Posts Tagged mosquito bite

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

dinosaurs-caveman-clubc-rag-prehistoric-wild-human

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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Mosquito breeding season maybe over, but West Nile Virus is still a reality for many states in the US

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

It is the time of year when most people think that mosquitoes are a distant memory of summer past. West Nile Virus as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses and diseases don’t rear their ugly heads until the latter part of the mosquito season. The duration of the mosquito season varies from  state to state, but typically mosquitoes are active from April until October. As 2011 draws closer to an end the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released it’s findings for West Nile Virus for the present year-to-date  on November 29th, 2011.

The findings show that for 2011, there have been a total number of 658 reported cases of West Nile Virus in the United States so far. This number reflects both neuroinvasive as well as non-neuroinvasive cases reported. Out of the 658 reported cases of West Nile Virus, 452 of those cases were diagnosed as neuroinvasive.  Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus means that the disease affects the nervous system. This can include encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain and meningitis which is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can also lead to acute flaccid paralysis which is an inflammation of the spinal cord. Non-neuroinvasive cases reflect those patients that display less acute signs of West Nile Virus.  In many instances the true number of those affected by non-neuroinvasive aspects of the disease can differ greatly from the actual number of reported non-neuroinvasive cases because a great deal of those infected do not seek medical attention when the disease is mild. In some of the mildest cases the patient many times does not even know they are infected. All of these numbers reflect both mild and severe cases confirmed as well as probable human disease cases occurring between January 1st, to November 29th, 2011.

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Some of the states that show the highest level of reported cases include California with 151 confirmed West Nile cases and 8 deaths as a result of the disease. Next in line are Arizona with 58 confirmed cases, Mississippi with 51, New York with 43 and Illinois and Michigan tie with 33 confirmed cases. Nationwide the total number of deaths attributed to the disease totals 40.  Only five states show non-human activity and those are Washington, Maine, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina.  There is only one state which has reported no West Nile Virus activity  either human or non-human for the year so far, and that is Maine.

This very important data  reminds us of the importance of reporting any symptoms of the disease early. The CDC’s  data also includes non-human infections and deaths reported by way of birds and other animals. If a high number of dead birds are reported in a specific geographical region it alerts the CDC and local health departments in that area to be on the alert for human cases that may present themselves.

Mosquito

The mosquito is responsible for this years current West Nile numbers

In all our efforts to prevent and control mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness, including nationwide, statewide and down to our own backyards we all hope each year that the impact of West Nile is less. These finding remind us that before we know long mosquitoes will begin breeding again and now is the time to plan for the upcoming season. The winter months give us a great opportunity to inspect our own surroundings and devise a mosquito control plan for the upcoming season to keep our families safe from mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile. Take time to inspect your property for areas that are prone to hold water such as lawn and patio furniture, children’s play areas, bird baths, planters left from spring blooms and even gutters to ensure they are free of debris. Check any screened areas or windows for damage or tears and have them repaired before spring arrives. Getting your property in tip-top shape before the arrival of the mosquito season will start a good habit and help keep you safe and bite free. Hiring a professional mosquito control company to ensure you are on schedule prior to the invasion of mosquitoes in April is also a great way to keep mosquitoes and the diseases they harbor out of your property and out of your life.

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Mosquito Squad has a safe and effective way to keep mosquitoes and the risk of mosquito-borne illness out of your property. Our mosquito programs will begin at the dawn of the 2012 mosquito season. We offer a worry free mosquito control program that entails Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray service scheduled at regular intervals to kill and prevent mosquitoes all season long. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more. You can contact a Mosquito Squad location close to home by visiting our website at http://www.mosquitosquad.com/ContactUs.html

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Reports show a malaria vaccine is currently in the works to wipe out this killer forever and offer hope to millions.

malaria_parasites and red blood cells

Malaria parasites and red blood cells

Malaria is a disease that most widely affects residents of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Approximately 1,500 cases of Malaria are diagnosed each year here in the US, most of which are among those who travel to these locations or those returning from countries where Malaria transmission occurs. In most cases those travelers return home unaware that they are harboring Malaria until the symptoms start to appear.

