Archive for category Mosquito predators

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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Happy Valentine’s Day from Dread Skeeter

Happy Valentine's Day from Dread

Dread Skeeter, the mosquito eliminator, wishes you a Happy Valentine's Day

Guest Blogger: Dread Skeeter, the mosquito eliminator

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the day of chocolates, flowers and hearts; the perfect day to tell those you care about that you love them. As I’m sure all of you know, I love kids and pets and do my best to protect them against annoying mosquitoes, ticks and the dangerous diseases they spread. Along with the rest of my Mosquito Squad, a number of people and animals help me on my quest to Fight the Bite. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to tell them I love them.

Bill Gates. I love you for donating $750 Million to help fighting malaria, a preventable and curable disease that kills a child every minute in Africa.

The Praying Mantis. You may be difficult for me to see in the wild, with all that green and all, but I love you for preying on mosquitoes that may come too near.

Dragonflies. One of your favorite meals is the mosquito during your short life and I love you for doing your part while you can.

Christine Rampone. I love the captain of the US Women’s Soccer not only for kicking butt on the field, but for being the newest face of Lyme disease. It just goes to show that Lyme disease doesn’t discriminate.

Bats. I love you for your massive eating skills, eating between 600 and 1,000 insects per hour! You greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes around to bite us people.

The tick eating Guinea-fowl

The tick eating Guinea-fowl

Mosquito Fish and Mosquito Crustaceans. You save us from ever seeing a number of mosquitoes as you prey on them in their larval phase before they hatch as adults. I love you for that.

Guinea Fowls. You’re weird looking birds, but I love you for the service you provide. Finding and eating ticks in the wild stops those buggers from spreading Lyme disease.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you.

Ugh, enough of that mushy stop, let’s go kill those pests!

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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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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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