Archive for category Mosquito fun

World Malaria Day and Mosquito Squad Service Day

At Mosquito Squad, we pride ourselves on being more than just a tick and mosquito control company; we are a company that cares about our local and global communities. Next week we are celebrating two special days for Mosquito Squad: World Malaria Day and Mosquito Squad Service Day.

Mosquitoes, as many of you know, are the deadliest animal on the planet, killing millions of people every year! How do they do it? They transmit diseases including malaria, West Nile, Encephalitis and Dengue fever through their bite. The most serious and deadly illness they transmit is malaria. Malaria kills a child in Africa every minute. Every minute! The worst part? It is both a preventable and treatable disease. Many people don’t realize that malaria was a serious issue in the United States in the 1950s until it was eradicated, yet the epidemic continues in other parts of the world.

Dread Skeeter and the rest of the Mosquito Squad is happy to support Malaria No More in their mission to end malaria deaths in Africa

Dread Skeeter and the rest of the Mosquito Squad is happy to support Malaria No More in their mission to end malaria deaths in Africa

While Mosquito Squad fights mosquito-borne disease domestically with our mosquito control options for the yard, we help fight malaria internationally through our support of Malaria No More. Malaria No More has made huge strides in fighting this deadly disease in Africa by providing protective bed nets, malaria tests and malaria treatment. While malaria deaths in Africa are down 33% since they started, we have a long way to go to reach their goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.

Next Thursday, April 25th, is World Malaria Day. On this day, we ask our clients and supporters to help fight malaria by making a donation to Malaria No More through SwatMalaria.net. Any amount will help to save the lives of children in Africa.

The day after World Malaria Day is Mosquito Squad Service Day where our franchisees are committed to giving back to their local communities. From planting trees or picking up a public park, our franchisees are donating their time. Here in Richmond, our corporate support team is teaming up with Mosquito Squad of North Richmond and Mosquito Squad of South Richmond to plant trees on a city block. I’ll be sharing pictures and details of the day after the event. Who knows, Dread Skeeter may even make an appearance!

Every day, we at Mosquito Squad are lucky enough to protect our clients’ properties from annoying and dangerous ticks and mosquitoes. Our mosquito control services are effective in enhancing the outdoor living experience on a property. We are thrilled to provide our service, but we are happy to give back too.

If you are interested in learning more about Mosquito Squad, our services or our partnership with Malaria No More, please contact your local Squad.

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Mosquitoes Versus Raindrops, who wins?

You know we here at Mosquito Squad love a good story or study on mosquitoes, and recently an engineer studied what happens to mosquitoes when they are hit by rain drops. So why did David Hu of the Georgia Institute of Technology want to know how mosquitoes could survive being hit by raindrops? To build robots of course! I’m not joking; Hu’s findings could help in the creation of mosquito-sized robots which could be used for military surveillance.

Mosquitoes have been flying around and bothering animals (and humans) for millions of years and we know that they do incredibly well in areas that get a lot of rain. According to USA today, a raindrop can weigh 50 times more than a mosquito, so how does it survive when hit in mid-flight (that’s worse than a 150lb person being hit by a loaded F-150 truck at 30 mph)? To answer that question, Hu and his team filmed caged mosquitoes with a high-speed camera as they were hit with droplets from a water jet. So, what did they find?

In short: Mosquitoes win!

“The mosquito’s low mass causes raindrops to lose little momentum upon impact and so impart correspondingly low forces to the mosquitoes,” says Hu. “If you were to scale up the impact to human size, we would not survive…They ride the drop, then reduce the force.”

To better understand the findings of this study, check out this video that shows some of the footage at slow motion from Hu’s study.

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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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Among “skeeter eaters” the bat reigns supreme

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

The bat is a familiar image used to evoke fear and creepiness throughout the year and especially during the Halloween holiday. The infamous vampire bat is used to emulate a shape shifting capability that the vampires of Hollywood have become famous for. But even though we think of the bat as an icon of  o-hallows-eve, the bat is as beneficial as it is spooky. Bats like many other birds, fish and mammals live primarily off  of a diet of insects, and among those insects on the bat’s menu is the mosquito.

