Archive for category Mosquito Bites

Is your Natural Scent Repelling Mosquitoes

mosquito_bitePersonally, I’m one of the unlucky people that mosquitoes LOVE. If I stop on a walk with my dog, I’m sure to get a few mosquito bites that turn into large welts. One of my best friends, however, barely ever gets mosquito bites. While I am jealous, microbial ecologist Rob Knight explains that it isn’t all that surprising.

Sorry to all you germ-aphobes out there, but even if you shower three times a day, you still have billions of microbes that live on your skin. The diversity of microbes can vary vastly from human to human. These microbes produce chemicals and scents that may attract mosquitoes.

Forty-eight males volunteered to illustrate how different skin microbes can be more or less attractive to mosquitoes. They were asked not to shower for two days and to refrain from certain types of food and beverages like alcohol, garlic, etc. To increase the number of microbes to be tested, the men had to wear socks for 24 hours.

The researchers then rubbed glass beads on the bottom of the men’s feet to grab samples of the skin for testing. Mosquitoes were then introduced to the beads as mosquito bait. Some beads were placed in the highly attractive category while others were poorly attractive. The highly attractive beads were more likely to have a high concentration of certain microbes, while the poorly attractive group have a diverse population of microbes.

Based on these tests, “researchers say that it’s possible that some people’s smell acts as a natural deterrent” (Source) to mosquitoes.

Unfortunately, we don’t have control over the microorganisms on our skin and the scent they produce. To ensure mosquitoes stay away, you have to protect yourself. On your property, mosquito protection doesn’t mean you have to burn candles or spray your skin. Professional mosquito control treats the foliage on your property to eliminate mosquitoes on contact and provide continuous control for up to 21 days, but how does it work? Mosquitoes feed primarily on plants. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray leaves a residue on the plants that the pest will ingest when it feeds, eliminating them.

If you have questions on mosquito control in your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Mosquitoes top the list of most worrisome pest

At Mosquito Squad, we pride ourselves on ridding our clients’ properties of mosquitoes and ticks so they can enjoy the outdoors without space. Mosquitoes, as we know, are not only annoying, but dangerous and a new survey done by The National Pest Management Association is showing just how worrisome they are.

In the study conducted by Harris Interactive, American’s were asked what pests worry them the most in the summer, including mosquitoes, ticks, stinging instead (like hornets and bees), spiders and bed bugs. 62% said they were concerned with mosquitoes, followed by 38% worried about stinging insects and 30% concerned about ticks.

Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, doesn’t seem to be too surprised by the findings: “It’s no wonder mosquitoes are of most concern for the public, considering last year was one of the deadliest West Nile virus seasons on record, with 286 fatal cases reported to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.” Source.

54% of respondents said that they are concerned about contracting disease from summer pests, follow by 43% worried about pain associated with a sting and 35% concerned about a pest infestation in their home.

Henriksen explains that the risks associated with summer pests are still a concern; “mosquitoes and stinging insects are very active up until the late fall, around October. It’s important for people to take proper precautions when spending time outdoors, especially amid concerns over [West Nile virus] and reports of increased cases of Lyme disease.”

Depending on the area of the country, our Mosquito Squad locations are providing tick and mosquito control applications through the end of October, beginning of November. As long as our clients are being bothered by mosquitoes, we will be there to help get rid of them.

The key to protecting yourself against vector-borne diseases is to protect yourself from the pests that transmit them. Getting rid of standing water on your property, for example, is a great way to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. Mosquitoes, in general, don’t venture far from where they first hatched.

The survey also showed that women were more concerned about pests during the summer months. 87% of women noted that they were concerned about pests, while 82% of them stated their concerns.

Americans with children are more concerned about summer pests than those without at 90% and 82% respectively.

If you are like the majority of people out there that are concerned with mosquitoes and ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office. We will work with your to find a tick and mosquito control option that will work for you.

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West Nile Virus, what to expect

Media from up and down the east coast and Midwest are reporting the presence of West Nile in mosquitoes and humans. As a result of last year’s record numbers, many municipalities raised their testing and mosquito spraying budgets to help combat the mosquito-borne disease, but what can we expect in the coming weeks?

