Archive for category Mosquito barrier spray

Getting Your Pet Ready for Spring

It's not a post about pets without a picture of Wiley. This big-earred pup can't wait for spring!

It’s not a post about pets without a picture of Wiley. This big-earred pup can’t wait for spring!

Warm spring weather is (hopefully) just around the corner. That means it’s time to move it outdoors and enjoy it! From hiking and walking to trips to the dog park, my furry friend, Wiley, and I spend as much time as we can outdoors when it is nice out. The warm weather doesn’t just bring green grass and flowers, however, it also means biting bugs that can harm people and dogs and cats, like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

Just like humans, our beloved pets are at risk for vector-borne disease.

Fleas are one of the easier pests when it comes to determining their presence. Both dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva and will scratch and chew when they have fleas. And just one flea can bite nearly 350 times in one day! While it is uncommon, fleas can transmit disease to dogs, cats and humans alike.

When it comes to ticks, your pet isn’t going to let you know that it has one because it doesn’t make them itch as much as flea bites. They may not look like they are being harmed or bothered by anything, but that may not be the case. Ticks transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis dogs. There is even an illnesses called tick paralysis that can harm our four-legged friends.

When it comes to protecting your pets from flea and ticks, it’s about controlling the pests and being vigilant. Talk to your veterinarian about topical medications or collars. Additionally, there are flea and tick treatments for your yard that will help. At Mosquito Squad, our traditional barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact. We also have additional applications we use to combat ticks more aggressively as well as fleas. Even when your pet is protected with medication or yard treatments, they should be checked after spending time in areas where ticks and fleas are known to be. For example, Wiley had topical treatments, but still had ticks last year after hiking. If your dog or cat has a tick, remove it using tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it is needed for testing. If they have fleas, they will need a flea bath and you will need to check to see if your home needs to be sprayed.

When it comes to mosquitoes, they transmit one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases for some animals: heartworm.  The roundworm travels to the heart where it matures and grows. If it isn’t treated, heartworm can be fatal. It is highly recommended that animals take a heartworm medication. It should be prescribed after a heartworm test has been done on the animal.

Symptoms of canine heartworm are coughing, not wanting to exercise, fainting and a rapid heartbeat. Feline heartworm symptoms include coughing, vomiting and depression.

Professional mosquito control will also help protect your pets from heartworm by cutting down on your property’s mosquito population. The mosquito spray that we utilize eliminates mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to 21 days.

If you have questions on how to protect your pets from vector-borne disease, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Will a Snowy Winter Stop the Mosquitoes this Spring?

2014, thus far, has been a cold and snowy year for many parts of the country. States like North Carolina and Virginia have had more than their regular snowfall and freezing temperatures. What does it mean for the 2014 mosquito forecast?

Mosquitoes are very resilient. Their eggs (and some adults when properly protected) can survive through freezing temperatures. The tough winter may postpone the influx of mosquitoes, but it may also increase the number of the pests!

Mosquitoes can be active in temperatures averaging over 50 degrees and thrive in weather over 80. You probably won’t notice a lot of activity from theses nuisances until the overnight freezes become less common. This may occur later in the season than it normally does. When it does happen, it may be a bad mosquito season!

Mosquitoes can be dangerous when carrying certain illnesses like Dengue Fever

Integrated Pest Management will help you Fight the Bite in your yard

One thing mosquitoes need to breed is standing water. Exceptionally dry years bring less mosquitoes. So far, 2014 has had a lot of precipitation with high rain and snowfall. The rain, along with melting snow and ice will result in a lot of standing water, which could mean a lot of mosquitoes.

As America’s most trust mosquito control company, homeowners often ask us the ways in which they can protect themselves from pesky mosquitoes. To answer that question, we use the 5Ts of treatment, 4 of which have to do with standing water.

Not only is standing water necessary for mosquito production, but it’s also the center of their life once they are mature. Mosquitoes don’t venture far from the area where they matured, so if you take care of the standing water on your property, you are instantly decreasing your mosquito population.

Now back to the 5 Ts: tip, toss, turn, tarp and treat. Walk around your property and tip over items like birdbaths and planter saucers that naturally hold water once a week.

Toss out yard debris like grass clippings and leaves. Piles of debris naturally will hold water after it rains.

Turn over dog dishes and children’s toys when they aren’t being used.

Tarps, believe it or not, can be a great place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs when they aren’t pulled taut.

The final T is mosquito control is treat. Treating the property to cut down on the number of adult mosquitoes on your property is the best way to stop the bites. At Mosquito Squad, we utilize a mosquito control barrier spray to eliminate up to 90% of the property’s population.

Please contact your local Mosquito Squad if you have any questions.

