Posts Tagged Mosquitoes

West Nile and Mosquito Control

When a new season starts for Mosquito Squad, I tend to think about the year and season that just past. What happened? What were people talking about? 2012 was the season of West Nile. In July, August and September, you couldn’t go a day without seeing an article with new West Nile numbers in the news. Corporately, we saw more people emailing us about how to protect themselves at the end of summer than ever before.

A swarm of mosquitoesWest Nile Virus is a dangerous disease transmitted through infected mosquitoes. The symptoms, like many other vector borne diseases, mirror those of the flu. Fever, joint pain, headache and fatigue are common amongst patients. While most people with West Nile never display symptoms, other can become extremely ill or even die. The best way to protect yourself against the disease is to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

As we enter 2013, we at Mosquito Squad hope that more homeowners recognize the importance of mosquito control before we start to hear about a West Nile epidemic again. Mosquito control isn’t only about having a mosquito free yard, but more importantly about protecting you, your family and your pets from the diseases they carry. Our teams  protect against the annoying pests through our barrier spray. The spray is applied to vegetation where the mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. It kills mosquitoes on contact and continues to protect the property for up to 21 days.

Following a year that brought out a lot of mosquitoes and cases of vector borne disease, we recommend ensuring you or your municipality are protecting the outdoor areas you frequent. Our season long package makes sure that your yard is protected every 3 weeks without you having to worry abut it.

If you want to learn more about our mosquito control options, including an all natural option, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Looking back on 2012 and West Nile Virus

The end of every year brings an onslaught of lists looking back on the past 12 months. The best news stories, the best videos, the best couples, etc. all those lists and more. In a recent list of the Biggest Health Stories of 2012, Fox News placed West Nile in the number 13 spot. With over 5,000 confirmed cases and 228 deaths, it was the worst year for the virus since 2003 (according to MedPage Today, there was excessive testing in 2003 which boosted that year’s numbers).

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been researching the surge of cases this year and looking for trends or reasons behind the numbers. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer. As Marc Fischer, a medical officer for the CDC says “there’s no single or specific factor that we can point to as to why, or if, a year is going to have high or low activity.” Source.

West Nile is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes most commonly get the virus from birds, but can get it from other vertebrate. Because it’s a cycle that changes from location to location, studies are most effective when done locally. What elevated the spread of West Nile in Texas will be different than what happened in Maine for instance.

Fischer and his team have studied the virus to check for mutations that may have made the virus stronger, resulting in greater symptoms and confirmed cases (most people with West Nile will never display symptoms). The flu, for example, is known to continually mutate. There is no evidence to suggest the virus is changing but will be monitored over several years.

In short, questions regarding West Nile and why 2012 was such a bad year for the virus remain unanswered. We can’t properly guess what 2013 will bring, so it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites. And what is the best way to avoid mosquito bites? To get rid of mosquitoes!

At Mosquito Squad, we suggest the 5 Ts of mosquito control for yards. They center on the idea of getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed and like to harbor: Tip, Toss, Turnover, Remove Tarps and Treat.

Tip over any objects like kids’ toys and watering cans. Toss out any leftover yard debris like clippings and leaves that can puddle water inside. Turnover dog dishes and plant saucers once a week to make sure mosquitoes don’t have a chance to breed. Tarps hold water so make sure they are tight. And lastly treat. At Mosquito Squad, we provide effective mosquito control with our barrier spray service. Our technicians spray the vegetation where mosquitoes feed and harbor, creating a protective barrier around our clients’ property. We come back every 21 days to keep families and their guests safe from mosquitoes.

If you are interested in learning more about Mosquito Squad, please contact your local office.

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Mild Winter Means More Mosquitoes

There is a week left in winter and many parts of the country are seeing abnormally warm temperatures. Nice, right? Well, good and bad is more like it. While many of us are enjoying the nice weather by spending more time outdoors, so are the mosquitoes. They are coming out, in droves.  The mild winter, while it was nice, will end up bringing out more mosquitoes this spring and summer.

Mosquitoes will be out in droves this year due to a mild winter

Mosquitoes breed in standing water. If there are sustained freezing temperatures in the winter months, a lot of mosquito eggs will die. Unfortunately, this past season didn’t provide many areas with the needed cold and resulted in a larger number of eggs reaching maturity. In short, that means more annoying bugs.

Randy Peck of Mosquito Squad, who provides mosquito control in Charlotte and its surrounding areas, was recently interviewed by the local media regarding this years’ mosquito population:

“With all the rainfall we’ve had, it’s keeping everything moist and it’s not really drying out. So if it stays like that in the spring, I would imagine that mosquitoes are going to be a little worse this year,” says Randy Peck of Mosquito Squad based in Matthews. Peck says the lack of deep freezes and plenty of moisture could make for a problem.” See complete article here.

In some parts of the country municipalities are starting to spray for mosquitoes much earlier than usual. One area of Houston scheduled their first spray 2 months earlier than they did in 2011. Two months!

To cut down on the number of mosquitoes around your home, it is important to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed. For us, it’s as simple as the 5Ts:

  • Tip – tip over objects in your yard that may hold water including dog dishes and kids’ toys.
  • Toss – remove excess grass and clipping from yards
  • Turn – turn over larger items like birdbaths and plant saucers so the mosquitoes can’t fully develop
  • Remove Tarps – If tarps aren’t pulled tightly, they can create small pools of water, and 300 mosquitoes can hatch in a space as small as a bottle cap.
  • Treat – treat the vegetation in your yard where mosquitoes and ticks harbor and feed.

Mosquito Squad provides a mosquito control barrier spray that will protect your yard for 21 days so you can enjoy the outdoors more. If you have questions on how we can help you, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.

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

Dread_versions2

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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