Archive for category Mosquito Factoids

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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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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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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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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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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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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46 Million Year Old Mosquito Fossils Show Little Difference

For such small little things that easily are squash-able, mosquitoes are strong. They have managed to outlive the dinosaurs and come back year after year at full force. Unlike humans, mosquitoes seem to have evolved very little over the millions of years that they’ve been annoying their prey. New fossils from Montana support that theory.

Mosquitoes may be strong enough to evolve very little over millions of years, but they don't stand a chance against this guy.

Mosquitoes may be strong enough to evolve very little over millions of years, but they don’t stand a chance against this guy.

Dale Greenwalt and his team have been discovering and studying fossils found in northeastern Montana for years. They’ve unearthed approximately 20,000 insect fossils, including two new species of mosquitoes recently. The fossils were found in Eocene, or shale, deposits and are believed to be forty six million years old. To the average person, they look just like the bugs Mosquito Squad protects against today. “we can find morphological differences that distinguish specific species,” says Greenwalt, “but overall they are extremely similar.” Source.

The mosquito fossils are very well preserved. While many insect fossils are preserved in amber, these were embedded in rock. Looking at the pictures, seen here, it is just like looking at the common backyard mosquito. Scientists were able to study everything, including wing veins and organs go discern the new species: Culiseta kishenehn and Culiseta lemniscata. They explain that Montana’s subtropical or tropical climate forty six million years ago helped to preserve and protect the quality of the fossils.

We at mosquito squad are always interested in learning more about the bugs we help to fight, but our question is, could these buggers withstand Dread Skeeter and his mosquito control barrier spray?

We don’t think so.

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