Malaria is spread through the bite of a mosquito that is carrying  the parasite Plasmodium falciparum which causes. Up until recently, efforts to develop a vaccine against Malaria have been fruitless due to the inability to prevent the parasite from entering the red blood cells. Findings recently published in Nature reveal that a single receptor that allows for the parasite to enter and infect the human body has now been identified. These findings could put an end to Malaria pills, insect repellents and bed nets for residents of Malaria ridden areas for good.

Zambia4.large insecticde treated bed nets arrive to much anticipation in Zambia

Insecticide treated bed nets arrive to much anticipation in Zambia to aid in the fight against Malaria

The vaccine singles out the receptor that is responsible for the Malaria parasites to invade the human body. The vaccine will change entire cultures and ways of life in areas where Malaria is responsible for millions of deaths. These areas include sub-Saharan Africa where in 2008 and estimated 83,000 people, most of which were young children, died from the disease.

Mosquito Squad is a proud supporter of Malaria no More which promotes expanded knowledge and prevention of the disease through education and access to tools needed to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.  Mosquito Squad is also excited about the anticipated development of this malaria vaccine that is scheduled to be ready in approximately two years.

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad helping Malaria No More

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad helping Malaria No More

Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more about the Malaria No More program we support and to find out about safe and effective mosquito and tick control in your environment as well. To find a Mosquito Squad location close to home visit our locations list located on our website.

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The writing spider is busy writing mosquitoes out of the picture.

Argiope spider that eats mosquitoes

The black and yellow Argiope, also known as a writing spider, feeds off insects such as mosquitoes, aphids and flies.

This past week, my daughter and I were out on the back porch planting the usual autumn perennials. It is always a special time when we do our “seasonal” planting together, we get to spend some quality time with one another and I have an opportunity to educate her on different species of flowers and plants, which is a tradition she will one day pass on to her daughter. We decided to plant huge yellow chrysanthemums in correlation with rust colored majestic pansies both of which are so lovely this time of year against the changing leaves within the landscape. As we were busy getting our hands dirty, my daughter pointed out a large spider web right off our back porch attached to the azaleas around it. The spider was in a circular shaped web and the spider residing there was quite large, and scary looking, but yet beautiful in its own way. I discouraged the thought of getting rid of the spider until I learned more about this mysterious beauty.  I was curious about the type of spider we have living in such close proximity to our home and decided to do a little research on the spider.

charlottesweb

Charlotte, the beloved spider from "Charlotte's Web" was possibly a Argiope spider as well.

My gut feeling was that the spider we found was a “writing” spider reminiscent of the mythical spider from my favorite childhood book by E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web”. My intuition served me well. My findings concluded that the spider we have residing within our azaleas is actually an  Argiope, or black and yellow garden spider, also known as a  corn spider, and referred to as a writing spider as well, just like Charlotte from my beloved childhood novel.

What I discovered is that our guest, the black and yellow Argiope,  is a common spider found among fields and gardens because they like to spin their orb shaped webs among bushes , tall plants and flowers. The female Argiope is a good bit larger than the male, and judging by the size of ours, she is obviously a female. The female spins a large web which spirals out from the center and can be as large as two feet across. The male spider will then spin a smaller web for himself on the outside of her web and is has a characteristic zig-zag pattern. We have not yet caught a glimpse of Mr. Argiope yet, but are hopeful to catch a candid soon.  The interesting thing about the Argiope is that  each evening the spiders will eat their web and build a new one.

Argiope spider web detail

This photo shows the Argiope's elaborate web.

The purpose of the web, like all spiders is to trap and digest prey such as insects which are the spider’s main food source. The web also serves as a nursery where the female will lay her eggs on one side of the web and cover them with a papery sac for protection until they hatch in the fall. Then the baby spiders will remain within the protective sac throughout the winter, and will leave when mother nature harkens the arrival of spring. A single egg sac can contain over one thousand eggs. The Argiope like almost all spiders  is not harmless to humans and rarely, if ever bites humans except in the rare instance as a defense mechanism if they are grabbed.

Mosquito

The Argiope spider considers the mosquito among its favorite snacks.

