Elet Hall’s Further Success on American Ninja Warrior After a Long Battle with Lyme Disease

September 14, 2014

Congratulations to Smithsburg local Elet Hall, who has been recovering from chronic Lyme disease for several years. He was one of only two contestants to finish Stage 2 in the Las Vegas Finals shown on NBD on September 8, 2014. Even with Lyme disease causing him to be not 100% (according to his Facebook page), he finished the seemingly impossible Stage 2 course faster than the other finalist, Joe Moravsky. It is amazing to think that Elet Hall has been able to compete at all when you read about how this disease has impacted him in his daily life. According to an August 12, 2014 post on his Facebook page, he reports:

“While stretching one night I rested my neck on my foam roller and under light pressure I was able to feel a tingle in my face! It could move ever so slightly. After nearly 2 months I could finally get a tiny response. Over the next 2 weeks use of the left half of my face slowly returned to about 80%.

This was last year and I wish the overt symptoms were the worst I experienced. My memory is shot, I lack energy, and I walk around in a fog. My endurance and muscular recovery, which at this point in my training should not plague me, are regularly an issue. It often takes me 3 days to recover from 1 day of training, both mentally and physically. If I have a particularly exciting day I can expect to feel beat down, depressed and uncoordinated the next, a challenging outlook for an athlete.”

When we hear about the paralysis and other symptoms he describes, we are reminded why we are so passionate about killing the deer ticks that spread it. It’s one of the reasons we wanted to get into the outdoor pest control business in the first place. We wanted to help spare people from the horrors he describes. Oddly, everybody’s symptoms can be different. Some doctors have reportedly told people they had Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when it was really Lyme. We can’t even imagine attempting that Stage 2 course with any of those conditions. Some same champions compete even when injured. Elet Hall has shown he has the heart of a champion.

If you watched the finals you may have noticed that Brian Arnold, the American who has gone the furthest on Stage 3 of the finals course leading to Mount Midoriyama, purposefully waited until the last second to push the buzzer when he finished Stage 1. Arnold’s strategy was to complete Stage 2 early enough to allow his body to rest before attempting Stage 3. Meanwhile, Elet Hall ran through Stage 1 seconds faster than everybody else. The result: Arnold was second to run in Stage 2. Arnold admitted that was a mistake as it did not give him time to study other contestants’ difficulty with the dangling ropes obstacle. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Elet Hall was the final contestant to run Stage 2. Then, surprisingly, Elet Hall had to go first on Stage 3, giving him no time to rest after he had just completed the grueling Stage 2. Meanwhile, Joe Moravsky was closer to the middle of the pack and had more time to rest before Stage 3. Moravsky made it further on Stage 3 than Hall. Perhaps if Elet Hall had not been battling Lyme over the past few years he would have completed Stage 2 in prior years and picked a strategy closer to the Moravsky strategy; give yourself time to watch others attempt the course and to rest after you finish Stage 2.

If you visit Elet Hall’s Facebook Page, he also offers his tips for managing his chronic Lyme disease.

“My essentials for continuing to progress as an Lyme athlete:
1. Proper hydration to stave off muscle cramps and numbness/tingling in my fingers and toes when I become acutely dehydrated. I drink a gallon of water a day.
2. Eating clean. I don’t follow a specific diet plan but in order to reduce inflammation it’s important to keep track of what foods help you manage it. I eat mostly fruits and veggies, rice and beans, chicken, and eggs. Dairy doesn’t affect my inflammation but refined sugar and red meat do.
3. Sleep! Get enough! how much is up to you (sic). If at all possible I try to take a quick nap before 1 pm. I feel almost like my old self in the few hours following this. It’s so important to get enough sleep to help our overtaxed CNS to recover.
4. Supplementation- I use a lot of supplements and to what Ive (sic) found is a good effect. I’ve looked over the studies regarding most of them and experimented personally to find what does and doesn’t work for me.”

Elet would often practice in Frederick, Maryland’s Baker Park. Congratulations again Elet, and we hope to see you training in Baker Park and the gorgeous mountain ranges near your home.

Which Annoys You More: Asian tiger mosquitoes, ticks, or stinkbugs?

