robert Ferdan: Free Cyber Security Tools to secure your district against the Bad Guys

Eric Haas-Stapleton moderated a symposium about drones

Annika Olson: Water quality and environmental DNA: methods for investigating Aedes dorsalis larval ecology

Special thanks to General Manager Ryan Clausnitzer, Lab Director Dr. Eric Haas-Stapleton and Field Operations

Supervisor Joseph Huston for their support in developing, editing and submitting presentations.