Posts Tagged mosquito facts

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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How long can you expect mosquitoes this year?

I love fall. The changing of leaves, cooler weather, the pies! Last weekend, my husband, dog and I went for a long walk on a nice cool October morning. When we got back, we both had several mosquitoes bites that have been itching ever since. My husband asked me when the mosquitoes would be gone for the season, which I’m happy to share with all of you!

Mosquitoes are resilient little pests. You may have some cooler days in your area, but they won’t be gone for the season until the first good freeze followed by temperatures lower than 45 degrees. Until that happens, we should rely on mosquito control methods to protect us against the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes.

Many parts of the country will have an active mosquito population until late October with some areas having some mosquito activity all year round.

In the fall, after mating, the male mosquitoes die. Very few male mosquitoes live through the winter. The females, however, go dormant in hidden, protected places like hollow logs. In spring, when temperatures rise again, the female seeks its first blood meal of the season to develop her eggs.

Mosquito eggs are even more resilient than mosquitoes themselves. They can last for years without hatching. Standing water is the key component to mosquito reproduction, without it, eggs cannot develop and hatch. When the temperatures drop in the fall and winter, the eggs and larvae go into diapause. Diapause is a state of dormancy that renders the larvae immobile.

The mosquito larvae do not put themselves into diapause; instead the environmental conditions place it in diapause. When the conditions change, making them once again normal for survival, the larvae and eggs will then continue into their normal cycle of maturation.

Unfortunately, many parts of the country are looking at several more weeks of mosquitoes ruining your outdoor fun. At Mosquito Squad, our effective mosquito control kills between 85-90% of the mosquito population on a property. If you have question about our mosquito treatments, please contact your local Squad.

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West Nile Virus, what to expect

Media from up and down the east coast and Midwest are reporting the presence of West Nile in mosquitoes and humans. As a result of last year’s record numbers, many municipalities raised their testing and mosquito spraying budgets to help combat the mosquito-borne disease, but what can we expect in the coming weeks?

Mosquitoes are out in full force right now. Many areas of the country had periods of heavy rainfall followed by hot weather, the perfect combination for mosquitoes. States like Georgia are reporting a higher number of mosquitoes this year as compared to last year.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, but the victim may not display symptoms for a few weeks after the bite. Typically August is the worst month for West Nile Virus reports. Many of victims probably got the virus in July or even earlier. As more and more cities and towns, from Louisiana to Wisconsin to Massachusetts, report their first human West Nile case of 2013, the numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Eighty percent of people with West Nile virus will never display symptoms, known as a subclinical case. When symptoms do show, they are flulike, including fever, headaches, aches, nausea, etc. We are often asked what the difference between West Nile Virus and West Nile Fever. West Nile Fever is when patients start to display symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or medications to specifically treat or protect against West Nile, instead, the symptoms themselves are treated.

2It is believed that mosquitoes get the West Nile Virus from infected birds that they bite and then pass it along to other animals they get blood meals from. While mammals and reptiles are known to carry the disease, not all have reactions like humans.

The best way to protect against West Nile is to protect against mosquito bites and in a year that the population in many areas is on the rise, that can be difficult. There are things you can do on and off your property to decrease the chance for mosquitoes to bite you.

The first thing to do on your property is to get rid of any standing water. Mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs in as little water as a bottle cap, so imagine what they can do in a kiddie pool! Keep kids toys and dog dishes flipped over when they aren’t being used and pay attention to water that is pooling in different areas (like piles of leaves or tarps that aren’t pulled tightly). Getting rid of all the water can be extremely difficult, so consider having professional mosquito control. Mosquito Squad treats its clients’ properties every two to three weeks (depending on package and product) and rids the yard of 85 to 90% of mosquitoes.

Even if you have your yard treated, there will be times when you are off your property and you need to be protected then too. Try to stay inside when mosquitoes are known to be their most active (dawn and dusk). Wearing loose pants and long sleeved shirts make it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite you and you can use a topical mosquito repellent if you need to cover exposed skin.

For questions on professional tick and mosquito control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Is that Beer you are Drinking Attracting Mosquitoes?

Two things that make me think of summer are barbecues and, unfortunately, mosquitoes. One of my favorite drinks to enjoy during a barbecue on a hot day is an ice-cold brew. What can I say? It is refreshing. A new article from the Smithsonian, however, is saying that those beers are making drinkers more attractive to mosquitoes!