September 9, 2014

Chikungunya-Mosquito-Virus-Frederick-MDThe Frederick News-Post recently conducted an on-line poll asking which pest is more annoying. Since it was August, they chose to find out if their readers thought cicadas or stink bugs were worse. How curious, we thought. The surprising result was that only 71.6% said stink bugs were more annoying. It would have been more, but 24% said they were equally annoying. Judging by the calls we get from people anxious to get rid of stink bugs, which have been labeled by government officials as the “perfect pest” because they can annoy year round by invading your house in the fall, coming into your home and annoying you all winter, and then coming out again in the spring to hang out on the outside of your house (and start breeding), and then eat the farmers’ crops in the summer. The 29.6% who did not say stink bugs hands down must live in the parts of town where they hardly ever see stink bugs.

brown_marmorated_stink_bug_frederick_marylandIf we were to conduct a poll, we would ask which is more annoying, stink bugs or Asian tiger mosquitoes? The answer would vary by the location of the homeowner. Some might say they are equally annoying because they can’t be in their yard for five minutes without getting eating alive and at the same time have thousands of stink bugs trying to move into their house. But to us, that would be a much more interesting question. Of course, we don’t want to forget the other serious pest control issue in our region: the deer tick, which has infected thousands of people with debilitating bouts of Lyme disease.

lonestar tick in frederick marylandWe at Mosquito Squad of Frederick dislike them all equally. Even one mosquito, tick or stink bug can make our skin crawl; that’s why we love killing them. With stink bugs destroying crops, Asian tiger mosquitoes transmitting West Nile and Chikungunya, and deer ticks transmitting Lyme disease, we can certainly find reasons to enjoy helping people get peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to put up with those pests. Our barrier spray will take care of all of them. After a barrier spray, there will be no more annoying Asian tiger mosquitoes, deer ticks or stink bugs in your yard to annoy you.

As if We Needed Another Reason to Hate Ticks

August 28, 2014

lonestar tick in frederick marylandIf you’re reading this, and have yet to have read it anywhere else, then you are about to read the most disturbing piece of information regarding ticks that we’ve ever heard of. Sure, Lyme disease can cause neurological problems and even kill you and the same goes for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; but nothing so heinous has ever been conceived until now. It appears the Lone Star tick is capable of causing allergic reactions to red meat.

lonestar tick causes meat allergy in frederick mdIt’s amazing that a bug can turn you into a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat. According to a recent article, “Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by a certain kind of tick”. So there’s an uptick, no pun intended, across the country in meat allergies attributed to the Lone Star tick, fantastic. According to the same article, “Here’s how it happens: The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don’t have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat — beef, pork, venison, rabbit — and even some dairy products. It’s usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested. But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim’s bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar”. This sounds boring and we need to know what happens to people specifically after they enjoy a nice plate of BBQ if they have acquired this allergy. Well, here’s what happens: “In Mount Juliet near Nashville, Tennessee, 71-year-old Georgette Simmons went to a steakhouse on June 1 for a friend’s birthday and had a steak. About 4:30 in the morning I woke up and my body was on fire. I was itching all over and I broke out in hives. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, she said. A few weeks later, for a brother’s birthday, she ordered another steak. Hours later she woke “almost hysterical” with a constricted throat in addition to hives and a burning sensation”. We like to enjoy our red meat without requiring a visit to the emergency room every time we eat it. Even more so, we don’t want to require an Epipen on our person if we are even exposed to red meat.

tick control frederick mdMosquito Squad of Frederick loves our barbecues, as we’re sure many of you do also. We will ensure that your yard is free of all ticks and make sure that Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and of course vegetarianism do not befall you, or anyone in your family. There’s no need to risk going into anaphylactic shock because you just ate a wonderful fillet. If you have any questions regarding the Lone Star tick and this horrifying new revelation as to what it is capable of, give us a call at (301) 263 – 7220 or email us at frederick@mosquitosquad.com. We will allow for you to both enjoy your cookout free of mosquitoes, but also free of worry about having an allergic reaction to a hamburger.

Good morning and Happy World Mosquito Day!

August 20, 2014

What is World Mosquito Day?

 

  1. An annually observed day every August 20, that commemorates British doctor Sir Ronald Ross‘s discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoestransmit malaria between humans.
  2. A great reason to celebrate the Mosquito Squad business and spread our story.
  3. All of the above.

 

Correct Answer is: C. All of the above.

 

And to spread our Mosquito Squad story on this glorious day, I’m excited to introduce our newest video link and final edit from the “Daytime” lifestyle show that aired on July 29.

 

Proud to Say our Home, Frederick County, MD is Ranked in the Top 10 Counties in the Country

August 6, 2014

Frederick County Maryland is one of the top ten counties in the united statesWe at Mosquito Squad of Frederick are proud to live and work, and serve the resident of Frederick County.   Movoto.com, in a recent article, ranked Frederick County the 9th best county to live in. The article mentioned all the economic figures that make Frederick so great, but we at Mosquito Squad of Frederick Maryland feel there is much more to it than just economics.
 