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Mosquitoes’ Natural Predators – who gets rid of them in the wild

Mosquitoes have lived on Earth for millions of years and as they have changed and evolved, so have their predators. While the little pests are resilient, they do have many natural predators. So who are these helpful predators?

Splendor of late summer can be found via the dragonfly.Dragonflies – Dragonflies eat mosquitoes at all stages of their development. Mosquitoes need standing water to development and often do not stray too far from where they hatch. Dragonflies are also known to stay near water. Large populations of dragonflies are known to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in an area because they can easily feed on them before the mosquito reaches maturity.

Mosquito Fish (Gambusia Affinis)

Mosquito Fish (Gambusia Affinis)

Fish – many different types of fish feed on mosquitoes in their egg, larva and pupa stages. One of the most helpful fish to have around when it comes to mosquito control is the aptly named mosquito fish. These fish are only 4 to 7 centimeters long, but they consume a large amount of mosquito larvae. Mosquito fish have been introduced to many parts of the world to combat active mosquito populations, including South America and Russia where they were a major factor in the eradication of malaria.

The bat can eat between 600 and 1,000 bats in a single hourBats – Bats are the only mammals that can fly and are found throughout the world. The majority of bat species feed on insects including mosquitoes. In some areas of the world, people place bat houses on their property as a way to naturally control mosquitoes. While bat houses have been used since the 1900s, some experts wouldn’t recommend them. Although bats do eat mosquitoes, it is less than 1% of their diet. And, maybe it is just me, but I wouldn’t want a bat in my backyard anyway!

Other mosquito predators include purple martins, prey mantises, nematodes and fungi.

When considering mosquito control options, looking to the pest’s natural predators is not your best bet. Professional mosquito control will provide you with better results and the options are plenty.

At Mosquito Squad we have three main forms of mosquito control for your yard. Our most popular service is the barrier spray, that reduces the area’s mosquito population by 85-90%. The spray is applied to foliage around your property and lasts for up to 21 days.

If you would prefer an all-natural product, our barrier spray does come in an all-natural option. It acts as a repellent and isn’t as effective, reducing the population by 80%. Because the all-natural mosquito spray breaks down more quickly, it needs to be reapplied every 14 days.

Lastly, Mosquito Squad offers misting systems that can be installed on your property. The misting system emits small bursts of mosquito control at times of the day when mosquitoes are at their most active.

If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Will the Polar Vortex Eliminate Mosquitoes?

Many parts of the country have been hit with extremely cold temperatures this week due to the polar vortex. While it’s difficult to stay outside for just a few minutes in negative temperatures, we have seen several questions regarding how the cold affects mosquito populations and if they can survive.

mosquito in iceSorry everyone, but the polar vortex isn’t killing off all mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have been on this planet for millions of years so it isn’t surprising that they’re pretty adaptable and can withstand extreme temperatures. Don’t get me wrong, some mosquitoes will die due to freezing cold, but not all.

While some larval mosquitoes may make it through the winter, the vast majority of the pests are in one of two life stages if they are going to survive the cold months: eggs or adults.

Mosquito eggs are very resilient and can lay dormant for years before hatching. All they need to mature is standing water and warmer temperatures. If eggs were laid in low ground, for instance, they will go dormant throughout the winter months. When temperatures rise again and the area is flooded with standing water, the eggs will then begin to mature again.

Adult mosquitoes, if they are to going to live through the summer, must prepare for months of hibernation. Not unlike other animals who hibernate, mosquitoes increase their weight through feeding as they will not seek meals in the winter.

When the temperatures drop, mosquitoes will find shelter to protect them. These include hollowed out wood, storm drains and inside homes and sheds. One 20th century researcher, J. Turner Brakeley, noted that if mosquitoes were able to find their way into heated areas, they would not go into a full hibernation like those in colder environments.

Brakeley found mosquitoes would curl up with their legs underneath their bodies when in hibernation, presumably to try to maintain some body heat.

So there we have it. I may be happier to go through the polar vortex temperatures if I knew it meant a summer without mosquito bites, but that simply is not the case. When the weather warms up again this spring, the mosquitoes will be back in full.

If you have an active mosquito population on your property, we at Mosquito Squad are happy to help you fight the bite! Our mosquito control treatments will reduce the numbers of mosquitoes by 85-90%! The mosquito spray that we utilize kills adult mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to three weeks. At that point, we would recommend another treatment.

If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Centers for Disease Control Warn Travelers of Chikungunya

Mosquito-borne diseases are present in any area of the country and world where mosquitoes are active. While the diseases they carry are different depending on the areas of the world, many of them are dangerous and debilitating. Earlier this week, the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning against a painful mosquito-borne illness for any U.S. travelers to the Caribbean.