This photo shows a bat catching an insect

This photo shows a bat catching an insect

Bats are broken down into two suborders, megabats  and microbats.  Megabats primarily feed off of fruit nectar and pollen while microbats feed on insects. Microbats  are considered to be a mosquito predator and can greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes that are likely to feed off of us as well as infect us with the diseases that they harbor. Bats come out to feed at dusk or right after dark and can eat a whopping 600 to 1,00 insects per hour. This is a substantial amount considering that the population of bats within a fusion can measure into the thousands. When you isolate a single bat eating mosquitoes it doesn’t paint the whole picture as accurately as taking the number of bats feeding off mosquitoes and other insects in one isolated area can.

The bat can eat between 600 and 1,000 bats in a single hour

The bat can eat between 600 and 1,000 bats in a single hour

Contrary to popular belief bats are not blind. Their eyes are quite small and underdeveloped, therefore the bat uses their heightened senses of hearing in order to locate and catch their prey. The bat uses a high-pitched sound that only other bats can hear and when the echoes from this sound hit an insect or another animal the echoes from their sound will bounce back off the prey and lead them to it. This incredible process is called echolocation.

Microbats begin hunting and feeding on their own at around 6-8 weeks of age, and a single microbat can live up to 20 years.  Research has indicated that if bats were to become extinct the insect population would explode at an alarming rate putting all of us at a greater risk for  insect-borne illnesses and diseases. A group of one thousand bats can eat up to  four tons of insects in a years time, this is proof positive that bats play a crucial role in keeping insect populations down and keeping us safer by doing so.

No Mosquitoes

No Mosquitoes

Next time you see a bat at dusk quickly darting through the twilight skies at breakneck speed, take into consideration just how much good that little creature is doing  for us by reigning supreme as a natural mosquito predator. As a society we should think of the bat as the crown prince of mosquito control instead of an icon of the prince of darkness.

We thought our barrier control mosquito and tick prevention was pretty good by lasting 2-3 weeks with one barrier spray to your yard. Well, outside of bats, barrier spraying your yard is the next best thing.

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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It’s Dragonfly Mating Season and All is Aflutter.

Splendor of late summer can be found via the dragonfly.

Splendor of late summer can be found via the dragonfly.

Just as we finish up our summer vacations and get ready to send the kids back to school, a jewel of late summer descends upon us. This last glimmer of brilliance before the leaves start to turn their magical hues of amber, gold and scarlet would come to us courtesy of the dragonfly.

That’s right, for those of you who haven’t noticed it is dragonfly mating season. Each year dragonflies come courting from late July until September while the temperatures are still warm. Dragonflies themselves are rooted deep into American and European folklore as being seen as evil and sinister as well as representing  purity and an active lifestyle in Native American cultures. These are all just myths, the truth is the dragonfly is a beneficial insect within our ecosystem because it eats mosquitoes as well as other insects that not only pester us, but also spread illness and disease.

red_dragonfly

This dragonfly will only live about two months in its adult phase.

The life cycle of the dragonfly contains three phases. These phases consist of the egg, the nymph and the adult dragonfly.  The egg stage of the dragonfly begins when the female dragonfly deposits her eggs onto a plant near the water, or into a pond or marsh. Once the egg hatches, thus begins the nymph stage of the dragonflies evolution. The nymph stage of the dragonfly can last up to four years, or until the conditions are favorable for the nymph to emerge from their marshy water home or pond and begin the flight into an adult dragonfly. During the nymph stage the dragonfly will feed on mosquito larvae as well as other larvae and small insects which dwell within or atop the water.   When the water temperature and outside temperatures are just right, the nymph dragonfly will crawl out its watery home and shed its  skin.  After shedding it’s skin, referred to as the exuvia, the adult dragonfly will emerge to feed on insects such as mosquitoes, and begin the search for a mate to start the life cycle anew. Unfortunately, adult dragonflies only live about two months, giving us little time to enjoy their grace and beauty amidst the late summer. Here is a video that shows the nymph dragonfly feeding on mosquito larvae…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miFN2o3woSw

dragonfly

The beautiful dragonfly is also beneficial because it eats mosquitoes and other insects.

