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The writing spider is busy writing mosquitoes out of the picture.

Argiope spider that eats mosquitoes

The black and yellow Argiope, also known as a writing spider, feeds off insects such as mosquitoes, aphids and flies.

This past week, my daughter and I were out on the back porch planting the usual autumn perennials. It is always a special time when we do our “seasonal” planting together, we get to spend some quality time with one another and I have an opportunity to educate her on different species of flowers and plants, which is a tradition she will one day pass on to her daughter. We decided to plant huge yellow chrysanthemums in correlation with rust colored majestic pansies both of which are so lovely this time of year against the changing leaves within the landscape. As we were busy getting our hands dirty, my daughter pointed out a large spider web right off our back porch attached to the azaleas around it. The spider was in a circular shaped web and the spider residing there was quite large, and scary looking, but yet beautiful in its own way. I discouraged the thought of getting rid of the spider until I learned more about this mysterious beauty.  I was curious about the type of spider we have living in such close proximity to our home and decided to do a little research on the spider.

charlottesweb

Charlotte, the beloved spider from "Charlotte's Web" was possibly a Argiope spider as well.

My gut feeling was that the spider we found was a “writing” spider reminiscent of the mythical spider from my favorite childhood book by E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web”. My intuition served me well. My findings concluded that the spider we have residing within our azaleas is actually an  Argiope, or black and yellow garden spider, also known as a  corn spider, and referred to as a writing spider as well, just like Charlotte from my beloved childhood novel.

What I discovered is that our guest, the black and yellow Argiope,  is a common spider found among fields and gardens because they like to spin their orb shaped webs among bushes , tall plants and flowers. The female Argiope is a good bit larger than the male, and judging by the size of ours, she is obviously a female. The female spins a large web which spirals out from the center and can be as large as two feet across. The male spider will then spin a smaller web for himself on the outside of her web and is has a characteristic zig-zag pattern. We have not yet caught a glimpse of Mr. Argiope yet, but are hopeful to catch a candid soon.  The interesting thing about the Argiope is that  each evening the spiders will eat their web and build a new one.

Argiope spider web detail

This photo shows the Argiope's elaborate web.

The purpose of the web, like all spiders is to trap and digest prey such as insects which are the spider’s main food source. The web also serves as a nursery where the female will lay her eggs on one side of the web and cover them with a papery sac for protection until they hatch in the fall. Then the baby spiders will remain within the protective sac throughout the winter, and will leave when mother nature harkens the arrival of spring. A single egg sac can contain over one thousand eggs. The Argiope like almost all spiders  is not harmless to humans and rarely, if ever bites humans except in the rare instance as a defense mechanism if they are grabbed.

Mosquito

The Argiope spider considers the mosquito among its favorite snacks.

There is more to this stunning spider than meets the eye, the black and yellow Argiope eats mosquitoes among the many insects that get caught in its web, which cuts down on the amount of disease carrying mosquitoes that are thriving along the realm of my backyard. Suddenly this spider is beginning to become my friend. They also dine on aphids and flies as well, this spider is helping cut down on mosquito populations and helping to keep aphids off my rose bushes? Based on these findings, we have decided to let the black and yellow beauty make herself at home. We will not disturb her as she raises her young and has her gourmet dinners of my aphids, flies and mosquitoes and other garden pests. Bon appetit !

So, before you squash that spider that makes you squeamish, give some thought to the many ways it may be of great benefit to you and the world around you. Many of the world’s most scream inducing  insects and animals, like the spider and the bat,  benefit us from being natural predators of potentially dangerous insects such as mosquitoes, making them an effective weapon is the battle for mosquito control.  For every mosquito they dine upon is one less we have  to potentially put us at risk.

Visit our Mosquito Squad website to learn more about our safe and effective mosquito and tick control programs. Or, look at our location list for a mosquito and tick control location near you.

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The Culiseta melanura mosquito is putting the elderly at risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Dread_versions2

Learn the 5 "T's" in mosquito prevention and tell those mosquitoes "bite me"

Most people think that EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, is a disease that only strikes equine such as horses, ponies, mules and donkeys. Though in most cases humans are not at as great a risk of contracting EEE, those with compromised immune systems and health problems, especially among the elderly, are at a higher risk of contracting the illness. EEE is characterized by causing swelling of the brain, although some who  become infected will be asymptomatic. Those older individuals that become infected with the virus are more vulnerable to experiencing the more severe side of EEE than most. Early symptoms of EEE  are headache, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, cyanosis, convulsions and coma.

