Archive for category West Nile encephaltis and meningitis

Scared of Sharks? How about Mosquitoes?

We all have fears. I’m deathly afraid of snakes, while I know multiple people who won’t swim in deep water for fear of sharks. After looking at a new infographic from Bill Gates, it seems we should be thinking smaller as the deadliest animal on the planet is smaller than a quarter. It is none other than the mosquito.

A swarm of mosquitoesBill Gates’ blog post The Deadliest Animal in the World clearly illustrates how many people certain animals kill each year, and the data is staggering. The shark kills only 10 people a year, the hippopotamus 500, and snakes kill around 50,000 people a year. Humans come in second place, killing 475,000 people a year, but the pesky mosquito came in first by a landslide. Each year, 725,000 people die because of a mosquito bite.

While we in the U.S. are simply annoyed by itchy mosquito bites, they still carry and transmit numerous dangerous diseases. Malaria is by far the worst, killing someone every minute and, as Gates explains, malaria “threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually” Source.

Bill Gates, who is a big supporter of Malaria No More, has donated a lot of time and money in fighting mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they transmit and not just malaria, but also dengue fever and West Nile Virus. Gates’ blog had “Mosquito Week” to bring attention to how serious they really are.

At Mosquito Squad, we are proud to fight against mosquitoes domestically and internationally. Internationally, we fight mosquito-borne disease through our relationship with Malaria No More.

Domestically, we fight the bite for our clients, allowing them to take back their yards and enjoy their outdoor spaces again. As the mosquito control experts, we offer a few different mosquito services:

  • Our traditional barrier spray is applied every 2-3 weeks to reduce the client’s mosquito population by 85-90%.
  • Mosquito Squad’s all natural mosquito treatment repels 85% of the mosquitoes with its smell (don’t worry, humans can’t smell it).
  • For clients having outdoor events, weddings, graduation parties, etc., we offer special events sprays to keep mosquitoes off the guest list.

If you have questions regarding the best mosquito control service for your home, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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West Nile Numbers on the Rise, but is it as Bad as Last Year?

We at Mosquito Squad, try to stay abreast of vector-borne diseases and their trends from year to year. At some of you may have seen, human cases of West Nile have been popping up across the country. As of Tuesday this week (August 27th), 45 states and Washington DC have reported the virus in people, birds or mosquitoes. There have been 421 human cases and 13 deaths attributed to the disease. Since the newest numbers were posted, there has been at least one more death and several more cases.

The first reports of West Nile came out nearly two months earlier than it did in 2012, leading most to believe that 2013 was going to be another big year for the virus. We are now in the heat of the normal West Nile season and what are the results? Is it as bad as last year? Simply put, no. It’s not.

On August 22nd of 2012 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) held a telebriefing on the current status of West Nile Virus. In that meeting, they stated:

“As of August 21, a total of 47 states have reported West Nile virus infection in people, birds or mosquitoes…A total of 1,118 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported to CDC…These 1,118 cases and 41 deaths identified thus far in 2012 are the highest numbers of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999.” Source.

2012 was a terrible year for West Nile virus, with the final number of cases topping 5,000. As a result, many local governments budgeted for more mosquito testing and spraying in 2013. Spraying happened earlier and more frequently than in years past. And, let’s not forget, not every mosquito can transmit the West Nile virus. The majority of them don’t carry the disease.

Despite (thankfully) tracking behind 2012’s numbers, we do expect the 2013 numbers to rise. Some areas of the country experienced unseasonably cooler temperatures in the spring, reducing the number of active mosquitoes (as opposed to an unusually warm spring in 2013). With the mosquitoes coming out later in the year, we expect that reported West Nile cases will also come later in the year. West Nile symptoms don’t start to appear until a few weeks after the initial bite.

In any year it is important to protect yourself and your loved ones from vector-borne disease. At Mosquito Squad, we do that through our professional mosquito control services, but it we encourage everyone to be aware of what is going on in your area. If news comes out about West Nile in your town or county, take extra precautions when spending time outdoors, including wearing long sleeved shirts and pants.

If you have any questions on mosquito control, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office. And have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

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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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Massachusetts Evaluates Mosquito Larvicide Bill

2013 has been a wet year for many parts of the country and you know that that means: mosquitoes, swarms of them. In anticipation for another large year for mosquito-borne illnesses, Massachusetts legislation is looking at a new mosquito bill that can help fight the bite.

It's time to start thinking about controlling the mosquitoes in your area

It’s time to start thinking about controlling the mosquitoes in your area

From 2001 to 2009, municipal workers were allowed to administer non-toxic pesticides in storm drains. Storm drains are the perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs because they not only hold water, but it’s also difficult to drain completely. Before 2009, municipal workers were allowed to drop pesticide pellets into the drains to cut down on the amount of mosquitoes hatching and they want that capability back after a year of widespread and fatal cases of West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the area.

