Archive for category Industry News

Stinkbugs Spread to 41 States

For some homeowners, it seems like the brown marmorated stinkbug takes over their home in the fall months. They make their way inside for the winter, sometimes in swarms. It’s hard to imagine that the stinkbug didn’t come into the United States until the 1990s. In just 20 years, they have spread their populations widely, now being noticed in 41 states.

More concerns arise as the stinkbugs move west (they’re most invasive on the east coast). Tracy Leskey, entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture, explain that “it’s a big concern. Sacramento is in the heart of a lot of big-time agriculture.” (Source.) Stinkbugs have recently been spotted in Sacramento, CA and Portland, OR. Farmers are now worried because the pests often feed on local crops.

Looking at study information, it’s not surprising that stinkbugs have gone from coast to coast so quickly. Leskey explains that the typical bug flies up to 3 miles a day, but some has been noticed flying up to 75 miles in just one day!

Wasps are the stinkbug’s most common parasite in its native Asia, but they haven’t made their way to the United States. Kim Hoelmer, acting director of the USDA’s Overseas Biological Control Laboratories, says “it may be a while before we can set an army of foreign wasps on stinkbugs in the U.S.” (Source.) There just isn’t enough research, yet.

While stinkbugs thrive in the United States, Mosquito Squad has helped many homeowners fight the battle against these pests at home. Our trained team applies a spray to the areas of the home and property that stinkbugs are known to harbor or enter the home, eliminating them.

This is the time of the year when stinkbugs look to make their way inside. If you are noticing stinkbugs on your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Bill Gates Makes Stand for Malaria Eradication

Bill Gates has long been a supporter of malaria eradication and research, but in a recent speech at Association of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene he once again brought it back into the spotlight.

Melinda and Bill Gates made their first call for malaria eradication 7 years ago alongside the World Health Organization. Since then, the Gates Foundation has made large donations to help the cause while spreading the word through speeches, blogs, etc. (don’t you remember when Gates released mosquitoes during a speech in 2009?).

While Gates addressed ebola (which is on everyone’s mind) in his speech at ASTMH, the majority of his time was spent discussing malaria because of his hope for the future. He explains in his blog that “based on the progress I’m seeing in the lab and on the ground, I believe we’re now in a position to eradicate malaria – that is, wipe it out completely in every country – within a generation.” Source.

Because of their optimism, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation is increasing its donation to the malaria cause by 30%.

What many people don’t realize, is that malaria was an issue in the majority of the world not too long ago. It wasn’t eradicated from the United States until the 1950s, and that is without the knowledge and science that we have now. This video from Bill Gates’ blog is a great representation of where the disease was, where it is now, and where we’re going:

Mosquito Squad is a proud supporter of Malaria No More. We’re dedicated to seeing an end to malaria deaths and we’re seeing great progress. In the four short years we’re partnered with Malaria No More, we’ve seen the number of deaths in Africa decrease by 50%!

Malaria No More helps fight malaria by providing prevention, treatment and education to the areas of Africa most affected by this disease. Please help us in the fight by donating to Malaria No More at SwatMalaria.net.

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Do Mosquitoes Transmit Ebola?

Unless you’ve stayed away from all news for the last few weeks (and who really can do that), you’ve heard about the current Ebola epidemic in Africa and cases in the U.S. Ebola is a life threatening disease that currently doesn’t have a vaccine to fight it. One question we’ve been asked recently is can mosquitoes, who transmit numerous disease worldwide, infect people with Ebola?

In short, the answer is no.

2bMosquitoes aren’t born with malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue fever or other mosquito-borne disease. Female mosquitoes become carriers of those diseases after feeding on a person or animal already infected (only females suck blood). Because mosquitoes don’t go person to person biting, the disease has to survive a complicated digestion process to be passed on.

The reason female mosquitoes require blood is to create eggs. A female mosquito will take in enough blood to properly nourish her eggs and then go and digest. After laying her eggs, she will then require more blood. For her to infect a human with the disease, the viral strands need to stay in the gut and migrate into the mosquito’s saliva. The mosquito injects saliva into its victims as they bite. In the case of malaria, it evolves in the mosquito before getting into the saliva.

