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.
When 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.
Warm spring weather is (hopefully) just around the corner. That means it’s time to move it outdoors and enjoy it! From hiking and walking to trips to the dog park, my furry friend, Wiley, and I spend as much time as we can outdoors when it is nice out. The warm weather doesn’t just bring green grass and flowers, however, it also means biting bugs that can harm people and dogs and cats, like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
Just like humans, our beloved pets are at risk for vector-borne disease.
Fleas are one of the easier pests when it comes to determining their presence. Both dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva and will scratch and chew when they have fleas. And just one flea can bite nearly 350 times in one day! While it is uncommon, fleas can transmit disease to dogs, cats and humans alike.
When it comes to ticks, your pet isn’t going to let you know that it has one because it doesn’t make them itch as much as flea bites. They may not look like they are being harmed or bothered by anything, but that may not be the case. Ticks transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis dogs. There is even an illnesses called tick paralysis that can harm our four-legged friends.
When it comes to protecting your pets from flea and ticks, it’s about controlling the pests and being vigilant. Talk to your veterinarian about topical medications or collars. Additionally, there are flea and tick treatments for your yard that will help. At Mosquito Squad, our traditional barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact. We also have additional applications we use to combat ticks more aggressively as well as fleas. Even when your pet is protected with medication or yard treatments, they should be checked after spending time in areas where ticks and fleas are known to be. For example, Wiley had topical treatments, but still had ticks last year after hiking. If your dog or cat has a tick, remove it using tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it is needed for testing. If they have fleas, they will need a flea bath and you will need to check to see if your home needs to be sprayed.
When it comes to mosquitoes, they transmit one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases for some animals: heartworm. The roundworm travels to the heart where it matures and grows. If it isn’t treated, heartworm can be fatal. It is highly recommended that animals take a heartworm medication. It should be prescribed after a heartworm test has been done on the animal.
Symptoms of canine heartworm are coughing, not wanting to exercise, fainting and a rapid heartbeat. Feline heartworm symptoms include coughing, vomiting and depression.
Professional mosquito control will also help protect your pets from heartworm by cutting down on your property’s mosquito population. The mosquito spray that we utilize eliminates mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to 21 days.
If you have questions on how to protect your pets from vector-borne disease, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.
New research from Tubingen University sheds light on some studies done at one concentration camp during World War II. Researcher Dr. Klaus Reinhardt says that there were biological weaponry studies conducted surrounding mosquitoes and malaria, a scary thought.
Reinhardt was studying the work of Nazi Waffen SS when he found information surrounding a “Entomological Institute” at the Dachau concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. The bug research was first ordered to help combat issues with lice and typhoid fever amongst the Nazi troops.
As Germany began to feel more pressure from both sides in 1944, the Entomological Institute turned their research to mosquitoes, and it wasn’t for mosquito control options. The Nazis looked at different species of mosquitoes to see which one would be most resilient in extreme conditions. Once the best specie was determined, they would be infected with malaria and dropped into enemy territory.
Through studies managed by Eduard May, the Anopheles mosquito was considered the best mosquito for the mission.
Dr. Reinhardt says the experiments happened at Dachau concentration camp “in conjunction with another notorious Nazi experiment – inoculating prisoners with malaria.” Source. The doctor behind infecting prisoners with malaria was executed after the Nuremberg trials.
Luckily, the use of mosquitoes as weapons did not come into fruition; however, they are the deadliest animal on earth. Every year, millions of people die from a mosquito-transmitted disease, with the majority being from malaria.
At Mosquito Squad, we are proud to support Malaria No More. Their goal is end malaria deaths in Africa. Malaria is both preventable and treatable with a set of pills that cost less than $1. So every dollar given, is a life saved.
What many Americans may not be aware of is that malaria was a major health concern in the U.S. until it was eradicated in 1951. The Centers for Disease Control was actually initially founded as part of the concentrated effort to rid the US of the deadly disease.
To help support Malaria No More, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net. We want to thank all of our tick and mosquito control clients that help us give to this effort. In 2013 alone, Mosquito Squad was able to save over 55,000 lives with our support of Malaria No More.
Back in December, we talked about Sochi hopeful Angeli VanLaanen and her battle with Lyme disease. Well, she no longer is just a hopeful; she is now on the 2014 Winter Olympic team! Congratulations Angeli!
VanLaanen suffered with some of Lyme disease’s most debilitating symptoms, including fainting, dyslexia and fatigue, for 14 years before being properly diagnosed with the illness. The fact that she is from the Pacific Northwest where Lyme isn’t as prominent could have impacted her misdiagnosis.
Once diagnosed, VanLaanen stopped competing for 3 years to focus on her health. During that time she and director John Roderick filmed her treatment of Lyme disease. The resulting documentary, LymeLight, is Angeli’s way of spreading awareness of what Lyme can do and how it is possible to fight back. The half hour video, can be viewed here. As Roderick explains: “our goal with LymeLight is to educate people about Lyme disease, where it comes from, what the symptoms are and the challenges people face reclaiming their health.”
