Over the years, we at Mosquito Squad have shared a lot of information on mosquitoes. The different types, how they choose their prey, the diseases they carry, etc. We were excited to see a new video that was released today that provides a great snapshot on our most dreaded pest. Take a look at this video from TED-Ed, Lessons Worth Sharing:
We at Mosquito Squad are very familiar with both the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes. For those of you that may not be aware, Mosquito Squad was born from a need. Our sister company, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, had lighting designers that would be eaten alive when designing and installing outdoor lighting systems. It was such a nuisance that our founders, Boyd Huneycutt and Scott Zide, who were involved with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, decided to provide a service to help. From there, Mosquito Squad was born.
Mosquito Squad prides itself on giving our clients their yards back. Our effective mosquito control spray reduces your mosquito population by up to 90% for up to 21 days!
If you are looking for a gift for that hard to buy for person on your list this holiday, a gift certificate for Mosquito Squad services is something completely unexpected. Allow your friends or family members to know what summer is like without mosquito bites! For more information, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.
Although the nights are longer and the temperatures are cooler, it doesn’t mean that you are safe from pests this winter. Yes, maybe the mosquitoes and ticks that Mosquito Squad protects against are hiding until spring, but there are bugs that are not only present, but moving indoors this time of the year.
From spiders and stink bugs to roaches and ants, winter forces some pests indoors for shelter. We know that isn’t a fun idea to take in, so here are a few tips to minimize the number of bugs coming indoors.
Look for entry points and close them up. Bugs are small so it isn’t surprising they can make their way into tiny holes. Walk around your home and make note of areas where you think bugs may be able to make their way in. That small space between the door and the frame or that small tear in your screen are easy places for a bug to work its way inside.
Walk around your home and take note of any plants or branches that are touching your home’s structure. Crawling bugs will use those plants as a way to move inside in the cooler months. It’s a best practice all year round to keep vegetation from touching your home due to pests.
Be careful of your firewood. Who doesn’t love to curl up in front of a fire on a cold winter’s night? I know I do. When going outside to gather wood for your next fire, pay attention to what is coming inside with you. Ants and roaches are known to nest in wood piles and can easily take a ride indoors with you if you aren’t careful. Raising your wood off the ground is a good way to cut down on the number of bugs in your pile.
Wrap up leftovers tightly. One of the reasons pests move indoors is that they can find food sources away from the cold. Make sure to cover or wrap all food up tightly if left on the counter. Be careful to pick up any crumbs that fall on the floor as well, those crumbs are perfect for pests.
Bugs, unfortunately, are never all gone or gone forever, but small steps like these will cut down on the number of critters you are sharing your home with. When the warm weather comes around again, Mosquito Squad will be here to help you with those outdoor pests!
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that we don’t talk about too often, but it has made the news recently. Dengue is also known as the breakbone fever due to its severe muscle and joint pain and is considered a tropical disease that has, in the United States, been primarily found in Florida. In the last few weeks however, Texas and New York have reported cases of Dengue.
Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Florida keys have a large Aedes aegypti population and suffered a Dengue outbreak in 2010. Now, local employees are considering a new method of decreasing the mosquito population with mixed feedback.
Michael Doyle is director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD). Its goal is to control the mosquito population in the keys, an area that has the pests all year round due to its warm weather. Having tried pesticides and more natural solutions such as dragonflies (a mosquito predator) with little success, Doyle would like to introduce genetically modified mosquitoes to the area.
British bioengineering company Oxitec is the leader in genetically modified mosquitoes. They inject male Aedes aegypti with what is referred to as a suicide gene. The gene prohibits the males’ offspring from maturing and kills them, thus cutting down on the mosquito population.
In 2009, Oxitec was criticized for releasing 3.3 million modified mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands without public consultation, however, the test displayed promising results. Since then, the company has expanded to Malaysia and Brazil.
When news that the city wanted to release modified mosquitoes in the Keys was announced, residents were anything but thrilled. They question the timing of such a radical step. The area hasn’t seen a dengue outbreak since 2010 and it seems too early to evaluate the long-term effects of genetically modified mosquitoes. As local resident, Mila del Mier stated, “why not keep the status quo and have more time for more studies?”
Doyle explains mosquito spraying isn’t as effective as they’d hope because municipal spraying cannot reach all the areas where mosquitoes hide.
