Archive for category West Nile encephaltis and meningitis

West Nile and Mosquito Control

When a new season starts for Mosquito Squad, I tend to think about the year and season that just past. What happened? What were people talking about? 2012 was the season of West Nile. In July, August and September, you couldn’t go a day without seeing an article with new West Nile numbers in the news. Corporately, we saw more people emailing us about how to protect themselves at the end of summer than ever before.

A swarm of mosquitoesWest Nile Virus is a dangerous disease transmitted through infected mosquitoes. The symptoms, like many other vector borne diseases, mirror those of the flu. Fever, joint pain, headache and fatigue are common amongst patients. While most people with West Nile never display symptoms, other can become extremely ill or even die. The best way to protect yourself against the disease is to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

As we enter 2013, we at Mosquito Squad hope that more homeowners recognize the importance of mosquito control before we start to hear about a West Nile epidemic again. Mosquito control isn’t only about having a mosquito free yard, but more importantly about protecting you, your family and your pets from the diseases they carry. Our teams  protect against the annoying pests through our barrier spray. The spray is applied to vegetation where the mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. It kills mosquitoes on contact and continues to protect the property for up to 21 days.

Following a year that brought out a lot of mosquitoes and cases of vector borne disease, we recommend ensuring you or your municipality are protecting the outdoor areas you frequent. Our season long package makes sure that your yard is protected every 3 weeks without you having to worry abut it.

If you want to learn more about our mosquito control options, including an all natural option, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Looking back on 2012 and West Nile Virus

The end of every year brings an onslaught of lists looking back on the past 12 months. The best news stories, the best videos, the best couples, etc. all those lists and more. In a recent list of the Biggest Health Stories of 2012, Fox News placed West Nile in the number 13 spot. With over 5,000 confirmed cases and 228 deaths, it was the worst year for the virus since 2003 (according to MedPage Today, there was excessive testing in 2003 which boosted that year’s numbers).

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been researching the surge of cases this year and looking for trends or reasons behind the numbers. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer. As Marc Fischer, a medical officer for the CDC says “there’s no single or specific factor that we can point to as to why, or if, a year is going to have high or low activity.” Source.

West Nile is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes most commonly get the virus from birds, but can get it from other vertebrate. Because it’s a cycle that changes from location to location, studies are most effective when done locally. What elevated the spread of West Nile in Texas will be different than what happened in Maine for instance.

Fischer and his team have studied the virus to check for mutations that may have made the virus stronger, resulting in greater symptoms and confirmed cases (most people with West Nile will never display symptoms). The flu, for example, is known to continually mutate. There is no evidence to suggest the virus is changing but will be monitored over several years.

In short, questions regarding West Nile and why 2012 was such a bad year for the virus remain unanswered. We can’t properly guess what 2013 will bring, so it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites. And what is the best way to avoid mosquito bites? To get rid of mosquitoes!

At Mosquito Squad, we suggest the 5 Ts of mosquito control for yards. They center on the idea of getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed and like to harbor: Tip, Toss, Turnover, Remove Tarps and Treat.

Tip over any objects like kids’ toys and watering cans. Toss out any leftover yard debris like clippings and leaves that can puddle water inside. Turnover dog dishes and plant saucers once a week to make sure mosquitoes don’t have a chance to breed. Tarps hold water so make sure they are tight. And lastly treat. At Mosquito Squad, we provide effective mosquito control with our barrier spray service. Our technicians spray the vegetation where mosquitoes feed and harbor, creating a protective barrier around our clients’ property. We come back every 21 days to keep families and their guests safe from mosquitoes.

If you are interested in learning more about Mosquito Squad, please contact your local office.

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Earliest Case of West Nile Detected in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania recently reported that on May 3rd, it detected its first West Nile virus-carrying mosquito. The state started testing mosquitoes in 2000 and this year brought its earliest detection ever.

According to the Business Journals, “typically, the state’s first West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito is found in mid-June.” Adds the Department of Environmental Protect Secretary Mike Krancer “the unseasonably warm weather in March caused the virus cycle to begin early this year…our staff will continue to monitor mosquito populations and conduct spraying to reduce the threat to public health.”

Last year, the first West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito was found on May 17, 2011. From there it was found in 59 counties and six human infections were confirmed.