After taking 3 years off form skiing, VanLaanen dedicated herself to making the Sochi Olympics. She earned the last automatic position by winning the last of five qualifying competitions. 2014 is the first year that halfpipe skiing will be included in the winter games. VanLaanen will be skiing the halfpipe on February 20th.
Lyme disease numbers have been growing over the last decade. Many patients, like Angeli, don’t remember ever being bitten by a tick bite so Lyme isn’t the first illness considered by their doctors. Black-legged ticks that transmit the disease can be as small as a poppy seed aren’t easily seen and They tend to attach to their host in hard to see areas so they can feed without being noticed.
At Mosquito Squad, we urge people to proactively check for ticks after any outdoor excursion. And when it comes to protecting your yard from ticks, considering professional tick control.
Mosquito Squad uses a combination of our traditional barrier spray and tick tubes as a way to control ticks. The barrier spray eliminates ticks on contact while the tick tubes use field mice to eliminate ticks. Most ticks get their first blood meal from mice. Tick tubes are small tubes filled with treated cotton. We place them in areas of the property where mice would be likely to go. When they find the cotton, they take it back to their holes as nesting material. That cotton is treated with tick control product and will eliminate the ticks before they can bite you.
Please contact your local Mosquito Squad if you have any questions on protecting your property from ticks.
At Mosquito Squad, we like to stay up-to-date on all things mosquitoes and a new product from LG Electronics has piqued our interest. The Mosquito Away air conditioner not only keeps residential properties cool, but kill mosquitoes at the same time!
Mosquitoes are not only annoying but dangerous, especially in Africa. In Kenya, 73% of the population is at risk of malaria and causes 20% of all deaths in kids under 5 years old. With the high rate of malaria, LG believes the Mosquito Away is perfect for Kenya. As Joseph Kim of LG East Africa explains;
“We believe that our new Mosquito Away air conditioner can provide true comfort to Kenya consumers. The challenge of designing a product able to provide an effective, non-toxic way of dealing with mosquitoes was one we were only too happy to meet. With ultrasonic wave technology, impressive cooling performance and low-voltage operability, we are confident that the Mosquito Away air conditioner will meet the needs of the Kenyan market.” Source.
How does the air conditioner kill mosquitoes? Through sound. The machine has a button that turns on a speaker that plays ultrasonic waves. The waves will not harm humans, but they confuse and cause paralysis and death in mosquitoes.
In tests, Mosquito Away effectively decreases the number of female mosquitoes (the ones that bite) by 76% within 24 hours. The World Health Organization has helped test the air conditioner due to it potential to fight malaria.
Kenya isn’t the only country in Africa that is heavily affected by malaria. While we at Mosquito Squad help fight mosquitoes in the U.S, we are also helping in the fight in Africa through our partnership with Malaria No More.
Malaria No More is a non-profit organization with the goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa. They have teams on the ground installing bed nets, providing malaria tests and treatments and educating the locals. Malaria is both preventable and treatable; yet, it kills millions of people every year.
If you are interested in giving to the fight against malaria, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net. A donation of just a dollar is enough to pay for a test and treatment, saving a child’s life.
Mosquitoes have lived on Earth for millions of years and as they have changed and evolved, so have their predators. While the little pests are resilient, they do have many natural predators. So who are these helpful predators?
Dragonflies – Dragonflies eat mosquitoes at all stages of their development. Mosquitoes need standing water to development and often do not stray too far from where they hatch. Dragonflies are also known to stay near water. Large populations of dragonflies are known to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in an area because they can easily feed on them before the mosquito reaches maturity.
Fish – many different types of fish feed on mosquitoes in their egg, larva and pupa stages. One of the most helpful fish to have around when it comes to mosquito control is the aptly named mosquito fish. These fish are only 4 to 7 centimeters long, but they consume a large amount of mosquito larvae. Mosquito fish have been introduced to many parts of the world to combat active mosquito populations, including South America and Russia where they were a major factor in the eradication of malaria.
Bats – Bats are the only mammals that can fly and are found throughout the world. The majority of bat species feed on insects including mosquitoes. In some areas of the world, people place bat houses on their property as a way to naturally control mosquitoes. While bat houses have been used since the 1900s, some experts wouldn’t recommend them. Although bats do eat mosquitoes, it is less than 1% of their diet. And, maybe it is just me, but I wouldn’t want a bat in my backyard anyway!
Other mosquito predators include purple martins, prey mantises, nematodes and fungi.
When considering mosquito control options, looking to the pest’s natural predators is not your best bet. Professional mosquito control will provide you with better results and the options are plenty.
At Mosquito Squad we have three main forms of mosquito control for your yard. Our most popular service is the barrier spray, that reduces the area’s mosquito population by 85-90%. The spray is applied to foliage around your property and lasts for up to 21 days.
If you would prefer an all-natural product, our barrier spray does come in an all-natural option. It acts as a repellent and isn’t as effective, reducing the population by 80%. Because the all-natural mosquito spray breaks down more quickly, it needs to be reapplied every 14 days.
Lastly, Mosquito Squad offers misting systems that can be installed on your property. The misting system emits small bursts of mosquito control at times of the day when mosquitoes are at their most active.
If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.