Posts Tagged Dread Skeeter

Lyme Disease Awareness Month is in Full Swing

May not only brings spring flowers, but also Lyme Disease Awareness Month, a month that is near and dear to Dread Skeeter and the rest of the Mosquito Squad team.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracksLyme disease is an illness that affects a large portion of the east coast. Take the quiz below to test your knowledge of Lyme disease (the answers are the bottom of the post).

1)      What is Lyme disease?

  1. A disease that can affect the heart
  2. A topical rash that appears on the body
  3. A disease that can affect the body’s neurological functions
  4. A flu-like virus that can cause fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and join aches as well as swollen lymph nodes.
  5. All of the above

2)      How is Lyme disease contracted?

  1. By drinking contaminated water
  2. Via improperly cooked food
  3. Through spiders carrying the disease
  4. Via the bite of an infected tick
  5. Via the saliva of an infected dog

3)      In what parts of the country is Lyme disease most prevalent?

  1. East Coast
  2. Midwest
  3. Northeast
  4. South
  5. Southeast
  6. Southwest
  7. West Coast

4)      Approximately how many Americans have been diagnosed with Lyme disease since the CDC because tracking cases in 2002?

  1. 100,000
  2. 275,000
  3. 535,000
  4. 746,000

5)      How can homeowners reduce exposure to Lyme disease?

  1. Utilize plants and shrubs that don’t attract deer
  2. Keep tall grasses away from the home entrance and edges of the lawn
  3. Create a barrier between wooded areas and entertainment/play areas
  4. Keep the yard clean and free of debris
  5. Perform a daily tick check
  6. Treat with a barrier spray
  7. All of the above

6)      Which of the following notable Americans has been treated for Lyme disease?

  1. George W. Bush
  2. Lady Gaga
  3. Tiger Woods
  4. Hilary Clinton
  5. Rosie O’Donnell

7)      In what season is one more likely to contract Lyme disease?

  1. Spring
  2. Summer
  3. Winter
  4. Fall
  5. all

Answers:             1-5, all of the above

2- 4, via the bite of an infected tick

3 – 2 & 3 Midwest and Northeast

4 – 2, more than 275,000 Americans have been diagnosed with the disease since 2002

5 –  7, all of the above

6 – 1, George W. Bush (treated in 2006)

7 – 1 & 2, infected ticks can bite at any time, but late spring and early summer is considered the most likely time to contract the disease

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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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Scientists Study Sterile Mosquitoes to Fight Disease

We all know that mosquitoes are annoying. They bite for just a few seconds and we may itch for days. Not only are they irritating, but they can also be dangerous. Mosquitoes can carry many diseases, including Malaria, West Nile, and Dengue Fever and transmit them through bites. With insect-borne diseases on the rise around the world, scientists are looking for ways to decrease the number of bugs carrying the illnesses. I found a Wellcome Trust article on a unique method.

Scientists at Oxford based company Oxitect Ltd. are now sterilizing mosquitoes:

“These mosquitoes, which do not bite or spread disease, are then released to mate with wild females. No viable offspring can result from these matings and as a result, the mosquito population is reduced below the threshold level that is required to transmit the disease.” – Click here to see the entire article.

As odd as this first sounded to me, the potential is huge. If scientists could sterilize enough mosquitoes to release in largely impacted areas, it could help a ton of people. Until that day occurs though, I’m going to depend on good ole Dread Skeeter to protect me and my family.

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