Posts Tagged effective mosquito control

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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Hurricanes and Mosquitoes

This week, our thoughts and prayers are with those that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Mosquitoes, like this poor guy, can’t sustain freezing temperatures

With the amount of rain that the storm dropped on a large part of the country, we have been receiving questions regarding hurricanes and if they can result in more mosquitoes. In general, more water means more mosquitoes, but November’s normal temperatures aren’t conducive to mosquito reproduction. While there are some areas that may be somewhat impacted, Sandy shouldn’t result in an influx of mosquitoes in the Northeast.

Temperature plays a big factor in mosquito reproduction. While mosquitoes can breed in cooler temperatures, their magic weather forecast is 80 degrees with 80% humidity. Fewer will breed when it is cooler outside, and when the temperatures are 60% or less for an extended period of time, mosquitoes don’t typically breed.

Much like they force me to sit in front of the fire with a cup of hot cocoa, freezing temperatures result in fewer mosquitoes.

Right now, some mosquitoes may lay eggs in the flooded areas of the country, and just because the water may leave, doesn’t mean the eggs will. Mosquito eggs are resilient. While eggs that are laid in water may hatch in a few days, eggs can lay dormant for years in soil or if frozen. When the temperatures rise again and the soil is flooded, those eggs will hatch just as those laid in the summer do.

While we don’t believe Hurricane Sandy will result in a spike of mosquitoes next year, it doesn’t hurt to get rid of the standing water on your property if you can. Tip or Turnover items that may be holding water like birdbaths, dog dishes, etc., toss out lawn debris like leaves that can hold keep a small amount or water, and tighten tarps so they don’t pool.

If you have any issues with an increase of mosquitoes, contact your local Mosquito Squad for an effective mosquito control treatment.

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Massachusetts Cities Cancel Outdoor Activities

2012 has been a record year for vector-borne diseases and now parts of Massachusetts have put a ban on all public organized events, including sporting events.

Outdoor activities like sporting events have been cancelled into parts of Massachusetts due to mosquitoes and the diseases they can transmit.

A Massachusetts man died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in early September this year which led to the state’s Department of Public Health to raise the threat level to moderate. The threat was raised yet again, this time to critical, this week when a horse tested positive for EEE. The cities of Hamilton and Wenham called emergency meetings for their boards of health where the bans were then put in place.

“Hamilton is at the highest risk for EEE. We’re just being really clear that it’s a really dangerous activity to be hanging around outside,” said Leslie Whelan, a health agent in Hamilton. “People are going to make their own decisions, but by using this language that we’ve chose (banning all activities), we’re underscoring the importance of avoiding mosquito bites.” Source.

The high threat of EEE will be in place until the season’s first frost lasting more than four hours.

Fall, for me, is a great time of year to go outside and enjoy the cooler weather. Walks, hikes, festivals, soccer and football games, you name it and I’m there when the weather is nice, but some of these activities can’t happen this year. Due to the EEE threat, one Wenham college had to reschedule soccer games to a time when mosquitoes are less active. It’s unfortunate to see that cities have had to place bans on some of the year’s best activities, but it’s their job to make sure that people are as safe as possible.

From temperature and water to foliage and mosquito population, all mosquito control cases are different. At Mosquito Squad, we offer effective mosquito control for municipalities as well as residential properties every day. By minimizing and treating standing water where mosquitoes are known to breed and then applying a mosquito elimination solution to the surrounding foliage, we eliminate up to 90% of mosquitoes in a given area.

If you have questions regarding mosquito control, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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