What is EEE?

EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a virus that is spread through the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. The virus is maintained between a cycle of the mosquito and a bird, and some cases is passed onto what is called a dead-end host such as an equine or a human. Dead end hosts mean that the virus can not be passed any further once it has reached this host.  Although many mosquito species are known vectors of the virus the Culiseta melanura mosquito has raised the alarm among states with high reports of EEE, especially among elderly residents and those that are immune compromised. Approximately one-third of all human EEE infections prove fatal.

culista melanura

Culiseta melanura

Who is the Culiseta melanura mosquito?

This mosquito can be found from Canada all the way into Florida and is unique in the way in which it is able to reproduce. Culiseta melanura are cold adapted and  have the ability to over-winter their larva until the warm temperatures of spring cause them to awake and begin their vicious cycle of feeding and spreading disease. This mosquito lays its eggs in stagnated pools and wherever water accumulates in quantities of 30 to 300 eggs at one time. This mosquito can reside in a variety of places from old tires, rotting trees to wetlands. Just like other mosquito species the male primarily feeds off nectar, and the female’s feed off blood from unwitting hosts.

Mosquito_Squad_spraying_your_yard

Mosquito Squad spraying your yard to guard against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses.

What can I do  to prevent getting EEE?

The most important way to avoid possible infection is to make sure you don’t get bitten, because the mosquito that bites you could possibly be carrying EEE. Avoid potential mosquito infested areas, make sure to inspect your yard and areas around you home on a regular basis to keep standing water from becoming a nursery for mosquitoes. This particular species of mosquito loves moist areas.  Mosquito Squad has developed a helpful way to keep your property safe from mosquitoes by using a system called the 5 T’s of mosquito control. These helpful hints will keep standing water and areas that are prone to accumulated moisture to a minimum, when inspecting your property don’t overlook areas like gutters, and the crevices in outdoor furniture for they make perfect breeding grounds  for mosquitoes if filled with debris or moisture. You can learn more about the 5 T’s and other helpful hints by visiting http://mosquito-control-blog.com/2011/06/13/the-five-ts-in-mosquito-prevention/

The 5 T’s of mosquito control are:

  • Tip
  • Top
  • Turn over
  • Tarps ( remove)
  • Toss

If you are unable to thoroughly inspect your property yourself, then ask a loved one or friend to check the areas surrounding your home for you.

No Mosquitoes

No Mosquitoes

Another way to aid in protecting yourself is to have your yard treated by a licensed professional to kill and prevent mosquitoes that may possibly be lurking. Mosquito Squad offers a full-service mosquito control program from automatic mosquito misting systems to our safe and effective barrier sprays, both of which protect you and your family all season long from the Culiseta melanura and other species of mosquitoes as well.

Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more 877-667-7823  http://www.mosquitosquad.com/

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Irene’s next punch will be mosquitoes breeding rapidly. Read more.

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

Most of the areas ravaged by  hurricane Irene are sunny and clear today with only the damage and aftermath leaving residents all the way up the East Coast left to pick up the pieces. This recent hurricane ravaged areas of the U.S. from North Carolina, traveling as far up the coast as New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. At the height of the hurricane’s fevered pitch it reached category 3 status leaving damage, flooding and swollen lakes and rivers in its wake. The Atlantic hurricane season,  according to the Hurricane Research Division of the U.S.  Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  runs from June 1st to November 30th each year. Hurricanes such as Irene that actually touch down in populated areas actually cause more danger than just that of damage to homes and businesses. With any hurricane of this magnitude areas affected will experience a tremendous amount of rain, which leads to flooding, and mass amounts of water left standing. This standing water left behind by the rains from Hurricane Irene, plus the fact that we are in the height of mosquito season all add up to a terrible recipe.

The waters left behind, including riverbeds, swollen creeks, road ditches, water filled remnants of storm debris, and damaged building materials can all become a perfect refuge for mosquitoes to populate. Mosquitoes can lay hundreds of eggs in tiny vessels and containers, soda bottle tops for example can contain hundreds of mosquito eggs. When you put this into the perspective of damage and debris left behind on the scale of a hurricane, this can mean big trouble for residents of areas hardest hit by Irene. Mosquito Squad asks homeowners to act now in preventing the inevitable scourge of mosquitoes from affecting your property and thus putting you and your family at risk for mosquito-borne illness and diseases such as West Nile Virus, encephalitis and meningitis.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene might only be the first major storm since hurricane season is in full swing. The National Weather Service is carefully watching tropical storm Katia at this very moment and is likely to become a hurricane sometime tonight.