The West Nile Virus can cause fever and other flu-like symptoms

West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans via mosquito bites. It’s been reported that 100s of cases are diagnosed every year and according to the CDC, it’s estimated that 300,000 Americans have been ill due to West Nile Virus since it arrived in the United States 11 years ago. Symptoms, including high fever, headache, body aches and nausea, usually appear between 3 and 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Serious cases can lead to encephalitis or meningitis. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and if the virus is known to be present in the area. Older adults are more likely to become ill when infected with West Nile Virus.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile. Instead, the exhibited symptoms are treated. Unfortunately, there isn’t a vaccine to protect against West Nile in humans and domestic pets (there is one for horses). The best way to prevent infection is to prevent mosquito bites. At Mosquito Squad, we do that through our 5Ts of mosquito control.

Keep you and your family off the menu this season with Mosquito Squad

The mosquito is the culprit of many insect -borne illnesses and diseases and survived the ice age

Tip – Tip over small objects in your yard that hold standing water, including dog dishes and children’s toys. Mosquitoes breed in standing water; cutting down on the breeding grounds will reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard.

Toss – toss out excess grass, leaves and firewood from yards.

Turnover – Turn over larger items like bird baths and planter saucers periodically.

Remove Tarps – When tarps aren’t pulled tightly, they leave areas for small puddles where mosquitoes can breed.

Treat Accordingly – Getting rid of standing water won’t get rid of all the mosquitoes around your property. A mosquito control spray will protect your yard against mosquitoes for 21-days.

At Mosquito Squad, we are happy to help family enjoy their backyards without the threat of West Nile and other mosquito-borne diseases. If you are interested in how mosquito control can help you, please visit us online at MosquitoSquad.com or call your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Mosquito breeding season maybe over, but West Nile Virus is still a reality for many states in the US

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

It is the time of year when most people think that mosquitoes are a distant memory of summer past. West Nile Virus as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses and diseases don’t rear their ugly heads until the latter part of the mosquito season. The duration of the mosquito season varies from  state to state, but typically mosquitoes are active from April until October. As 2011 draws closer to an end the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released it’s findings for West Nile Virus for the present year-to-date  on November 29th, 2011.

The findings show that for 2011, there have been a total number of 658 reported cases of West Nile Virus in the United States so far. This number reflects both neuroinvasive as well as non-neuroinvasive cases reported. Out of the 658 reported cases of West Nile Virus, 452 of those cases were diagnosed as neuroinvasive.  Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus means that the disease affects the nervous system. This can include encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain and meningitis which is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can also lead to acute flaccid paralysis which is an inflammation of the spinal cord. Non-neuroinvasive cases reflect those patients that display less acute signs of West Nile Virus.  In many instances the true number of those affected by non-neuroinvasive aspects of the disease can differ greatly from the actual number of reported non-neuroinvasive cases because a great deal of those infected do not seek medical attention when the disease is mild. In some of the mildest cases the patient many times does not even know they are infected. All of these numbers reflect both mild and severe cases confirmed as well as probable human disease cases occurring between January 1st, to November 29th, 2011.

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Some of the states that show the highest level of reported cases include California with 151 confirmed West Nile cases and 8 deaths as a result of the disease. Next in line are Arizona with 58 confirmed cases, Mississippi with 51, New York with 43 and Illinois and Michigan tie with 33 confirmed cases. Nationwide the total number of deaths attributed to the disease totals 40.  Only five states show non-human activity and those are Washington, Maine, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina.  There is only one state which has reported no West Nile Virus activity  either human or non-human for the year so far, and that is Maine.

This very important data  reminds us of the importance of reporting any symptoms of the disease early. The CDC’s  data also includes non-human infections and deaths reported by way of birds and other animals. If a high number of dead birds are reported in a specific geographical region it alerts the CDC and local health departments in that area to be on the alert for human cases that may present themselves.

Mosquito

The mosquito is responsible for this years current West Nile numbers

In all our efforts to prevent and control mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness, including nationwide, statewide and down to our own backyards we all hope each year that the impact of West Nile is less. These finding remind us that before we know long mosquitoes will begin breeding again and now is the time to plan for the upcoming season. The winter months give us a great opportunity to inspect our own surroundings and devise a mosquito control plan for the upcoming season to keep our families safe from mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile. Take time to inspect your property for areas that are prone to hold water such as lawn and patio furniture, children’s play areas, bird baths, planters left from spring blooms and even gutters to ensure they are free of debris. Check any screened areas or windows for damage or tears and have them repaired before spring arrives. Getting your property in tip-top shape before the arrival of the mosquito season will start a good habit and help keep you safe and bite free. Hiring a professional mosquito control company to ensure you are on schedule prior to the invasion of mosquitoes in April is also a great way to keep mosquitoes and the diseases they harbor out of your property and out of your life.