We at Mosquito Squad are interested to see what comes from further tests of genetically modified mosquitoes. In the meantime, we will continue to protect our clients with our effective mosquito control spray. Our trained technicians focus on the areas where municipal spraying can’t reach, like heavy foliage on your yard.
If you have questions regarding professional mosquito control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.
When I first met Patrick McKennon he was visiting the Mosquito Squad home office to decide if he wanted to invest in the mosquito control company in Nashville, TN. I distinctly remember his excitement when we discussed our partnership with Malaria No More, a non-profit that aims to end malaria deaths in Africa. Since joining the Mosquito Squad family he has been a proud supporter and advocate of Malaria No More.
In 2012, Patrick, with the help of his clients, raised $11,000 for Malaria No More. In 2013, he took it one step further.
Wanting to truly understand Malaria No More and their mission, Patrick traveled to Africa with his 13-year old daughter Grace last month. The two-week trip to Tanzania provided the McKennons with true understanding and perspective.
Patrick and Grace started their trip in Serengeti and Ngorongor for a three day safari. They then spent a week in Moshi where they were able to volunteer at two different orphanages. Patrick explains the kids as happy and have “so much love for so little.”
In Arusha, Patrick and Grace visited A-to-Z nets, the manufacturer of long-lasting insecticide nets. A-to-Z provides nets to Malaria No More and other organizations helping in the fight against malaria. Permethrin, the mosquito control agent, is actually part of the nets’ threads and each net lasts up to 5 years and 500,000 of them are made every day!
Patrick and Grace didn’t want to be the only ones affected by their trip and wanted to make a big impact in Tanzania. They delivered 100 bed nets to a health clinic in Morogoro through Malaria No More and installed another 20 nets to Msamaria Center for Street Kids.
If that wasn’t enough, Patrick took it one step further, sending 7 kids to school starting in January.
While Patrick has gone above and beyond in his support of Malaria No More and the general cause of stopping malaria deaths, he’s not the only one involved in the cause. Mosquito Squad locations across the country are doing their part. Our mosquito control experts have donated to Malaria No More throughout 2013. We want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them.
Malaria is both preventable and curable, yet it remains one of the top three killers of children worldwide. If you want to help us support the cause, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.
This past weekend, I was out with a group of new Virginia transplants. We were discussing some differences from where they previously lived to their new home in VA. One of the major trends I noticed was bugs, they weren’t familiar with a number species (and sizes) that are common here. They all agreed that stink bugs were the worst, but they didn’t know very much about them.
Halyomorpha halys, or the brown marmorated stink bug, is nave to Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan and wasn’t found in the United States until 1998. Their introduction to this country happened by accident. Researchers believe that they traveled here in fruit ships from Asia. Since then, the stink bug population in America has grown tremendously and are now found in 26 states.
Stink bugs received a lot of media attention in 2010 due to their impact on farmers. These beetle like bugs are considered agricultural pets because they can cause widespread damage to fruits and vegetables. The bugs suck juice out of the crops, causing ripples and on the surface. Although their salvia isn’t poisonous to humans, the crops can no longer be sold because of their appearance.
One of the major issues with controlling the stink bug population has been that their most common predator isn’t found here in the United States. Without their primary predator, the brown marmorated stink bug was able to live longer and reproduce successfully. As they have become more common, some wasps and birds are showing signs of feeding on stink bugs.
Stink bugs have a distinct appearance making them easy to point out. Their bodies are brown and shield-shaped. Adults are ¾ of an inch long. They get their name from their main defense mechanism, stench. The pests release an odor through their abdomen when threatened by an outside source. That is why it is recommended that stink bugs are always picked up with a napkin, tissue or paper towel instead of with their hand. Additionally, stepping on or smashing a stink bug can result in the odor embedding in the surface it is smashed on.
When the weather turns cooler, stink bugs move inside for their hibernation state. That is why they are a common occurrence in many parts of the country this time of year. They enter the home through any opening they can fit in. You’ll often notice stink bugs buzzing around lights or around the house because the warm of the interior will make them more active. If you have stink bugs in your house, pick them up with a tissue and flush them down the toilet (vacuuming them with a bagged vacuum also works).
At Mosquito Squad, we offer stink bug protection in the form of a spray. We will spray the areas of the property where stink bugs are commonly seen. If you have questions regarding stink bugs and stink bug control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.