Mosquitoes are out in full force right now. Many areas of the country had periods of heavy rainfall followed by hot weather, the perfect combination for mosquitoes. States like Georgia are reporting a higher number of mosquitoes this year as compared to last year.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, but the victim may not display symptoms for a few weeks after the bite. Typically August is the worst month for West Nile Virus reports. Many of victims probably got the virus in July or even earlier. As more and more cities and towns, from Louisiana to Wisconsin to Massachusetts, report their first human West Nile case of 2013, the numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Eighty percent of people with West Nile virus will never display symptoms, known as a subclinical case. When symptoms do show, they are flulike, including fever, headaches, aches, nausea, etc. We are often asked what the difference between West Nile Virus and West Nile Fever. West Nile Fever is when patients start to display symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or medications to specifically treat or protect against West Nile, instead, the symptoms themselves are treated.

2It is believed that mosquitoes get the West Nile Virus from infected birds that they bite and then pass it along to other animals they get blood meals from. While mammals and reptiles are known to carry the disease, not all have reactions like humans.

The best way to protect against West Nile is to protect against mosquito bites and in a year that the population in many areas is on the rise, that can be difficult. There are things you can do on and off your property to decrease the chance for mosquitoes to bite you.

The first thing to do on your property is to get rid of any standing water. Mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs in as little water as a bottle cap, so imagine what they can do in a kiddie pool! Keep kids toys and dog dishes flipped over when they aren’t being used and pay attention to water that is pooling in different areas (like piles of leaves or tarps that aren’t pulled tightly). Getting rid of all the water can be extremely difficult, so consider having professional mosquito control. Mosquito Squad treats its clients’ properties every two to three weeks (depending on package and product) and rids the yard of 85 to 90% of mosquitoes.

Even if you have your yard treated, there will be times when you are off your property and you need to be protected then too. Try to stay inside when mosquitoes are known to be their most active (dawn and dusk). Wearing loose pants and long sleeved shirts make it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite you and you can use a topical mosquito repellent if you need to cover exposed skin.

For questions on professional tick and mosquito control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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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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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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Asian Tiger Mosquito is Nothing Compared to the Mega – Mosquito

The Asian tiger mosquito population has been growing of the last few years. The black and white stripes on their body and legs are easily recognizable. As the Asian tiger mosquito continues to bite people as they enjoy they outdoor living spaces a new mosquito is coming to Florida: the mega-mosquito (yes, I’m serious)!

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Imagine this Asian tiger mosquito, except 20 times larger and you have the mega-mosquito!

As the name suggests, the mega-mosquito is a much larger mosquito specie, up to 20 times larger than the Asian tiger mosquito!  They have the same black and white stripes as the Asian tiger mosquito, but are known to be much more aggressive and the bites hurt! As Entomologist Paul Kaufman explains, the mega-mosquito isn’t new to the United States, “When you read historical accounts of the first European settlers in the Southeast and they talked about gigantic mosquitoes, this was the one they were talking about.” Source.

Researchers believe that the 2012 hurricanes brought hundreds of mega-mosquitoes to Florida. The storms, along with bringing the mosquitoes, created the perfect breeding ground with tons of water. While the ground has dried up in some areas, as soon as it becomes saturated again the eggs will start maturing again. “’Because of the events last year, and the eggs laid, we can expect large numbers of these mosquitoes again,’ Entomologist Phil Kaufman said.” Source.

While Kaufman suggests people cover their bodies with long shirts and pants, it may not be enough to combat the mega-mosquito’s aggression. It can bite through shirts and its bite will hurt much more than the normal mosquito species due to its size.

The Asian tiger mosquito, as well as the most common Aedes aegypti, breed in any standing water and are found in both suburban and urban areas. The mega-mosquito, in comparison, has only been observed near floodwater. Both species are most active at dawn and dusk and only the females will seek a blood meal to aid in reproduction, but the mega-mosquito are not known to transmit vector-borne diseases.

What I find most alarming about the mega-mosquito, or Gallinipper as they are called, is that common mosquito repellants may not be effective in fighting them. The bodies are so much larger than the species that normal repellants protect against that there isn’t enough of the active ingredients in it to kill the mega-mosquito. Professional mosquito control, as opposed to mosquito spray bought at the grocery store, should be effective in controlling the mega-mosquito population. The amount of active ingredients is higher and works differently than what is applied to the body. We at Mosquito Squad urge homeowners to seek an outdoor pest control company to protect their yard if they see mega-mosquitoes in the area.

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