Archive for category Mosquito prevention tricks

Centers for Disease Control Warn Travelers of Chikungunya

Mosquito-borne diseases are present in any area of the country and world where mosquitoes are active. While the diseases they carry are different depending on the areas of the world, many of them are dangerous and debilitating. Earlier this week, the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning against a painful mosquito-borne illness for any U.S. travelers to the Caribbean.

Ten people in the Caribbean have recently been diagnosed with Chikungunya virus. The CDC says it is “very likely” to end up in the United States. As CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explains, “Microbes know no boundaries, and the appearance of chikungunya virus in the Western hemisphere represents another threat to health security. CDC experts have predicted and prepared for its arrival for several years and there are surveillance systems in place to help us track it.” Source.

Asian Tiger mosquito stripes on legs

Asian Tiger mosquito stripes on legs. These pests are carriers of the painful chikungunya virus.

The Asian tiger mosquito is a common carrier of Chikungunya. The tiger mosquito is easily recognizable by the black and white stripes on their legs.

Chikungunya symptoms can take days to display after being infected with the disease. Symptoms of the disease are very similar to those of dengue fever including a high fever, rash, headache, nausea and severe joint pain. The name Chikungunya comes from the Mankonde language and means, “that which bends up” because it can be very painful.

Chikungunya was first found in Africa but has been moving into Asia and Europe and now the Caribbean in recent years. So far there have been 109 travelers who have been diagnosed with Chikungunya in the United States and luckily it hasn’t spread since there.

With winter holidays and travel in full swing, the CDC issued a statement of warning: the “CDC estimated that about 9 million U.S. residents travel to the Caribbean each year. Given that volume of travelers, chikungunya could occur more frequently in returning U.S. mainland travelers if the virus expands in the region.” Source.

The CDC stated that it is possible for a single infected person to start an outbreak of the disease. While we aren’t in the height of mosquito season now, it will start again in just a few short months. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they carry with our mosquito control treatments. By treating your property for mosquitoes, your chances of being infected while spending time outside in your yard is decreased. If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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How long can you expect mosquitoes this year?

I love fall. The changing of leaves, cooler weather, the pies! Last weekend, my husband, dog and I went for a long walk on a nice cool October morning. When we got back, we both had several mosquitoes bites that have been itching ever since. My husband asked me when the mosquitoes would be gone for the season, which I’m happy to share with all of you!

Mosquitoes are resilient little pests. You may have some cooler days in your area, but they won’t be gone for the season until the first good freeze followed by temperatures lower than 45 degrees. Until that happens, we should rely on mosquito control methods to protect us against the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes.

Many parts of the country will have an active mosquito population until late October with some areas having some mosquito activity all year round.

In the fall, after mating, the male mosquitoes die. Very few male mosquitoes live through the winter. The females, however, go dormant in hidden, protected places like hollow logs. In spring, when temperatures rise again, the female seeks its first blood meal of the season to develop her eggs.

Mosquito eggs are even more resilient than mosquitoes themselves. They can last for years without hatching. Standing water is the key component to mosquito reproduction, without it, eggs cannot develop and hatch. When the temperatures drop in the fall and winter, the eggs and larvae go into diapause. Diapause is a state of dormancy that renders the larvae immobile.

The mosquito larvae do not put themselves into diapause; instead the environmental conditions place it in diapause. When the conditions change, making them once again normal for survival, the larvae and eggs will then continue into their normal cycle of maturation.

Unfortunately, many parts of the country are looking at several more weeks of mosquitoes ruining your outdoor fun. At Mosquito Squad, our effective mosquito control kills between 85-90% of the mosquito population on a property. If you have question about our mosquito treatments, please contact your local Squad.

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With a lot of Rain Comes a lot of Mosquitoes

Many parts of the country have experienced a lot of rain this year. With rain, comes a lot of mosquitoes. I was recently talking to a member of our franchise support staff who travels all over the country visiting our Mosquito Squad locations and he was telling me about the huge mosquito populations from Georgia to Maine to Chicago. Even areas that are just experiencing small bursts of rain are seeing the increase in these pesky bugs.

Standing water is essential for mosquito reproduction. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and in just a few short days (if the weather conditions are right), there can be 10s or 100s of new mosquitoes. When it rains, as you can imagine, small pools of water (many of which you wouldn’t notice) begin to form in different areas, creating the perfect spot for mosquitoes to breed.

At Mosquito Squad, we’ve had a growth in our client numbers due to the rain. It is so hard to combat mosquitoes and rid your yard of their presence when rain continues to come so professional mosquito control is much needed. In some cases, we have had to increase the number of sprays for the season to fight them effectively.