Right now, Ebola cannot make its way into the mosquito saliva. And until it can, mosquitoes cannot transmit Ebola.

Despite not playing an active role in the spread of Ebola, mosquitoes are still the most dangerous animal on the planet, killing over 700,000 people each year. They kill approximately 600,000 by infecting them with malaria. While malaria isn’t a threat in the United States, mosquitoes still transmit west nile, dengue fever and chikungunya domestically.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients by greatly reducing their property’s mosquito population with our mosquito control services. Our trained applicators visit our clients’ properties every 2-3 weeks and spray the areas where mosquitoes are most likely to feed and live, like bushes and trees. The spray eliminates mosquitoes on contact as well as settles on the vegetation. When a mosquito then goes to feed on a leaf, it will ingest the product.

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

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New Mosquito Species Enters US

From time to time we see the news of a new animal or bug entering the U.S. Some don’t thrive well in our eco-system and habitat while others, like the stink bug, blossom in the new conditions. When it comes to mosquitoes, we’ve seen that a large number of species can thrive in the states and we’re now watching a new one: the Aussie Mozzie.

mosquito controlThe Aedes notoscriptus is an Australian mosquito species with the nickname the Aussie Mozzie. It was found in the Los Angeles area of California in June, its first ever spotting in the United States. As the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District’s spokesman Jason Farned explains: “in Australia this mosquito is very widespread and capable of transmitting several viruses.” Source.

The Aussie Mozzie is described to have similar characteristics as the Asian tiger mosquito. The Asian tiger mosquito received notable attention a few years ago as its population boomed. Both the Asian tiger and Aussie Mozzie are most likely to bite during the day (most mosquitoes bite around dusk and dawn). They are known city dwellers that lay their eggs in containers.

Like many other mosquito species, the Aussie Mozzie infects humans and animals with disease including the Barmah Forest and Ross River viruses. Both viruses can be serious, but are non-lethal. Their symptoms include joint pain, rashes and fever.

In addition to transmitting mosquito-borne disease to humans, the Aussie Mozzie also infects dogs with heartworm. Heartworm is one of the most serious illnesses a dog can face. Heartworm is a parasite that settles and grows in the heart and lungs of its host, most commonly the dog. Dogs with heartworm may display symptoms through coughing, exhaustion, weight loss and fainting. Once diagnosed, dogs have to through a series of treatments to kill and get rid of the heartworm that could take several months.

Currently only a few Aussie Mozzies have been confirmed in California. Homeowners in the areas have been encouraged to report any day biting mosquitoes so they can be tested. As the mosquito control experts, we at Mosquito Squad will stay on top of the news and let you know everything there is to share.

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Can Ticks Transmit Disease in Just 10 Minutes?

Ticks, like mosquitoes, are vectors of disease. When feeding, they transmit saliva and bacteria into their host’s skin and bloodstream. While Lyme disease may have received the most news in recent years, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be extremely dangerous and is the most lethal rickettsial disease.

wood-ticks-spotted-fever

The wood tick is known to transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the United States.

When it comes to transmitting Rocky Mountain, a new study out of Brazil is reporting that ticks don’t need as much time as we thought. Current literature states that the disease can be transmitted in 2 to 10 hours, but there are cases when the transmission could take place in just 10 minutes!

Marcelo Labruna of the University of Sao Paulo led the study where ticks were observed feeding on different animals. They found that if ticks had recently fed and then went to feed on another animal, they were able to transmit disease quicker than when they were first feeding.

The study also found that dogs play a primary roll in the spread of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Brazil (know there as Brazilian fever). The majority of cases in the area are diagnosed in children and women who have little contact with tick habitats. It’s most likely that dogs are carrying ticks into the home or yard where they are then attaching to family members, meaning that they have previously fed.