There is more to this stunning spider than meets the eye, the black and yellow Argiope eats mosquitoes among the many insects that get caught in its web, which cuts down on the amount of disease carrying mosquitoes that are thriving along the realm of my backyard. Suddenly this spider is beginning to become my friend. They also dine on aphids and flies as well, this spider is helping cut down on mosquito populations and helping to keep aphids off my rose bushes? Based on these findings, we have decided to let the black and yellow beauty make herself at home. We will not disturb her as she raises her young and has her gourmet dinners of my aphids, flies and mosquitoes and other garden pests. Bon appetit !

So, before you squash that spider that makes you squeamish, give some thought to the many ways it may be of great benefit to you and the world around you. Many of the world’s most scream inducing  insects and animals, like the spider and the bat,  benefit us from being natural predators of potentially dangerous insects such as mosquitoes, making them an effective weapon is the battle for mosquito control.  For every mosquito they dine upon is one less we have  to potentially put us at risk.

Visit our Mosquito Squad website to learn more about our safe and effective mosquito and tick control programs. Or, look at our location list for a mosquito and tick control location near you.

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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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West Nile Virus can turn into a dangerous neuroinvasive disease, with lasting effects.

Mosquito

This little mosquito is responsible for much disease and devastation worldwide than one could ever imagine.

The mosquito-borne illness West Nile virus is a serious concern again this summer all across the country. What you may not know is that according to the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) one out of 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of the disease. This includes development of West Nile Encephalitis, West Nile Meningitis and West Nile Fever.

West Nile Encephalitis and meningitis are closely related to St. Louis Encephalitis, which is also seen here in the US. West Nile Encephalitis is commonly seen in Western Asia, throughout the Middle East and in Africa. It can infect  mosquitoes, humans, horses, birds and other mammals. Scientists believe West Nile Virus which can lead to West Nile Encephalitis  has been in the US since approximately 1999.

West Nile Fever is an asymptomatic outcome to contracting West Nile Virus and can have symptoms that range from fever, chills, and sweats to a stiff neck, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. West Nile fever portrays symptoms that closely mimic those of the annual flu here within the US. For that very reason, many cases go unreported and misdiagnosed. Symptoms of West Nile fever usually resolve within 7-10 days ( much like the flu) but the fatigue and swollen lymph nodes can persist for up to two months.

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

The more serious  neuroinvasive diseases , like West Nile Encephalitis and Meningitis,  can attack the nervous system of those infected.  The typical incubation period of West Nile Virus is usually between 2 to 15 days. In cases where West Nile turns into a neuroinvasive disease such as West Nile Encephalitis or West Nile Meningitis symptoms can last for months and leave  permanent neurological damage.

Encephalides , such as West Nile Encephalitis cause an inflammation of the brain. Meningitis affects the membrane surrounding the brain as well as the spinal cord by causing both to swell. These two diseases can be life threatening in the elderly and those with compromised systems. Symptoms of West Nile Encephalitis and West Nile Meningitis include a high fever, severe headache, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and even coma. An individual that displays any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Mosquito_Squad_spraying_your_yard

Mosquito Squad spraying your yard to guard against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile.

Although there is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile Virus, precautions can be taken to minimize your risk of contracting West Nile or one of the neuroinvasive counterparts of the illness. The first and foremost step is protecting yourself from the source of the illness- the mosquito. Complete avoidance of areas where mosquitoes could be present is not realistic, but keeping the area you spend the most time in and around, which is usually your home and yard mosquito-free is within the grasp of reality. Taking control of your own property is by far the best defense against being bitten by a potential disease carrying mosquito. Keeping your property in your control, and not letting mosquitoes get the upper hand is easier than you may think.

The first weapon in taking control of your yard is to eliminate all areas where mosquitoes can breed and flourish, this includes any open containers which can harbor moisture, cleaning up debris piles, keeping your gutters clean and free of debris and keeping your lawn cut and trimmed. If your home contains screened areas, whether it is a porch or windows, regular inspections to make sure there are no rips, tears or separated screens is vital to ensure mosquitoes do not enter your living areas. Having your property treated by a licensed professional is also an important step to maintain a mosquito free residence and property.

Mosquito Squad keeps you and your family mosquito free

Mosquito Squad keeps you and your family mosquito free

Mosquito Squad can also help you take control of your property by the convenience of their season-long mosquito control. We can apply our safe and effective barrier sprays to kill and prevent mosquitoes from entering the treated premises at regular scheduled intervals throughout the mosquito season. These scheduled sprayings ensure you are receiving the utmost mosquito control available. Mosquito Squad also offers an automatic mosquito misting system that is installed on your property and emits timed sprayings throughout the day. You can contact Mosquito Squad to learn more about their worry free and convenient mosquito preventives and deterrents  which ensure your safety and give you peace of mind.