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, but they can bite any time of day. In summers like this one where we have had a lot of rain, we encourage our clients to take extra preventative measures when venturing outside their mosquito control protected yard. Loose long sleeved shirts and pants are a good first step (less skin to bite), but also topical mosquito spray should be applied to areas of the skin that aren’t covered. When rain and mosquito numbers are high, we usually see an increase in the number of mosquito-borne illnesses, so mosquito prevention is very important.

On another note, we came across this video recently and had to share it. We all know what mosquito bites look like long after the mosquito is gone, but have you ever seen what it looks like when it’s happening? I don’t just mean the mosquito on your skin; I mean close up underneath the skin. It’s crazy! Scientists recently took this video of what it looks like under a microscope. You can see the mosquito’s labrum curving along under the skin until it finds the blood vessel and sucks. Take a look and see what you think!

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West Nile Virus, what to expect

Media from up and down the east coast and Midwest are reporting the presence of West Nile in mosquitoes and humans. As a result of last year’s record numbers, many municipalities raised their testing and mosquito spraying budgets to help combat the mosquito-borne disease, but what can we expect in the coming weeks?

Mosquitoes are out in full force right now. Many areas of the country had periods of heavy rainfall followed by hot weather, the perfect combination for mosquitoes. States like Georgia are reporting a higher number of mosquitoes this year as compared to last year.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, but the victim may not display symptoms for a few weeks after the bite. Typically August is the worst month for West Nile Virus reports. Many of victims probably got the virus in July or even earlier. As more and more cities and towns, from Louisiana to Wisconsin to Massachusetts, report their first human West Nile case of 2013, the numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Eighty percent of people with West Nile virus will never display symptoms, known as a subclinical case. When symptoms do show, they are flulike, including fever, headaches, aches, nausea, etc. We are often asked what the difference between West Nile Virus and West Nile Fever. West Nile Fever is when patients start to display symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or medications to specifically treat or protect against West Nile, instead, the symptoms themselves are treated.

2It is believed that mosquitoes get the West Nile Virus from infected birds that they bite and then pass it along to other animals they get blood meals from. While mammals and reptiles are known to carry the disease, not all have reactions like humans.

The best way to protect against West Nile is to protect against mosquito bites and in a year that the population in many areas is on the rise, that can be difficult. There are things you can do on and off your property to decrease the chance for mosquitoes to bite you.

The first thing to do on your property is to get rid of any standing water. Mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs in as little water as a bottle cap, so imagine what they can do in a kiddie pool! Keep kids toys and dog dishes flipped over when they aren’t being used and pay attention to water that is pooling in different areas (like piles of leaves or tarps that aren’t pulled tightly). Getting rid of all the water can be extremely difficult, so consider having professional mosquito control. Mosquito Squad treats its clients’ properties every two to three weeks (depending on package and product) and rids the yard of 85 to 90% of mosquitoes.

Even if you have your yard treated, there will be times when you are off your property and you need to be protected then too. Try to stay inside when mosquitoes are known to be their most active (dawn and dusk). Wearing loose pants and long sleeved shirts make it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite you and you can use a topical mosquito repellent if you need to cover exposed skin.

For questions on professional tick and mosquito control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Is that Beer you are Drinking Attracting Mosquitoes?

Two things that make me think of summer are barbecues and, unfortunately, mosquitoes. One of my favorite drinks to enjoy during a barbecue on a hot day is an ice-cold brew. What can I say? It is refreshing. A new article from the Smithsonian, however, is saying that those beers are making drinkers more attractive to mosquitoes!

A Smithsonian blog posted recently describes many factors that may make you more attractive to mosquitoes.

mosquito-controlAccording to a 2002 study, just one bottle of your favorite beer may make you more attractive to mosquitoes. Researchers first thought the increase in mosquito attraction was due to higher sweat levels and skin temperature after consuming alcohol, but found that wasn’t the case. It looks like mosquitoes just want a sip of that refreshing drink too!

Pregnant women beware, you are more nearly twice as likely to get mosquito bites than you were before you were with child. Why? Mosquitoes are widely known to be attracted to carbon dioxide and pregnant women exhale over 20% more carbon dioxide than non-pregnant women.

When men and women exercise, they too exhale more carbon dioxide, but it is more than just that increase that entices mosquitoes. During a workout, the body temperature rises and lactic acid is omitted through sweat. Mosquitoes can detect the increase in body temperature, making people easy targets.

A 2004 study found that mosquitoes too have their preferences, in the form of Type O blood. The majority of people produce a chemical signal that indicates which blood type they have. In the study, mosquitoes were twice as likely to land on those people with Type O blood and least likely to land on people with Type A blood.

Scientists have been studying the factors that attract mosquitoes for years that I feel as if there is always something new coming out. Despite all of the information that we have, there still isn’t a cure for mosquito bites beyond bug sprays and mosquito control, but it important to protect yourself if you spend time outside. Mosquito bites are not only annoying, but they can also be dangerous. Mosquitoes can transmit numerous diseases.

