Next Friday is World Malaria Day

Next Friday, April 25th, marks the 7th Annual World Malaria Day. World Malaria Day was founded in 2007 by the World Health Organization as “an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control” Source.

Many Americans don’t remember (or weren’t born during) a time when malaria plagued the United States, but it did! During World War II, the US started the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (it is now the Centers for Disease Control) that focused on stopping malaria around military training camps in the southern half of the country. The efforts were successful and in 1947 a movement to eradicate malaria from the country started. In just two short years, malaria was no longer a major health concern in the United States.

While we haven’t had to struggle with malaria for over 60 years locally, it still kills an estimated 627,000 people globally every year. Africa is the hardest hit continent, but progress is happening! The malaria incidence rate has decreased by 25% globally since 2000 with increased awareness and commitment.

Dread Skeeter and the rest of the Mosquito Squad is happy to support Malaria No More in their mission to end malaria deaths in Africa

Dread Skeeter and the rest of the Mosquito Squad is happy to support Malaria No More in their mission to end malaria deaths in Africa

World Malaria Day’s theme for 2014 and 2015 is simple: “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.” And with our partner, Malaria No More, Mosquito Squad is doing just that.

For the past three years, Mosquito Squad has committed itself to fighting malaria through our partnership with Malaria No More, a nonprofit with the goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa. Malaria No More provides bed nets, malaria tests, treatment and education in areas of Africa that are hard hit with this preventable and treatable vector-borne disease.

In 2013, we saved over 50,000 lives with our contributions. Every dollar can save a life, literally. Just one dollar can provide both a test and five-day treatment, saving a life.

In January of this year, we laid out Dread’s Challenge, a three year goal of saving 250,000 lives in Africa. If you want to help us fight the bite, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.

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Are Mice the Perfect Host for Ticks?

I spend a lot of time outdoors in the spring and summer months and I’m also hyper-aware of the presence of ticks. For such a small animal, the tick can cause some serious damage.

Ticks are vectors, or transmitters, of disease. They infect through their bite and have been known to cause devastating damage to humans, moose and other mammals. One animal that it doesn’t seem to impact, however, isn’t what you would normally picture as tough: the white-footed mouse.

A new study from Sarah Lawrence University biologist Michelle Hersh studied the relationship between mice and ticks. Mice displayed no apparent negative affects from ticks and the bacteria they carry. And the number of ticks didn’t matter either. Even when the mice were hosts to a large number of ticks they didn’t seem bothered.

Small tick on finger

The tick is a vector of many illnesses and disease, so small yet so dangerous.

As co-author Richard Ostfeld explains; “they basically thumb their noses at ticks, no matter how many are on them. There is something about these mice that makes them incredibly permissive to infection by the pathogens that make us sick, and also to the ticks that bite them and us.” Source.

At Mosquito Squad, we use mice being a super host for ticks to our favor with our backyard tick control service. Knowing that ticks usually get their first blood meal from a mouse, we use mice as a vehicle for our tick treatments.

Tick tubes are filled with cotton that is treated with a tick toxicant and then are placed in areas of the property where mice are known to travel, for example along fence lines and foundation walls. When mice come across the tick tubes, they take the cotton to use as bedding in their nests. The tick control solution rubs off onto the mouse’s fur. When the tick goes to feed on the mouse, it ingests the tick control solution, effectively eliminating them.

Tick tubes are usually strategically placed twice a year in spring and late summer/early fall. A tick control professional will come out to your property and base the number of tubes on the size of your property and tick population.

If you have questions on tick elimination services for you yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.

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Organic Mosquito Control for Your Yard

They’re baaaack! Yes, I mean mosquitoes. Temperatures are rising again, so these pesky bugs are too. Several of our Mosquito Squad locations are already providing mosquito control for our clients.

2aWhile our traditional barrier protection program is our most common service, we do provide an all natural/organic option for interested clients.

Our organic mosquito spray is made of up essential oils and does work differently than our traditional barrier spray. While it eliminates adults mosquitoes on contact, the organic spray acts a repellent instead of eliminating mosquitoes through their eating habits. Our traditional spray is ingested by the mosquito when it feeds on plant material that has been treated, eliminating the pest. The organic mosquito spray repels them with its smell.

When first applied to the property, there is a slight botanical fragrance to the all-natural spray. To a human’s sense of smell, the odor dissipates within a few hours of application, however, mosquitoes are much more sensitive to smell. The fragrance keeps them away.

Because the organic mosquito control breaks down in the natural elements more quickly, we at Mosquito Squad recommend reapplying the treatment every 14 days for continuous protection. For comparison’s sake, the traditional barrier spray is reapplied every 21 days usually.

While no mosquito control company can promise to eliminate all mosquitoes from your property, Mosquito Squad’s organic spray does cut down on your mosquito population significantly. We tell our clients to expect a 70-75% decrease in the number of mosquitoes on your property after the spray has been applied (the traditional spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes).

Professional organic mosquito control is a great way to treat your yard. Like always, we at Mosquito Squad suggest ridding your yard of any standing water to help cut down on mosquitoes on your property as well.

If you have any questions on the mosquito control options in your area, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Is your Natural Scent Repelling Mosquitoes

mosquito_bitePersonally, I’m one of the unlucky people that mosquitoes LOVE. If I stop on a walk with my dog, I’m sure to get a few mosquito bites that turn into large welts. One of my best friends, however, barely ever gets mosquito bites. While I am jealous, microbial ecologist Rob Knight explains that it isn’t all that surprising.