So, if you were curious, like I was, as to why it seems like there is a sudden flurry in the dragonfly population during these recent summer days, the answer is clear. It is matchmaking time for these beautiful insects. Enjoy them while you still can in all their splendor, grace and glory before they are gone again until next year.

Mosquito Squad commends the efforts of the dragonfly in helping cut down the numbers in the mosquito populations. Many mammals as well as other insects consider the mosquito among its favorite meals. Mosquitoes continue to be numerous in their populations and dangerous because of the mosquito-borne illnesses they carry. Despite mother natures best efforts, it is still beneficial to exercise mosquito control and prevention within your property to keep mosquitoes at bay. Mosquito Squad offers many programs to kill and control mosquitoes. From our safe and effective barrier sprays, to our automatic mosquito misting systems. If you would like more information on how to keep your property mosquito-free the rest of the summer, and into the fall, contact Mosquito Squad to learn more. 804.353.6999 • info@mosquitosquad.com

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The Hunter is Sometimes the Hunted

Dread Skeeter fights the Mosquito and Tick bites

Go ahead, try to bite me you little bugger. You'll be sorry...

Mosquito.The name itself strikes fear in most of us and makes us begin to itch and cringe but, did you know there are benefits of having the mosquito among us? The mosquito plays a very important role in our ecosystem. To a variety of different animals mosquitoes are a primary source of protein in their diet. The beautiful dragonfly consumes mosquito while in the nymph stage. Lizards, spiders, fish, other insects and bats also eat mosquitoes. Many insect-eating birds, such as the Purple Martin are prodigious consumers of the mosquito.

Mosquitoes are also key pollinators. Mosquitoes actually don’t need our blood for food their nutritional needs are met primarily by ingesting flower nectar. The blood they steal from us with their painful bite is actually used to provide protein for the female mosquitoes eggs during development, this is why only the female mosquito bites. Not having the mosquito around would leave many flowers without a pollinator, and in some cases a predator without prey.

Mosquitoes have been on earth for 100 million years, and are a part of our biology and our ecosystem. Some researchers ponder a world without mosquitoes. Would the niche they leave from being eradicated heal? Some experts say that the world would recover, for the better without the annoyance, painful bites and diseases the mosquito spreads. For the moment wiping out the entire classification of the mosquito species seems pretty far off, but with the advancements in pesticides and science we are getting closer each day to the prospect of this actually happening. For now, all we can do is exercise our knowledge in preventing disease and destruction caused mosquitoes.

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Even though it might be good to keep these little buggers around, that doesn’t mean we have to “share the pain”. The best way to keep mosquitoes out of your yard is to spray your yard. Enlisting the help of a licensed professional and exercising common sense can help you avoid the mosquito on your own turf. While the negative outweighs the positive when it comes to mosquitoes, it is good to know they aren’t always on the prowl for our blood, in some cases they are the hunted instead of the hunter.

http://www.mosquitosquad.com/

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Dread says hello to Spring

Hey there little boys and girls. I’m Dread Skeeter and I am excited about all the fun things that Spring brings. All the beautiful flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing. The warm weather and beautiful skies are great for an afternoon playing at the park with your buddies, or maybe even flying a kite. Everywhere you look Spring brings us a new outdoor adventure. Who doesn’t like to have a cookout with hot dogs and hamburgers and a game of hide and seek?

No Mosquitoes

No Mosquitoes

Remember kids, the mosquitoes like the warm spring weather just as much as you do. Make sure your parents keep you safe and bite free this season by making sure you play it safe when it comes to mosquitoes. Make sure to wear the right kind of clothes for your outdoor fun and ask Mom and Dad give Mosquito Squad a call to help them keep you skeeter free this Spring..

Ask your Parents to go to http://www.mosquitosquad.com/AboutUs.html and print off our cool Dread Skeeter coloring pages to color. Once you play it safe and you’re mosquito free you can do like Dread Skeeter and tell those mosquitoes….”bite me”.

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