In 2012 several Massachusetts towns closed community parks at dusk due to high rate of mosquito-borne disease. There has been a  lot of spring rainfall that has led lawmakers to consider the bill again.

As State Representative Jason Lew explains, “it has never been clear to us why [the Department of Agriculture Resources] didn’t renew it” when the legislation expired in 2009. After the law relapsed only licensed pest control workers could apply the pesticide. Allowing municipal employees to administer the larvicide would ensure the catch basins were treated in a timely manner.

Larvicide is a pest control treatment that targets the culex species larvae. The non-toxic pesticide stops the larva from maturing into mosquitoes that can transmit disease.

At Mosquito Squad, we will administer species specific growth regulators in areas that hold standing water that you can’t get rid of. For example, a client may have a pond or drain that holds water that they can’t get rid of. If it goes untreated, even a Mosquito Squad treatment won’t stop the mosquitoes from maturing and biting. To ensure that our professional mosquito control is the most effective it can be, those areas are treated with a growth regulator that stops maturation.

As we’ve seen the numbers of reported mosquito-borne illnesses continue to rise, we are happy to see that local governments are taking mosquito control more seriously. While we help protect our clients and their families at home, it’s important they have protection in community areas like parks and local fields.

If you have questions on mosquito control and what you can do to fight the bite, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Mosquitoes Emerge in Warmer Weather, first case of West Nile in 2013

This past week has brought with it some warm weather on the east coast. I love spring and summer, the heat, the sunshine, being outdoors, it’s just an enjoyable time of year, except for one thing: mosquitoes.

When temperatures start to rise in the spring, mosquitoes begin to emerge and threaten to ruin our outdoor fun. For many parts of the United States, they’ve been active for several weeks now. Some of our Mosquito Squad locations are already out and about protecting yards from mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes need two things to reproduce: blood and standing water. Male mosquitoes do not bite, but instead only feed on plant proteins. Females, on the other hand, need the protein from blood to lay their eggs. They smell carbon dioxide and know they can find blood at the source. After a blood meal, the mosquito then needs standing water to lay its eggs, and it doesn’t need much. Up to 300 mosquito eggs can be laid in as much as a bottle cap full of water!

While the itch from bug bites is enough motivation to rid your yard of mosquitoes, they also carry and transmit dangerous diseases. Last year there was an increase in the numbers of confirmed West Nile cases in the US. The Centers of Disease Control reports a total of over 5,300 cases over 48 states. Symptoms can include fever, headaches, fatigue and joint pain. As a result, many states and municipalities are increasing their mosquito control efforts this year to help fight the spread of West Nile.

Despite enhanced efforts to fight the spread of West Nile and other vector-borne disease, Mississippi is reporting the first human case this year, a full two months before the first human case in 2012. Even with municipalities doing more to cut down the mosquito populations in public areas, homeowners should be protecting their properties from mosquitoes as well.

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

At Mosquito Squad, we offer our clients three residential mosquito control options:

  1. Our 21-day mosquito barrier spray program brings a trained applicator to your home once every three weeks. The spray is applied to the vegetation on your property where mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor.
  2. The barrier spray is also available in an all-natural version. As opposed to the standard barrier spray, the all-natural option should be applied to the property every two weeks.
  3. If you would like something more permanent, an installed mosquito control misting system may be a good option. The misting system emits small bursts of mosquito spray at times of the day when mosquitoes are most active.

As spring and summer begins, it’s important to make sure you can get the most out of your outdoor spaces. If you have a mosquito problem, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office. Dread Skeeter and his squad are sure to help!

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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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Preparations to Battle West Nile Begin

Last summer the United States saw a spike in the number of West Nile Virus cases across the country. By the end of the year, 48 states reported confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease, resulting in 243 deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “eighty percent of the cases have been from 13 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio and New York) and a third of all cases have been reported from Texas.” Spring is now right around the corner and officials have started preparing for the battle against the mosquito and the diseases they transmit.

Public health employees in Tarrant County, Texas, where 11 people died of West Nile last year, have already begun trapping and testing mosquitoes. As Dr. Anita Kurtian, chief epidemiologist explains, the plan this year “is significantly more aggressive in terms of surveillance and response.” Source. They’ve increased the number of traps so safety communications to the public can be more proactive.

Dallas County, Texas is also increasing their mosquito trapping as a result of 19 deaths last year.

On the east coast, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in Virginia approved the “Disease Carrying Insect Program” to help measure and prevent not only the spread of West Nile Virus but also Lyme disease that has greatly affected the area in past years.

We at Mosquito Squad are thrilled to see that plans are already in place to be more proactive with respect to the spread of mosquito-borne disease!

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