A different type of tick, the wood tick, transmits Rocky Mountain in the US than in Brazil. That could result in different findings when it comes to transmission of the disease. Patrick Leisch, entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, explains that the best way to protect yourself from all tick-borne diseases is to avoid tick habitats, protect yourself properly, and educate yourself on the pest.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from the nuisance and dangers of ticks with our tick control services. We use a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes to greatly reduce the tick population on a property. The barrier spray, applied by trained technicians every 2-3 weeks, eliminates adult ticks on contact. Tick tubes are placed on the property twice a year normally and use mice as a vehicle for the tick control product.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from ticks and the diseases they transmit, please refer to the Centers for Disease control website or call your local Mosquito Squad office.

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First Domestic Case of Chikungunya Reported

For the last few months we’ve been following the newest mosquito-borne disease to hit the United States: chikungunya. Up until last week, all the diagnosed cases in the U.S. had been transmitted elsewhere. Travellers to the Caribbean were bitten by infected mosquitoes but didn’t display symptoms until back in the states. Last week, however, marked the first domestic case of chikungunya.

mosquito controlA Florida resident was recently diagnosed with chikungunya, but unlike other patients he had not recently travelled outside the United States. With the first domestic case, does that mean we are on the verge of an outbreak? The CDC says no.

The Centers for Disease Control is currently examining how the Florida man got the virus and keeping an eye on any other domestic cases. When chikungunya hit the Caribbean it spread very quickly, infecting thousands of locals and tourists alike, but the CDC doesn’t see that to be the case in the U.S. They “believe chikungunya will be have like dengue virus in the U.S., where imported cases have resulted in sporadic local transmission but have no caused widespread outbreaks.” Source.

With the outbreaks of West Nile Virus we’ve seen in recent years, we know how serious mosquito-borne disease can be, and how quickly it can spread. It’s very important to protect yourself from mosquitoes, especially at dawn and dusk when they are known to be most active.

At Mosquito Squad, we enhance our client’s outdoor living experience by protecting them from both the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes. Our mosquito control services effectively cut down the property’s mosquito population. Our traditional, and most popular, mosquito treatment reduces the number of mosquitoes by 85-90%, while our all-natural treatment repels 80%.

Depending on the service that you chose, our trained technicians visit your property every 2-3 weeks to reapply the mosquito control product to the foliage where mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. And, for even more control, we can install a permanent mosquito misting system that emits small bursts of mosquito spray when mosquitoes are their most active. If you are seeing more mosquitoes than normal, you will also have a remote to use.

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

 

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Mosquito Borne Chikungunya Continues to Spread

We are in the midst of mosquito season and a new mosquito borne virus continues to be reported across many parts of the U.S. Chikungunya, which was first reported in Florida in May, has now been diagnosed in Texas, Massachusetts, Arizona, Ohio and 22 other states. The average number of cases in the U.S. has been around 28 per year, but there have been over 120 cases so far this year, and we are in the height of mosquito season!

A swarm of mosquitoesIt’s believed that all of the American chikungunya cases have been transmitted to the patients while traveling abroad and hasn’t been transmitted in the U.S, but that could change. As the Centers for Disease Control explains: “With the recent outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the number of chikungunya cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas will likely increase. These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in the continental United States.” Source.

Chikungunya is most commonly found in Africa and Asia. This past fall, the Caribbean reported larger numbers of the disease, spreading throughout the area, illustrating how quickly it can spread.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure for chikungunya, but it is rarely fatal. Its symptoms include fever, severe joint pain and rashes. Symptoms occur in the first 12 days after transmission and, unlike West Nile, the majority of people with chikungunya will display symptoms.

When it comes to mosquito-borne disease, the best course of protection is an integrated pest management system, with both do-it-yourself and professional action. Reducing the amount of standing water is the first step in cutting down your property’s mosquito population. It takes just a little bit of water for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

No MosquitoesEven if you tip over outdoor objects or toss trash, it is incredibly difficult to get rid of all the standing water on your property, and even if you did, you will still have mosquitoes on site. A professional mosquito control company is the second step to protecting you and your family against mosquitoes and the illnesses they carry. By applying a mosquito spray to your property every 21 days, Mosquito Squad will greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard (usually by 85-90%)!

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquito-borne disease, please reference the CDC website at cdc.gov or contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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