South Florida Wary As Hurricane Irene Churns Towards U.S.

South Florida Wary As Hurricane Irene Churns Towards U.S.

In a recent story covered by CNN Money , Micheal Ritchie, owner of Mosquito Squad of the Crystal Coast headquartered in Swansboro, N.C. says he is expecting a spike in business due to Hurricane Irene. You can read the full article by going here http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/29/smallbusiness/hurricane_irene_small_business_recovery/index.htm.

The threat doesn’t end here, residents all along the East Coast should take preventative measures to make sure mosquitoes don’t take over their property.  The first step is getting any debris cleaned that may fall prey to breeding mosquitoes, this could be fallen trees, strewn shingles, and trash, just to name a few. Ensuring all areas of you home, even if they are damaged are boarded up, secured  or repaired  as soon as feasible to keep mosquitoes from entering the home. Have your property treated by a licensed professional to kill the mosquitoes which are present and prevents and controls any further infestation.

Mosquito Squad is Americas most trusted mosquito and tick control and prevention company. Chances are there is a Mosquito Squad franchise in your town. Our safe and effective barrier sprays kills mosquitoes and prevent further infestation for up to 21 days. We also offer other mosquito and tick control programs to help you win the fight against mosquitoes. Even amongst the fury of mother nature’s wrath Mosquito Squad can offer you safety from dangerous mosquitoes, as well as peach of mind.

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead Mosquito Squad is America's leading mosquito control company and offers safe and effective solutions for your mosquito problems. From just wanting a mosquito-free backyard for your family to enjoy and not worry about mosquitoes to protecting your yard from the onslaught of a mosquito population as a result of a hurricane. Our mosquito Barrier sprays are safe and effective, and each spray has a residual of up to 21 days. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more about this and all the other mosquito and tick control programs we offer. Even in times of mother natures fury, Mosquito Squad can give you a little peace of mind.

Contact Mosquito Squad today to get your property in check for the wet weather that hurricane season can bring. 877-677-7823 or email us at  info@mosquitosquad.com

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The five “T’s” in mosquito prevention

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

I was talking to Dread Skeeter the other day, Dread is our Mosquito Squad mascot and he was telling me how proud he was of Russ Jundt, team leader of Mosquito Squad of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Russ was interviews by Fox @ 5 News on Memorial Day weekend and shared with viewers how they can better protect their families and pets from mosquitoes by practicing the very important 5 mosquito prevention “T’s”. You can watch the interview here http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/mosquito-squad-talks-pest-prevention-jun-1-2011 to find out more.

The 5 mosquito prevention “T’s” are…

      • Tip
      • Top
      • Turn over
      • Tarps (remove)
      • Toss
Dread_versions2

Learn the 5 "T's" in mosquito prevention and tell those mosquitoes "bite me"

      It is simply amazing how much moisture and rainwater can collect in the smallest of things, giving pesky mosquitoes a chance to breed and grow in numbers quite quickly. Be sure that dog dishes, children’s toys and playthings, empty pots and planters ( including the drainage pan underneath), and even water bottles and small bottles caps are removed when not “in use” or turned over to keep water from collecting. Hundreds of eggs can be laid by a female mosquito in an area as small as a bottle cap.

To See Russ’ tips “in person” you can see him on YouTube at http://bit.ly/squadnews053111

No Mosquitoes

No Mosquitoes

Contact Mosquito Squad today to learn more helpful hints in mosquito and tick prevention and to schedule a barrier spray for your property to kill and prevent ticks and mosquitoes all season long and tell those mosquitoes “bite me”! 877-667-7823  http://www.mosquitosquad.com/

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Spray Your Yard Not Yourself This Season With Mosquito Squad

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Hopefully, by now all of us are aware of the dangers that mosquito bites can cause. Not only do mosquito bites itch like mad and cause severe discomfort in our lives,the bite from that pesky mosquito can be carrying a disease or bacteria that can make us very ill and in some cases even prove fatal.

I am sure you want  to keep yourself and your family happy and healthy during the mosquito season, and free of mosquito bites. Here is the question I ask you…

Would you rather spray yourself ( meaning your body) every time you have to go outside OR spray your property to control those pesky mosquitoes?

