Archive for category Mosquitoes In the News

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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Mosquito Experiment to End Dengue Fever

Key West, the most southern tip of the continental U.S., is one step closer to experimenting with genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever. And some residents and tourists don’t like it.

Dengue fever is a disease transmitted by the mosquito specie Aedes aegypti and is more common in tropical locations. Victims of the disease, also known as breakbone fever, display symptoms such as fever, headache, rashes and severe muscle and joint pain. It was thought to be eradicated in the Keys until 93 new cases emerged in 2009 and 2010 (source).

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

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

As a result of the influx of new dengue cases, mosquito control officials along with Oxitec, a British company, have filed a trial with the FDA to hopefully help with the problem. In the experiment, genetically modified male Aedes aegypti would be released in Key West to mate with females. The resulting eggs, however, would be unable to reach maturity due to a birth defect the male would pass on. They hope that after a few generations the mosquito specie would die off and eradicate the risk of dengue fever.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have not only caused illness in Key West, but they are also a huge cost. They are a strong mosquito specie that is harder to kill with pesticides. Instead, Key West inspectors go door-to-door getting rid of standing water where they are known to breed. This process is both time-consuming and expensive, costing the district $1 million a year. “’Unfortunately, control of Aedes aegypti is a never-ending job,’ said Larry Hriber, the mosquito control district’s research director.” Source.

Key West residents and tourists alike are against the use of genetically modified mosquitoes. They worry that there hasn’t been enough background research done and that the modified material may somehow be passed on to humans or the ecosystem. One local real estate agent, Mila de Mier, posted a petition on change.org to fight the test and has received more than 115,000 signatures. “We are dependent here on our tourists, and people from all over the country have been sending the message,” says de Mier (source).

It may be years before the FDA rules on the whether or not Key West will be able to deploy the mosquito control test. At Mosquito Squad, we use effective mosquito control solutions to protect our clients against the annoyance of mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they may carry. If you have questions about how to protect your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Recent discoveries provide proof that man has been battling against the bite for thousands of years

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Yes, research now proves the stereotypical caveman was knowledgeable in mosquito control

When we think of things that come under the category of “pre-historic” our minds automatically gravitate towards fur loin cloths, wooden clubs and dinosaurs. However, did you know that mosquitoes have been around for over 170 million years and survived the ice age even when the dinosaurs did not? This proves that the pesky, blood sucking insects we continuously wage war upon were even a constant thorn in the sides of the cave men. Recent findings show that early man was even using primitive methods of plant-based  mosquito control remedies nearly 77,000 years ago to control their wrath.

Scientists have recently discovered evidence of bedding that was constructed from plant stems and leaves which contained a natural plant derived insecticide. This bedding would have served as much for mosquito control as for comfort at the time. The bedding was discovered in a rock shelter in Sibudu South Africa and is believed to be left by our early ancestors who slept in the shelter from 38,000 to 77,000 years ago.

Mosquito

This resilient creature survived the ice age

The use of these plants and leaves prove that the cavemen had knowledge of the specific insecticidal and medicinal uses of the plants within the world around them. Analysis of the bedding also concluded it was refurbished with the insecticidal plants and leaves on more than one occasion proving again, that the inhabitants of the Sibudu site were well aware of the properties and attributes of the plants and leaves they were choosing to “feather their beds” with at the time.  Researchers also learned from excavation of the sight that the cavemen burnt spent and used bedding in a way to possibly further mosquito control efforts within their living space and to maintain an insect free space for further occupation. This discovery is 50,000 years older than the most ancient preserved bedding we have found in the past.

Now, when you think of our earliest ancestors keep in mind the intelligence and ingenuity that may have kept them mosquito free amid a world of insect frenzy, without the conveniences we know and are accustomed to today. This is truly a miraculous discovery indeed. Our advanced technology in the world of mosquito control all lead back to early man and his battle against the bite, which research can prove has been going on for thousands of years.