Ten people in the Caribbean have recently been diagnosed with Chikungunya virus. The CDC says it is “very likely” to end up in the United States. As CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explains, “Microbes know no boundaries, and the appearance of chikungunya virus in the Western hemisphere represents another threat to health security. CDC experts have predicted and prepared for its arrival for several years and there are surveillance systems in place to help us track it.” Source.

Asian Tiger mosquito stripes on legs

Asian Tiger mosquito stripes on legs. These pests are carriers of the painful chikungunya virus.

The Asian tiger mosquito is a common carrier of Chikungunya. The tiger mosquito is easily recognizable by the black and white stripes on their legs.

Chikungunya symptoms can take days to display after being infected with the disease. Symptoms of the disease are very similar to those of dengue fever including a high fever, rash, headache, nausea and severe joint pain. The name Chikungunya comes from the Mankonde language and means, “that which bends up” because it can be very painful.

Chikungunya was first found in Africa but has been moving into Asia and Europe and now the Caribbean in recent years. So far there have been 109 travelers who have been diagnosed with Chikungunya in the United States and luckily it hasn’t spread since there.

With winter holidays and travel in full swing, the CDC issued a statement of warning: the “CDC estimated that about 9 million U.S. residents travel to the Caribbean each year. Given that volume of travelers, chikungunya could occur more frequently in returning U.S. mainland travelers if the virus expands in the region.” Source.

The CDC stated that it is possible for a single infected person to start an outbreak of the disease. While we aren’t in the height of mosquito season now, it will start again in just a few short months. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they carry with our mosquito control treatments. By treating your property for mosquitoes, your chances of being infected while spending time outside in your yard is decreased. If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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The Basics of the Mosquito

Over the years, we at Mosquito Squad have shared a lot of information on mosquitoes. The different types, how they choose their prey, the diseases they carry, etc. We were excited to see a new video that was released today that provides a great snapshot on our most dreaded pest. Take a look at this video from TED-Ed, Lessons Worth Sharing:

We at Mosquito Squad are very familiar with both the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes. For those of you that may not be aware, Mosquito Squad was born from a need. Our sister company, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, had lighting designers that would be eaten alive when designing and installing outdoor lighting systems. It was such a nuisance that our founders, Boyd Huneycutt and Scott Zide, who were involved with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, decided to provide a service to help. From there, Mosquito Squad was born.

Mosquito Squad prides itself on giving our clients their yards back. Our effective mosquito control spray reduces your mosquito population by up to 90% for up to 21 days!

If you are looking for a gift for that hard to buy for person on your list this holiday, a gift certificate for Mosquito Squad services is something completely unexpected. Allow your friends or family members to know what summer is like without mosquito bites! For more information, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Dengue Fever, Genetically Modified Mosquitoes and the Florida Keys

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that we don’t talk about too often, but it has made the news recently. Dengue is also known as the breakbone fever due to its severe muscle and joint pain and is considered a tropical disease that has, in the United States, been primarily found in Florida. In the last few weeks however, Texas and New York have reported cases of Dengue.

The Aedes aegypti is known to transmit dengue fever in tropical locations

The Aedes aegypti is known to transmit dengue fever in tropical locations

Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Florida keys have a large Aedes aegypti population and suffered a Dengue outbreak in 2010. Now, local employees are considering a new method of decreasing the mosquito population with mixed feedback.

Michael Doyle is director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD). Its goal is to control the mosquito population in the keys, an area that has the pests all year round due to its warm weather. Having tried pesticides and more natural solutions such as dragonflies (a mosquito predator) with little success, Doyle would like to introduce genetically modified mosquitoes to the area.

British bioengineering company Oxitec is the leader in genetically modified mosquitoes. They inject male Aedes aegypti with what is referred to as a suicide gene.  The gene prohibits the males’ offspring from maturing and kills them, thus cutting down on the mosquito population.

No MosquitoesIn 2009, Oxitec was criticized for releasing 3.3 million modified mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands without public consultation, however, the test displayed promising results. Since then, the company has expanded to Malaysia and Brazil.

When news that the city wanted to release modified mosquitoes in the Keys was announced, residents were anything but thrilled. They question the timing of such a radical step. The area hasn’t seen a dengue outbreak since 2010 and it seems too early to evaluate the long-term effects of genetically modified mosquitoes. As local resident, Mila del Mier stated, “why not keep the status quo and have more time for more studies?”

Doyle explains mosquito spraying isn’t as effective as they’d hope because municipal spraying cannot reach all the areas where mosquitoes hide.

We at Mosquito Squad are interested to see what comes from further tests of genetically modified mosquitoes. In the meantime, we will continue to protect our clients with our effective mosquito control spray. Our trained technicians focus on the areas where municipal spraying can’t reach, like heavy foliage on your yard.

If you have questions regarding professional mosquito control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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