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Mosquito Squad has a safe and effective way to keep mosquitoes and the risk of mosquito-borne illness out of your property. Our mosquito programs will begin at the dawn of the 2012 mosquito season. We offer a worry free mosquito control program that entails Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray service scheduled at regular intervals to kill and prevent mosquitoes all season long. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more. You can contact a Mosquito Squad location close to home by visiting our website at http://www.mosquitosquad.com/ContactUs.html

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The vicious cycle of West Nile Virus from the beginning to the end

Dread_versions2

Mosquito Squad wants you to learn the facts about West Nile Virus."

As many of you already know West Nile Virus is a virus spread to humans and animals through the bite of a mosquito that has become infected with the virus through feeding off an infected bird.  The question is how does the infected bird become infected with West Nile in the first place?

The cycle of West Nile begins with a mosquito which transmits  the virus to a bird by way of the mosquito feeding from the bird, once the bird has become infected it serves as an amplifying host by developing levels of the virus that are sufficient enough to promote infection to other biting mosquitoes and thus pass it on to us  and other birds and animals through the bite of the infected mosquito that fed from the bird, which was already initially infected by a mosquito to begin with. Although quite confusing, the cycle is also complex, naming the mosquito the guilty party where all aspects of infection from West Nile are concerned. This vicious cycle carries out over and over again and amplifies the disease in birds. The disease was first identified in Uganda in  1937 and  since then has been commonly identified in the Middle eastern regions of the world, Africa and Western Asia. The virus had not been identified in the U.S. until an outbreak in New York in September, 1999. Since the New York outbreak more than 30,000 people have been reported with the virus and out of those 1,200 have perished from the virus. As of 2011 46 states have reported outbreaks of West Nile.

Blue Jays and crows are more likely to die from West Nile Virus than other birds.

Blue Jays and crows are more likely to die from West Nile Virus than other birds.

Many types of birds are likely to be infected with the West Nile Virus, but studies have shown that crows and blue jays are more likely to perish from the infection. In the 1999 New York area West Nile epidemic there was a huge die off of crows from the disease. Since this occurrence more than 200 species of birds found dead in the United States have tested positive for the virus. There is a detailed species list available through the CDC website that identifies the infected birds mortality rate from 1999 to present. You may visit here to view the list  http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/birdspecies.htm The identification of these species were reported thanks to the help of the public reporting cases of dead birds to their state and local health departments whom is responsible for collection and testing of dead birds all across the US.

Mosquito

The root of the West Nile epidemic lies in the mosquito.

Birds serve as vectors, or intermediate carriers for the disease from the minute the infected mosquito bites them. In many cases sick birds won’t show any sign of the virus and in other cases birds can just fall out of the sky dead from the virus. When a human becomes infected with the virus it can take on three forms, one of which is an asymptomatic  infection, the second is West Nile fever which is a mild febrile syndrome and the third is the most severe form of the virus which is called West Nile meningitis and West Nile encephalitis. Meningitis and encephalitis are neuroinvasive disorders which causes acute swelling of the membrane and lining of the brain and the brain itself.

Since there is no immunization for protecting us from West Nile the best way to lessen the chances of becoming infected with the virus is to minimize the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Taking control of your property is key to controlling mosquito populations.

Here are some helpful hints to keep mosquitoes away…

  • Keep your property mowed and free of debris and brush piles.
  • Keep your bushes and plantings trimmed, tidy and avoid letting them get overgrown
  • Make sure gutters and downspouts are free of debris that might cause moisture to collect
  • Tip, toss out and turn over outdoor items that are not in use or those that may serve as reservoirs for moisture
  • Check screened areas for rips or tears frequently and repair immediately to avoid mosquitoes from entering your home
  • Frequently dump and refill bird baths or other areas where water can stand and serve as a place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs
  • Have you property treated by a licensed professionall to kill and control mosquitoes
Mosquito_Squad_spraying_your_yard

Mosquito Squad can help you take control of your property and keep it mosquito free.

Mosquito Squad is dedicated to keeping you and your family safe from mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus. Our safe and effective barrier spray , as well as out mosquito misting systems offer you outstanding mosquito control. Contact us today to learn more at 877-667-7823

804.353.6999 • info@mosquitosquad.com

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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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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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