No Mosquitoes

No Mosquitoes

When it comes time to enjoy those outdoor activities that we all look forward to over the winter months, contact Mosquito Squad to ensure you and your family stay mosquito free this season. Our methods are proven safe and highly effective in the ongoing battle we wage on the dreaded mosquito- and with Mosquito Squad you will come out the winner every time.

To locate the Mosquito Squad closest to your cave, visit our locations list available on our website.

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The vicious cycle of West Nile Virus from the beginning to the end

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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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The Culiseta melanura mosquito is putting the elderly at risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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Learn the 5 "T's" in mosquito prevention and tell those mosquitoes "bite me"

Most people think that EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, is a disease that only strikes equine such as horses, ponies, mules and donkeys. Though in most cases humans are not at as great a risk of contracting EEE, those with compromised immune systems and health problems, especially among the elderly, are at a higher risk of contracting the illness. EEE is characterized by causing swelling of the brain, although some who  become infected will be asymptomatic. Those older individuals that become infected with the virus are more vulnerable to experiencing the more severe side of EEE than most. Early symptoms of EEE  are headache, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, cyanosis, convulsions and coma.

What is EEE?

EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a virus that is spread through the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. The virus is maintained between a cycle of the mosquito and a bird, and some cases is passed onto what is called a dead-end host such as an equine or a human. Dead end hosts mean that the virus can not be passed any further once it has reached this host.  Although many mosquito species are known vectors of the virus the Culiseta melanura mosquito has raised the alarm among states with high reports of EEE, especially among elderly residents and those that are immune compromised. Approximately one-third of all human EEE infections prove fatal.

culista melanura

Culiseta melanura

Who is the Culiseta melanura mosquito?

This mosquito can be found from Canada all the way into Florida and is unique in the way in which it is able to reproduce. Culiseta melanura are cold adapted and  have the ability to over-winter their larva until the warm temperatures of spring cause them to awake and begin their vicious cycle of feeding and spreading disease. This mosquito lays its eggs in stagnated pools and wherever water accumulates in quantities of 30 to 300 eggs at one time. This mosquito can reside in a variety of places from old tires, rotting trees to wetlands. Just like other mosquito species the male primarily feeds off nectar, and the female’s feed off blood from unwitting hosts.

Mosquito_Squad_spraying_your_yard

Mosquito Squad spraying your yard to guard against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses.

What can I do  to prevent getting EEE?

The most important way to avoid possible infection is to make sure you don’t get bitten, because the mosquito that bites you could possibly be carrying EEE. Avoid potential mosquito infested areas, make sure to inspect your yard and areas around you home on a regular basis to keep standing water from becoming a nursery for mosquitoes. This particular species of mosquito loves moist areas.  Mosquito Squad has developed a helpful way to keep your property safe from mosquitoes by using a system called the 5 T’s of mosquito control. These helpful hints will keep standing water and areas that are prone to accumulated moisture to a minimum, when inspecting your property don’t overlook areas like gutters, and the crevices in outdoor furniture for they make perfect breeding grounds  for mosquitoes if filled with debris or moisture. You can learn more about the 5 T’s and other helpful hints by visiting http://mosquito-control-blog.com/2011/06/13/the-five-ts-in-mosquito-prevention/

The 5 T’s of mosquito control are:

  • Tip
  • Top
  • Turn over
  • Tarps ( remove)
  • Toss

If you are unable to thoroughly inspect your property yourself, then ask a loved one or friend to check the areas surrounding your home for you.

No Mosquitoes

No Mosquitoes

Another way to aid in protecting yourself is to have your yard treated by a licensed professional to kill and prevent mosquitoes that may possibly be lurking. Mosquito Squad offers a full-service mosquito control program from automatic mosquito misting systems to our safe and effective barrier sprays, both of which protect you and your family all season long from the Culiseta melanura and other species of mosquitoes as well.

Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more 877-667-7823  http://www.mosquitosquad.com/

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Irene’s next punch will be mosquitoes breeding rapidly. Read more.

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

Most of the areas ravaged by  hurricane Irene are sunny and clear today with only the damage and aftermath leaving residents all the way up the East Coast left to pick up the pieces. This recent hurricane ravaged areas of the U.S. from North Carolina, traveling as far up the coast as New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. At the height of the hurricane’s fevered pitch it reached category 3 status leaving damage, flooding and swollen lakes and rivers in its wake. The Atlantic hurricane season,  according to the Hurricane Research Division of the U.S.  Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  runs from June 1st to November 30th each year. Hurricanes such as Irene that actually touch down in populated areas actually cause more danger than just that of damage to homes and businesses. With any hurricane of this magnitude areas affected will experience a tremendous amount of rain, which leads to flooding, and mass amounts of water left standing. This standing water left behind by the rains from Hurricane Irene, plus the fact that we are in the height of mosquito season all add up to a terrible recipe.

The waters left behind, including riverbeds, swollen creeks, road ditches, water filled remnants of storm debris, and damaged building materials can all become a perfect refuge for mosquitoes to populate. Mosquitoes can lay hundreds of eggs in tiny vessels and containers, soda bottle tops for example can contain hundreds of mosquito eggs. When you put this into the perspective of damage and debris left behind on the scale of a hurricane, this can mean big trouble for residents of areas hardest hit by Irene. Mosquito Squad asks homeowners to act now in preventing the inevitable scourge of mosquitoes from affecting your property and thus putting you and your family at risk for mosquito-borne illness and diseases such as West Nile Virus, encephalitis and meningitis.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene might only be the first major storm since hurricane season is in full swing. The National Weather Service is carefully watching tropical storm Katia at this very moment and is likely to become a hurricane sometime tonight.

South Florida Wary As Hurricane Irene Churns Towards U.S.

South Florida Wary As Hurricane Irene Churns Towards U.S.

In a recent story covered by CNN Money , Micheal Ritchie, owner of Mosquito Squad of the Crystal Coast headquartered in Swansboro, N.C. says he is expecting a spike in business due to Hurricane Irene. You can read the full article by going here http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/29/smallbusiness/hurricane_irene_small_business_recovery/index.htm.

The threat doesn’t end here, residents all along the East Coast should take preventative measures to make sure mosquitoes don’t take over their property.  The first step is getting any debris cleaned that may fall prey to breeding mosquitoes, this could be fallen trees, strewn shingles, and trash, just to name a few. Ensuring all areas of you home, even if they are damaged are boarded up, secured  or repaired  as soon as feasible to keep mosquitoes from entering the home. Have your property treated by a licensed professional to kill the mosquitoes which are present and prevents and controls any further infestation.

Mosquito Squad is Americas most trusted mosquito and tick control and prevention company. Chances are there is a Mosquito Squad franchise in your town. Our safe and effective barrier sprays kills mosquitoes and prevent further infestation for up to 21 days. We also offer other mosquito and tick control programs to help you win the fight against mosquitoes. Even amongst the fury of mother nature’s wrath Mosquito Squad can offer you safety from dangerous mosquitoes, as well as peach of mind.

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead Mosquito Squad is America's leading mosquito control company and offers safe and effective solutions for your mosquito problems. From just wanting a mosquito-free backyard for your family to enjoy and not worry about mosquitoes to protecting your yard from the onslaught of a mosquito population as a result of a hurricane. Our mosquito Barrier sprays are safe and effective, and each spray has a residual of up to 21 days. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more about this and all the other mosquito and tick control programs we offer. Even in times of mother natures fury, Mosquito Squad can give you a little peace of mind.

Contact Mosquito Squad today to get your property in check for the wet weather that hurricane season can bring. 877-677-7823 or email us at  info@mosquitosquad.com

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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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