Archive for category West Nile Virus

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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Education During Mosquito Control Awareness Week

Next week, June 23rd through June 29th, 2013 is Mosquito Control Awareness Week, sponsored by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). According to the AMCA, the goal of the week is to “educate the general public about the significance of mosquitoes in their daily lives and the important service provided by mosquito control workers.”

A swarm of mosquitoesAnyone who has been bitten by a mosquito knows they are annoying. The bites swell, can itch for days and, if you are like me, you’ll scratch them over and over again making them last longer. Knowing how bothersome they are is one thing, but understanding the dangers of mosquitoes is another.

Some people may not understand how dangerous mosquitoes can be. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet due to the diseases they transmit through their bites. We may not have a problem with malaria here in the United States anymore, but that doesn’t mean we are safe from mosquito-borne disease.

Last week we discussed West Nile virus and what to expect from this sometimes deadly disease, but with Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Dengue Fever, mosquitoes can make a lot of people ill in numerous ways. And let’s not forget our canine friends. Every year, dogs are infected with heartworm through the bite of a mosquito.

At Mosquito Squad, we often talk about our professional mosquito control services, but it is important for people to understand the best ways to protect themselves against mosquitoes when they leave their protected yard. The first step is to understand mosquitoes.

While they are most active at dawn and dusk, they are out and about at all times of the day. They are usually found in areas with more mature vegetation as they feed mainly on plants (female mosquitoes need blood meals to lay their eggs).

If you are going to enjoy the sun around some water, make sure that water isn’t stagnant. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, but the eggs won’t survive in moving water. They don’t usually travel far from their breeding grounds, so if there is a lot of standing water in a certain area, there will be a lot of mosquitoes.

Cover up. If you are going to be in an area where you know there will be mosquitoes, consider wearing a loose long sleeve shirt and pants. Loose clothing is harder for mosquitoes to bite you through.

kill mosquitos and ticks at commercial venuesWhen it comes to your backyard, your best protection is mosquito treatments for your yard. Mosquito Squad’s mosquito barrier spray kills adult mosquitoes on contact and provides 21 days of protection thereafter. By spraying the areas that mosquitoes are known to feed and live, we are able to get rid of 85-90% of mosquitoes on your property. If you aren’t satisfied with the results, we’ll come back and spray your yard again.

If you have any questions on Mosquito Control Awareness Week or how you can protect yourself and your friends and family from these annoying (an dangerous) pests, contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Another Bad Year for West Nile Virus? Looks Like It!

2012 was a record year for West Nile Virus with over 5 thousand reported cases! And those are just the people who displayed symptoms! Eighty percent of people infected with West Nile will never show any symptoms and will recover on their own so we can only imagine how many people had this mosquito-borne disease. We are only a few months into this year’s mosquito season and it’s already looking like it could be another big year of West Nile.

A new study out of Texas is reporting higher numbers of southern house mosquitoes, the specie of mosquito that most frequently transmit the disease in the area. Texas had the highest number of West Nile cases in 2012 and as a result implemented increased mosquito spraying and testing this year. When comparing 2012 and 2013 trapping numbers, there is more potential for mosquitoes carrying West Nile this year than last.

Traps out of Dallas County Texas were analyzed three times in the month of May, on the 11th, 18th and 25th respectively. Each time the number of southern house mosquitoes went up. Understanding the numbers and potential threats, will hopefully lead to increased awareness of the dangers that mosquitoes can transmit.

Nearly 290 people died from West Nile Virus last year. Certain municipalities cancelled outdoor events because of the threat. We at Mosquito Squad are happy to see that many areas of the country have responded with larger mosquito control budgets to protect their communities. More widespread spraying is taking place as well as treatment for areas that are known to hold a lot of standing water where mosquitoes can breed.

While governments are taking action on public properties, homeowners still need to take action at their own home, especially if they spend time outdoors. We’ve always called our tips to get rid of mosquitoes the 5Ts and we’ve made it easy to remember. Just take a look at this…

While this video is fun, the underlying message is serious. The 5Ts are important steps in combatting the mosquito population on any given property. Survey your yard and take note of areas where you 1) see standing water or 2) see an abundance of mosquitoes. That will tell you the most important areas to treat.

Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, which will develop into mosquitoes in just a few days. And it doesn’t take a lot of water to do it in. A bottle cap provides enough water to lay up to 300 eggs in! It may be difficult, or even impossible, to get rid of ALL the standing water in your yard, do what you can, especially to the larger containers. For example, that bird bath you have may be beautiful, but it’s the best place for a mosquito to lay its eggs if it isn’t turned over on a regular basis.