At Mosquito Squad, we tell our clients that the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to implement an Integrated Pest Management Solution, including professional mosquito control. As opposed to normal bug spray, mosquito control will eliminate 85-90% of mosquitoes on your property. You won’t see very many (if any) flying around you as you eat dinner or enjoy a game outdoors. Mosquito Squad targets the areas we know the pests like to feed and harbor, allowing you to enjoy your yard. Trust us, you’ll enjoy not having to spray your children down with bug spray before they go outside too!

If you have questions regarding mosquito control or our services, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Springtime is the Right Time to Vaccinate Horses

It’s the first day of spring which means budding flowers and, unfortunately, mosquitoes are right around the corner. As 2012 brought an influx of mosquito-borne disease, for humans and animals alike, now is the perfect time to protect your pets from the dangerous diseases that they often carry.

Mosquito Squad protects horses from mosquitoes and ticks

Keep your horse from being at risk of contracting EEE

Horses are particularly vulnerable to West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). EEE, or Triple E, was first found in Massachusetts in the 1830s when 75 horses died. After an infected mosquito transmits the disease, the horse usually starts showing signs of a fever within one to three weeks and lasts for a couple days. The sick horses will then show more serious signs of drowsiness, drooping ears and wandering as the disease spreads to the brain. Between 70 and 90% of horses with Triple E will eventually die from it.

Horses are not only susceptible to Eastern Equine Encephalitis but also West Nile Virus, however most horses will recover from West Nile. Symptoms of West Nile include fever, convulsions and more.

There are currently no treatments for horses that have been in infected with mosquito-borne illnesses, however there are vaccinations to prevent them from becoming sick. Springtime is the perfect time to ask your veterinarian to vaccinate your horse. “Horse owners have made significant investments in their horses, financially, and emotionally,” says Hoyt Cheramie, DVM, MS, Dipl. “Helping protect their health and well-being with an appropriate vaccination schedule is best decision when the alternative is to cope with losing a horse or treating a horse for a preventable disease.” Source.

At Mosquito Squad, we urge home and pet owners to protect themselves and their beloved animals from the dangers that mosquitoes and ticks can bring. Our mosquito control misting system is our most popular mosquito service for horse farms or stables. The automatic misting system is an installed mosquito system that sprays two to four times a day(for about 30 seconds) when mosquitoes are known to be the most active. The spray kills any adult mosquitoes and ticks on contact and continues to repel the pests in all treated areas.

mosquito-control-misting

The mosquito control misting system’s nozzles are installed in areas where mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor

The misting system is installed using environmentally friendly nylon tubing that connects to the stainless steel nozzles which are place sporadically around the perimeter of the property. They can be run and installed underground or along fences. The tubing connects to the drum and pump of the mosquito misting system that is most often placed near the home or stable. Mosquito Squad will come out and refill the drum any time more product is needed and to winterize it as the weather turns cool. If you have a particularly bad mosquito problem, the mosquito misting system can come with a remote that you can use for additional (or fewer) sprays.

If you have a large property, especially one that houses animals, and a mosquito problem you would like to address, contact your local Mosquito Squad office. They will walk you through your mosquito control options and what will work best for you and your property.

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Mosquitoes vs. the Winter – Who Wins?

It’s February, wintertime, and last week I saw a mosquito, in my house! I have no idea where the bugger came from (it didn’t last long), but it got me thinking. I have never seen a mosquito in the winter before now, where are they? The answer: not far away.

It is true that adult mosquitoes that find themselves in the harsh winter elements, specifically freezing temperatures will die, but those that get out of the elements can survive. The majority of male mosquitoes die in the winter months, but the females don’t. Females and their eggs go into a phase of hibernation called diapause.

Let’s cover the mosquito eggs first. Mosquitoes need water to lay eggs and for those eggs to develop. While the eggs can’t advance through the larva and pupa phases of development in cold temperatures and ice, they can be frozen. When the areas they were laid in thaw and are flooded in the spring, development will begin again. Mosquito eggs are hearty and live up to 7 years and still hatch if conditions become conducive again.

Diapause is a form of hibernation that delays development. After laying eggs in the fall months, female mosquitoes find places that are hidden and protected from the elements, which could include drains, hollow logs, sheds, attics and basements. During diapause, they’ll live off of fat reserves they build up much like bears do. As temperatures rise, the females will once again become active and look to lay eggs in standing water.  Those that find their way into the home for diapause can become confused and wake when temperatures in the home make subtle changes. This is most likely what happened with the mosquito that I saw.

The best way to protect yourself and your yard from mosquitoes in the spring is to stop the eggs that have already been laid (and those in future) from reaching maturity. To do that, you have to get rid of the standing water on your property. At Mosquito Squad, we teach the 5Ts of mosquito control. They are simple, easy to remember and we’ve taken it once step further and created the video below to help homeowners remember how to fight the bite!

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