A Smithsonian blog posted recently describes many factors that may make you more attractive to mosquitoes.

mosquito-controlAccording to a 2002 study, just one bottle of your favorite beer may make you more attractive to mosquitoes. Researchers first thought the increase in mosquito attraction was due to higher sweat levels and skin temperature after consuming alcohol, but found that wasn’t the case. It looks like mosquitoes just want a sip of that refreshing drink too!

Pregnant women beware, you are more nearly twice as likely to get mosquito bites than you were before you were with child. Why? Mosquitoes are widely known to be attracted to carbon dioxide and pregnant women exhale over 20% more carbon dioxide than non-pregnant women.

When men and women exercise, they too exhale more carbon dioxide, but it is more than just that increase that entices mosquitoes. During a workout, the body temperature rises and lactic acid is omitted through sweat. Mosquitoes can detect the increase in body temperature, making people easy targets.

A 2004 study found that mosquitoes too have their preferences, in the form of Type O blood. The majority of people produce a chemical signal that indicates which blood type they have. In the study, mosquitoes were twice as likely to land on those people with Type O blood and least likely to land on people with Type A blood.

Scientists have been studying the factors that attract mosquitoes for years that I feel as if there is always something new coming out. Despite all of the information that we have, there still isn’t a cure for mosquito bites beyond bug sprays and mosquito control, but it important to protect yourself if you spend time outside. Mosquito bites are not only annoying, but they can also be dangerous. Mosquitoes can transmit numerous diseases.

At Mosquito Squad, we tell our clients that the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to implement an Integrated Pest Management Solution, including professional mosquito control. As opposed to normal bug spray, mosquito control will eliminate 85-90% of mosquitoes on your property. You won’t see very many (if any) flying around you as you eat dinner or enjoy a game outdoors. Mosquito Squad targets the areas we know the pests like to feed and harbor, allowing you to enjoy your yard. Trust us, you’ll enjoy not having to spray your children down with bug spray before they go outside too!

If you have questions regarding mosquito control or our services, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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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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Mosquitoes are Out, Protect You and Your Family from Bites

It’s officially mosquito season and they are out in droves. Many areas of the country had abnormally wet weather this winter and into the spring, making it the perfect condition for mosquitoes. I’m lucky enough to see some of the comments that prospective clients write on their service requests and recently it seems like everyone is getting attacked by mosquitoes! Here are just some of the comments:

Please come and spray by yard, my kids can’t go outside without bites

Mosquitoes are really bad this year, we need someone to come take a look at our yard.

HELP US! THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!

Asian Tiger MosquitoOver the years I’ve heard and tried many “tricks” to mosquito control. You see, I’m one of those people who always get bitten by mosquitoes and continue to itch for days (my dad always tells me it is because I’m so sweet – thanks Dad!). No matter what I tried, I got mosquito bites. The only course of action for me was to be more proactive and get rid of the mosquitoes in my yard before they could get to me.

The key to getting rid of mosquitoes in your yard is to get rid of their breeding grounds: standing water. This is harder than it seems because mosquitoes will lay eggs in very small amounts of water. Did you know that 300 mosquito eggs can be laid in as little as a bottle cap of water? For me, I walked around my property and took note of all the places that could hold water and tossed it. Here are some things to take note of if you are evaluating your yard:

  • Kid’s toys
  • Dog dishes
  • Bird paths
  • Pots
  • Catch basins
  • Yard debris

Getting rid of standing water is a key part of mosquito control in your yard because mosquitoes do not venture far from where they hatched. So if they are hatching in your yard, they are there to bite you. Unfortunately getting rid of all the standing water on a property is much easier said than done. Inevitably, despite my best efforts, there is standing water on my property that mosquitoes can use to lay eggs. And since I’m so sensitive to mosquito bites, I became even more proactive and started to treat my yard with mosquito spray. By having my local Mosquito Squad (yes, I’m a client too!) team come out and treat my yard every three weeks, I keep the mosquitoes out of my yard and, more importantly, away from my skin!

As I read the service requests, I completely understand that frustration of being bitten by mosquitoes even when you think you’ve tried everything. Our Mosquito Squad owners take pride in providing relief from the dangers and annoyance of mosquitoes and ticks. And it’s really easy; you don’t even have to be home!

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Dead mosquito – Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

The average mosquito barrier spray takes between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the size of the property. Our trained technicians apply the treatment to the areas where mosquitoes feed and harbor. After 30 minutes for drying, you are welcome to come out and enjoy your yard once again. The spray will last up to 21 days before you need another treatment.

If you have questions on mosquito control and how the Mosquito Squad services work, please reach out to your local Squad. We’re here to help!

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