Mosquitoes, unfortunately, aren’t easily eliminated from a property without professional mosquito control treatments. That’s where Mosquito Squad comes into play! Our trained applicators will come to your property and treat the foliage that mosquitoes feed on. Our spray is able to get in underneath the foliage that are difficult to get to on your own.

If you have questions on the best way to get rid of mosquitoes, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Heartworm Awareness Month – Protect those Pets!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

April, in case you didn’t know, is heartworm awareness month. Heartworm is a deadly disease that affects both dogs and cats and is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Here are some things you should know about heartworm and how to protect your beloved pets from this dangerous illness:

  • It's important to protect these cute guys from the dangers of mosquitoes

    It’s important to protect these cute guys from the dangers of mosquitoes

    Heartworms enters the body in a larvae stage. They then make their way to the heart and lungs where they develop into mature worms

  • A heartworm can reach up to 12 inches in length (gross)
  • Heartworms do not affect humans
  • Symptoms of heartworm include coughing and not wanting to exercise
  • Monthly heartworm medication not only protects your pets against infected bites, but will kill any immature heartworms present in the body
  • Cats are less susceptible to heartworm than dogs
  • 25% of the feline heartworm cases occur in indoor cats
  • There is no heartworm treatment for cats, just prevention. Dogs can be treated for heartworm, but it is a costly and difficult treatment
  • Heartworm is present in all 50 states, but is most common on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts
  • Adult heartworms look like cooked spaghetti
  • A heartworm blood test looks for and detects a protein in the blood that is produced by female heartworms
  • Heartworms can live in the canine body for up to 7 years
  • The first article covering heartworm was written in 1847 and published in the Western Journal of Medicine.

Heartworm is a serious illness that is easily prevented. If you are a pet owner, make sure to have your furry friend regularly tested for heartworm (as recommended by your veterinarian) and is given its monthly heartworm medication.

Mosquito-borne illness, including heartworm, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever, is a growing concern in the United States. At Mosquito Squad, we help protect families from these dangerous pests with our mosquito control for the yard. Our protective mosquito spray is applied to the areas of your yard where mosquitoes are most likely to feed, breed and harbor, ridding the areas of mosquitoes before they can bite you. Our barrier spray is available in both the standard and all natural formula. The standard formula lasts up to 21 days and reduces your mosquito population by up to 90%. The all natural option, in comparison, needs to be reapplied every 14 days and cuts the mosquito population by 85%.

If you have questions regarding Mosquito Squad and our mosquito control services, 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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Virginia Passes Lyme Disease Bill

Spring is right around the corner, and with the warmer weather comes an influx of mosquitoes and ticks. With growing numbers of West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, municipalities are growing more and more aware of the dangers of vector-borne disease. Many local governments have already planned for more widespread mosquito control and now Virginia has passed a new bill dealing with Lyme disease.

Ticks Populations increase

Tick populations are on the rise, make sure you keep close attention when spending time outdoors

Lyme disease numbers in Virginia have been rising the last few years. This past week Governor McDonnell passed the Lyme Disease Testing Awareness Act. The act requires doctors to warn patients that current Lyme disease testing isn’t 100% accurate and that false negatives can occur. Physicians will be expected to start informing their patients starting July 1, 2013.

The bill was sponsored by Fairfax delegate Barbara Comstock who believes it is a positive step towards a more open-minded approach to treating Lyme. Transmitted by ticks, Lyme disease is easily treatable by antibiotics when caught early. The earlier it is properly diagnosed, the better the chance of a full recovery. Unfortunately, Lyme disease isn’t always easy to diagnose and when left untreated can result in serious, if not lifelong, complications, including joint paint and heart disease.

Monte Skall, the executive director of National Capital Lyme Disease Association, explains that the bill “was truly a successful grass-roots effort, proving that people are working together can bring about real change to benefit victims of Lyme disease.” Source.

Comstock adds that it was “a great step in raising awareness about this terrible disease and the high incidence of patients receiving false negative tests for Lyme” Source.

As spring and summer come and we spend more time outdoors, it’s important to vigilant as to your surroundings but also aware that ticks aren’t only present in woods, but everywhere outdoors. To minimize your chances of getting Lyme disease, you need to minimize your exposure to ticks. When spending significant time outdoors, it’s best to wear light colored loose clothing, that way you can see if a tick is on you. After coming indoors, do a thorough body checking, paying particular attention to hard to reach areas like behind the knees and under your arms. If you find a tick on you, remove it promptly (following this guide from the Center for Disease Control) and place the tick in a plastic bag. If you are worried that the tick may be a Lyme carrier, take it to the doctor and have it tested.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from ticks in their backyards with our professional tick control. Our barrier spray kills adult ticks on contact. Additionally we use tick tubes to kill the ticks before they can bite our clients. If you have a large tick population on your property or just want to be extra careful this year, contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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