Lyme disease is a growing problem in the United States. This year, the CDC estimated that they are possibly 10 times the number of cases than those that are actually reported, making it nearly 300,000 cases a year!
We’ve mentioned that diagnosis can be an issue with Lyme disease. Its symptoms are many, but there is only one telltale sign of Lyme. If a patient goes to the doctor with a large bull’s eye rash, it is a clear symptom of Lyme and the patient will quickly be put on antibiotics. If, however, a patient comes in complaining of fatigue and fever, there are numerous ailments that it could be and Lyme may not be the first thought, especially if the patient doesn’t remember any tick bites.
The best way to diagnose Lyme is through a series of blood tests that gauge your body’s reaction to the disease. Even these, unfortunately, are not a 100% accurate. If the test is taken too early, there may be no presence of antibodies in your blood.
The first test most often used for Lyme is called the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. The test looks for antibodies for the Lyme causing bacteria, B. burgdorferi. The ELISA test isn’t enough to confirm Lyme disease because it isn’t 100% accurate. According to Lymedisease.org, it isn’t sensitive enough to detect all antibodies. Additionally, it can result in some false positives so a Western Blot test is usually requested to confirm.
A Western Blot test looks at different proteins of the blood to detect the antibodies. For the Western Blot test, blood is placed on a strip that creates bands when certain proteins are present. When proteins are high, the bands appear darker. To gauge the presence of signs, the number, placement and color of the bands are analyzed. The bands look similar to a barcode when printed out. If the ELISA test says that a patient has Lyme and the Western Blot doesn’t, Lyme is not the probable cause of symptoms. If both are positive, however, the patients will most likely start treatment to combat Lyme.
Our bodies normally won’t show the antibody proteins if the test is taken too early. The best time to take the tests is 4 to 6 weeks after infection.
The key to Lyme is vigilance. Make sure to do a thorough tick check after spending any time in the outdoors where ticks may be present. If you are bitten, make note of where and when and, if possible, keep the tick. Yes, I said keep the tick. Place the tick in a plastic bag just in case you do get sick and you need the tick tested.
At Mosquito Squad, we protect families from the dangers of tick through tick control for the yard. A combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes will cut down on the tick population drastically in the defined area. If you have any questions on ticks or Lyme, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.
I admit that I am a big fan of Rebel Wilson. I find her to be a talented young actress who is absolutely hysterical. The other day I saw a clip of an interview she did where she credited malaria for pushing her to become an actress (stick with me, this will make sense). After school she was a youth ambassador in South Africa when she contracted malaria through a mosquito bite. She became incredibly ill and while in the hospital dreamt that she was an actress. When she recovered, she followed that dream.
Many people believe that malaria is an illness that only affects those that are less fortunate. And while the majority of malaria cases do occur in impoverished areas of Africa, it doesn’t discriminate. People from all walks of life have contracted and battled this terrible mosquito-borne disease. Here are some that may surprise you.
In 1503, Christopher Columbus had to cut one of his voyages short after contracting malaria.
Mother Teresa fell ill with the disease in 1993 while visiting New Delhi. She went to the hospital complaining of a fever, nausea and restlessness. She stayed in the intensive care unit before ultimately being released.
British actor Michael Caine may be Batman’s rock in the films, but in doctors told him he wouldn’t live past 40 after he contracted a rare form of malaria while in the armed forces. One doctor took a chance and combined two other malaria medications and Caine recovered.
Malaria is just one of the serious ailments that Ernest Hemingway survived. He also fought anthrax, dysentery, hepatitis, anemia, a crushed cerebra and ruptured liver!
Mahatma Gandhi became gravely ill from malaria while in prison in 1944. The British released him from jail while sick.
George Clooney got malaria while visiting Sudan. He recovered quickly after starting medication.
During a post-high school survival strip to Africa, Cooper Anderson picked up malaria. He now advocates the same nonprofit that we do: Malaria No More.
For the past four years, Mosquito Squad has been a proud supporter of Malaria No More, a nonprofit with the goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. One of our franchisees, Patrick McKennon of Nashville, is currently in Africa on a mission with the organization with his daughter. We can’t wait to update you on their trip!
If you want to help fight this terrible disease that is both preventable and treatable, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.