Sorry to all you germ-aphobes out there, but even if you shower three times a day, you still have billions of microbes that live on your skin. The diversity of microbes can vary vastly from human to human. These microbes produce chemicals and scents that may attract mosquitoes.

Forty-eight males volunteered to illustrate how different skin microbes can be more or less attractive to mosquitoes. They were asked not to shower for two days and to refrain from certain types of food and beverages like alcohol, garlic, etc. To increase the number of microbes to be tested, the men had to wear socks for 24 hours.

The researchers then rubbed glass beads on the bottom of the men’s feet to grab samples of the skin for testing. Mosquitoes were then introduced to the beads as mosquito bait. Some beads were placed in the highly attractive category while others were poorly attractive. The highly attractive beads were more likely to have a high concentration of certain microbes, while the poorly attractive group have a diverse population of microbes.

Based on these tests, “researchers say that it’s possible that some people’s smell acts as a natural deterrent” (Source) to mosquitoes.

Unfortunately, we don’t have control over the microorganisms on our skin and the scent they produce. To ensure mosquitoes stay away, you have to protect yourself. On your property, mosquito protection doesn’t mean you have to burn candles or spray your skin. Professional mosquito control treats the foliage on your property to eliminate mosquitoes on contact and provide continuous control for up to 21 days, but how does it work? Mosquitoes feed primarily on plants. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray leaves a residue on the plants that the pest will ingest when it feeds, eliminating them.

If you have questions on mosquito control in your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Kevin Bacon Releases PSA with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance

Have you every played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Not sure how to play? Pick an actor or actress and try to connect them to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. It’s a way to pass time, but I can tell you one thing that just got closer to the Following actor: Lyme disease.

Despite starring in a scary crime show, one of the things that scares Kevin Bacon the most is Lyme disease. He and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, have a home in Connecticut where Lyme disease is prominent. When the kids were little they made it a nightly chore to check the kids each night for ticks after they had spent time outdoors.

This week, Bacon teamed up with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance for this Public Service Announcement:

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) works to raise awareness for tick-borne disease. They work with other groups around the nation to support initiatives looking to find cures for diseases like Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and more.

One of the most difficult parts of tick-borne diseases is getting a proper diagnosis. The TBDA is working on improving both the diagnostics and treatment for these dangerous diseases.

At Mosquito Squad, we offer professional tick treatments for your yard through our barrier spray and tick tubes. Our traditional barrier spray treatment eliminates ticks on contact.

Tick tubes are a great product to use in your battle against ticks and tick-borne disease. They are placed in areas of your property where mice are known to travel like along fences and under decks. The tubes are filled with treated cotton that the mice take back to their nests. The tick control solution then gets on the mice’ skin and since the majority of ticks get their first blood meal from mice, it eliminates them.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Keep the Mosquitoes Away from Your Spring Wedding

From Christmas and New Year’s to Valentine’s Day, my Facebook page displayed an influx of engagement announcements and now, it seems, wedding planning as begun. If you are engaged, make sure one special item is on your wedding must-have list: mosquito control.

When I first got engaged and my now husband and I started to plan our big day my mind went to the most obvious things: location, dress, music and flowers. The little things that may not be as glamorous, however, make a big impact. You want your guests to enjoy the entire day and mosquitoes can ruin your event.

If you are having an outdoor wedding (or even having drinks outside), ask the person in charge of the location if there are mosquito control options, and I don’t just mean bug spray. At Mosquito Squad, we offer a special events spray for weddings, graduation parties, barbecues or any other outdoor event. It’s our goal to make sure that you and your guests are kept off the menu!

Our mosquito control for special events is comprised of the same mosquito barrier spray that we use on residential properties. We visit your location 24 to 48 hours prior to your event and apply the treatment to any area that lends itself to mosquitoes. The spray eliminates mosquitoes (and adult ticks) on contact and will provide continuous protection through your big day.

If you are planning a special event outdoors, please call you local Mosquito Squad to ask about our mosquito control options. Trust us, you don’t want your event to end up like this:

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Another Tick-Borne Illness on the Rise

Many people are familiar with the most common tick-borne disease: Lyme, but another has been on the rise: anaplasmosis.

Anaplasmosis was first found in humans in the mid-1990s. States started to report cases in 1999 and ever since then it has been on a steady increase.  While the numbers still remain relatively low nationwide, it’s becoming more common in states with large black-legged tick populations.

Anaplasmosis is transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick. While the symptoms are flulike with the most common being fever, chills and headaches, it actually affects the body’s white blood cells and can be quite dangerous. White blood cells help combat illness in the body, so if the number is decreased, the body can’t fight other infections.

David Letterman, host of The Late Show, suffered from anaplasmosis in 2009 after being bitten by a tick while spending the night outside. He told his audience that it made him feel worse than the heart surgery he had in past.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracksWhen diagnosed, anaplasmosis is treated with antibiotics, but one of every 200 cases is fatal.

As spring returns and temperatures rise, we all like to spend more time outdoors. Ticks will become quite active again soon, which means we need increase our awareness and vigilance.

Mosquito Squad offers tick control services for the home through our barrier spray and tick tube applications. For anyone who is spending time outdoors, especially in areas where ticks are known to live, please use these tips:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Lighter colored clothing will make it easier to see the ticks
  • Conduct a full body check after coming indoors. Use a mirror or ask someone to help check those hard to see areas
  • Place clothes in the dryer, on high heat to eliminate any ticks that remain on your clothing.
  • Promptly remove any ticks that have attached to you using tweezers.

If you have questions regarding tick control, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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