Contact Mosquito Squad at 804.353.6999 • info@mosquitosquad.com and put an end to the battle each summer against mosquitoes, ticks and the diseases they carry.

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City dwellers feel the wrath of the Asian tiger mosquito.

summer camp memories

Do your summer camp memories include mosquitoes?

Where does your memory bank take you when you think of being bitten by a mosquito? Is is that summer you went to camp and brought home the knowledge of how to tie 5 different knots, and a body covered in itchy welts? Maybe, just maybe, it was last week’s backyard barbecue when your husband outdid himself with his BBQ chicken and the mosquitoes outdid themselves as well, running all your friends home early.

When most of think about the type of setting mosquitoes prefer we picture a backyard, or the woods. We rarely ever picture a metropolis sprawling with tall buildings and alive with honking taxis, but that is exactly where officials are reporting scourges of mosquitoes, and even worse, the dreaded Asian tiger mosquito is taking up residence. It is like reading that cherished old children’s tale about the city mouse and the country mouse, the only difference is the mice are actually mosquitoes and this story is not bound for a happy ending.

On July 20th, 2011 The Wall Street Journal confirmed the presence of the Asian tiger mosquito in New York City. This mosquito loves urban areas. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is developing a cost-effective way to control these mosquitoes. The Asian tiger is showing up in urban areas such as NY city for the simple reason that urban areas stay 5-10 degrees warmer than rural areas. These mosquitoes love the heat and humidity, as they are daytime feeders as well as evening feeders, unlike other species of mosquitoes who only feed during the evening hours. The conditions are perfect for Asian tiger mosquitoes to hang out longer, and with the nationwide heat wave, we are seeing them earlier into the season as well.  The Wall Street Journal cites that the Asian tiger mosquitoes arrived three months earlier this year than they did last year, this year they made their appearance in June. To read the entire WSJ  article visit http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303795304576454312427933764.html

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Asian Tiger Mosquito

The Asian tiger mosquito is an invasive species with its roots traced back to Southeast Asia. It showed up in America in 1985  when it hitched a ride in a shipment of used  tires bound for the port of Houston, Texas. Since that fated shipment in 1985 the rest is history. These mosquitoes have spread like wildfire all the way up the East coast as far as Maine. The Asian tiger gets its name from its distinct black and white striped markings that mimic those of a tiger.

Not only do Asian tiger mosquitoes feed during the day, they are also aggressive feeders sometimes attacking their victim several times until they are satisfied. These mosquitoes also require very little water to lay their eggs in to multiply the species and thus, they multiply quickly and in large numbers. They can lay their eggs in the holes of a tree, wet leaves, ditches and very miniscule amounts of water to be efficient breeders. It is important to keep all containers turned over and thrown away to discourage infestations from beginning in your own backyard. These mosquitoes can lay hundreds of eggs in a container no larger that a soda bottle lid. Keeping your gutters clean and free of debris also a good way to discourage these pests from multiplying as well. Mosquito Squad outlines the important “5 T’s” to mosquito control in this informative piece http://mosquito-control-blog.com/2011/06/13/the-five-ts-in-mosquito-prevention/

Mosquito Squad keeps you and your family mosquito free

Mosquito Squad keeps you and your family mosquito free

Common sense precautions are key to preventing experiencing this mosquitoes wrath. Having a licensed professional treat your property is a great way to prevent mosquitoes from your living areas as well. Mosquito Squad has a proven, safe and effective barrier spray program that kills mosquitoes that are in your yard and prevents further infestation from the residual left from the spray. These sprays are scheduled in intervals throughout the mosquito season to give you season-long mosquito control. Mosquito Squad can also install a super effective mosquito misting system on your property that is highly effective in giving you continuous control. After all, out of sight and out of mind is the best solution to dealing with mosquitoes.

Contact Mosquito Squad today to learn more and put an end to the scourge of mosquitoes on your property. Contact us at 877-667-7823 or email us at info@mosquitosquad.com we can put an end to your mosquito ( and tick) woes.

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