I am sure most of you would answer the latter. Having to continuously apply topical insect repellent every time you venture outdoors can be time-consuming, irritating and if you live in an area of the country where mosquitoes are extremely bad, quite expensive. Not only do topical insect repellents such as DEET, pose health risks when used excessively, they are sticky, and most smell bad. Do you want to host a backyard graduation party for your son smelling like bug spray? Some chemicals in common topical insect repellents can even keep you from sleeping well at night and affect your mood.

Children enjoying a mosquito free backyard

Children enjoying a mosquito free backyard

Mosquito Squad has the right answer to keep you and your family healthy, happy and free of mosquitoes this season. We can apply a safe and highly effective barrier spray to your property this season. Not only will it keep those mosquitoes away it will prevent more mosquitoes from entering your treated property. We even offer an all natural mosquito barrier spray made with garlic. This natural garlic spray is a wonderful alternative to our already safe barrier spray, especially those of you who have small children and are going with a “greener” lifestyle.

If you are tired of constant trips to the store to purchase topical insect repellent and feeling sticky and icky this season, give us a call. Our licensed technicians can meet with you to discuss treating your property and giving you peace of mind to enjoy your summer.  So, go ahead and host that backyard graduation bash and enjoy the scents of the season minus the bug spray.  877-667-7823

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Baby, it’s cold outside. But not quite cold enough.

No Mosquitoes

No Mosquitoes

Could there really is an upside to all the cold weather we have been having this winter? When we’re right in the middle of these cold temperatures, it may be tough to think of what the good side is.  Summer and the onset of the mosquito season is months away and seems like a distant blur in our minds.  But cold winters can be an insect’s natural, lethal enemy.

In many areas of the country this year it may seem that our cold winter produced enough hard freezes to kill off billions and billions of mosquito larvae.  Unfortunately though, our environment does not have the sustained temperatures needed to completely eradicate mosquitoes all together.  You would have to live in inner Greenland or Antarctica for that luxury.  This may not be the most practical move in order to get rid of a mosquito problem.

Mosquitoes, along with other insects, have developed a complex means of survival when it comes to the cold.  From producing a natural kind of anti-freeze in their bodies, to zone-heating which keeps their vital organs warm, to methods of preventing lethal ice producing crystals from their bodies, insects are programmed to do whatever it takes for their species to survive.

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

With more than 200 species of mosquitoes found in the United States, it’s difficult to get away from these little blood suckers once they start to hatch in the spring.  They depend on moist, warm environments to thrive.  Their growth evolves through three very specific stages, starting with an egg that is laid by the female on the surface of shallow water or damp soil.  Within 48 hours the larva, commonly called “wigglers”, emerge from the egg, developing into a pupa between four and 14 days.  The pupae, call “tumblers,” grow, and within one and four days an adult mosquito emerges. Once this process starts it may be your best choice to spray using a qualified professional.

Not all mosquitoes can survive freezing weather so it is Nature’s way of providing a natural ‘thinning’ process. At least we can celebrate the fact that it is too cold for mosquitoes to be out.  But it won’t be long before the warm weather will bring on the awakening of these pesky insects and once again, we will seek to find ways to eradicate them from our lives.

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Mosquito coloring pictures – see your coloring pictures on Facebook

Hi kids!

Mosquito coloring from Hannah - 6 yrs old.

Mosquito coloring from Hannah - 6 yrs old.

How good is your coloring? Do you want to have one of your pictures up on Facebook for everyone to see? You can win an awesome free t-shirt if your picture is the most popular mosquito coloring picture on the Mosquito Squad mosquito coloring photo album on the Mosquito Squad Facebook page.

Here’s how to enter:

  • Go to the online mosquito coloring book
  • Print out the coloring book or just the pages you want
  • Color your page
  • Try to put your first name, age, and your city/state at the bottom
  • Have your Mom or Dad scan your picture and upload it to the Facebook page by going to the page, clicking on “photo” next to status and uploading your photo.
  • Then, have your friends and family go to the page showing your coloring picture and click “like”.
Mosquito coloring from Nathan

Mosquito coloring from Nathan

The one with the most “likes” by February 28th will win 4 free Mosquito Squad t-shirts — one for the whole family.

We will also feature a picture of you on our Mosquito Squad Facebook page! (optional)

Let’s see that great coloring.

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