Frederick County Maryland covered bridgeWhen you consider that two of Frederick County’s neighboring counties are also ranked in the top 10, the region is looking pretty good.  We think Frederick is great for reasons not mentioned in the article, the people and charm of the area.  Ok, Movoto did mention some of Frederick’s charm, calling it “Beautiful nature”.  We love the fact that Frederick’s Historic district is charming and fun, and yet it is very easy to go for a ride in the country, enjoying forests and farms anywhere you go in the county.   If you are into history, Frederick is a short drive from Gettysburg, PA, Antietam battlefield, Harper’s  Ferry, and Washington DC. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are numerous options to enjoy such as, Baker Park with its famous Carillon. As well as in Maryland, the Appalachian trail runs along the South Mountain ridge line in Frederick and Washington counties. About 40% of Maryland’s portion of the Appalachian Trail lies in Frederick County. Mosquito Squad of Frederick is proud to be located in such a wonderful area that offers so much to all outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Another interesting fact is that Frederick county has 2 of the only 3 covered-bridges that are still active in Maryland, these include Baker Park’s and Lloyd’s station’s bridge.
 

Carillon in Baker Park in Frederick Maryland
 
Movoto’s criteria seems to be mostly based on economics, ranking Frederick counties’ median income number 16 in the country, stating that the poverty level is the 5th lowest in the country.   We love Frederick’s charm.    Good job, Frederick County.   By the way, Montgomery County, MD is ranked number 8 in the survey, while Loudon County, VA (also a neighboring county) came in number one.  Some of us think Frederick is better than both of those places.  Perhaps that’s why so many people are moving to Frederick from Montgomery County?

Stink Bug Traps May Have Unintended Results

July 31, 2014

stink bug control frederick md

It is not unusual for us to get calls from people who have severe stink bug infestations. Some of those customers have tried everything to get rid of those stinkers, including commercially marketed stink bug traps.  We can recall at least one time where the customer admitted that they had dramatically more stink bugs on their house after they put up a stink bug trap than they had before.   She even complained that the stink bugs were on the outside of the trap, but very few made it into the trap.   The reason she had many more stink bugs after using the trap was easily apparent to us.  The trap is designed to work by mimicing a pheromone that stink bugs use to attract other stink bugs to them.  The natural pheromone is very effective.  People have reported finding thousands of stink bugs clustered together, evidently because they followed the scent of the pheromone.  Stink bug traps operate very much similar to how mosquito magnet traps work.  In a previous blog, we discussed the problem with mosquito traps.  In fact, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has reported that mosquito traps help to count mosquito populations, but is not effective in controlling them. That is likely the case with stink bug traps.

On the other hand, one frequent question we get about our service is: does it repel the stink bugs?

stink bug control frederick mdThose two scenarios set up the key question about stink bug traps. Do you want to repel or attract stink bugs to your home? Unless you are a scientist wanting to do some experiments on them, or you get some, dare we say weird, pleasure out of counting and killing stink bugs in your home, you would prefer to repel them.

Based on our experience, and a recent story we read, we think that stink bug traps are a risky way to deal with a stink bug invasion. In the study reported in Entomology Today, 15 homeowners placed stink bug traps near their tomato plants. A control group of 14 other homeowners did not place traps near their tomatoes.  The researchers claimed that they saw as many stink bugs on the tomatoes in all yards, but noticed that there was more damage to the tomatoes where the stink bug traps were placed.  The researchers said perhaps it was due to “spillover” from the trap.  In other words, the trap may not have been able to hold all the stink bugs it attracted? Or stink bugs came to the area and were on the tomatoes before going into the traps? In our opinion, stink bug traps may capture some stink bugs, but if they successfully mimic the pheromone that attracts stink bugs, it can make the problem worse.  Sometimes, much worse. Your chance of success with a trap may also depend on several other factors requiring great expertise and timing.

stink bug control frederick mdWhen we treat for stink bugs, we have received anecdotal reports of stink bugs not coming back for a while and we have more commonly heard stories of thousands dying when they arrive at the front porch.  It’s hard to say if it is repelling stink bugs, or just killing them when they come. We do know that our product in general does have a repellent effect on many insects, including mosquitoes.  So, it may repel some stink bugs, but it will kill those that are not repelled.

Our product will eliminate your stink bug problem, not exponentially increase, which is the risk of using traps.  For any questions about stink bug control, or to request our expert services, call us at (301) 263-7220.

SPECIAL EDITION: How concerned should we be about the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus?

July 24, 2014

Chikungunya-Mosquito-Virus-Frederick-MDThis just in from Jenny Marder, PBS News Hour:

“Last Thursday On Thursday, federal officials announced that the tropical Chikungunya mosquito-borne disease had been transmitted for the first time within the United States, infecting two Florida residents.

“What’s notable about these cases is that the people affected reported no recent trips to the Caribbean, Africa or Asia, where the painful virus is widespread. Until last week, all cases reported in the continental United States were from people who had recently traveled to endemic areas. Read: Chikungunya-infected mosquitoes are now living, breeding and sucking human blood in the continental United States.

“’This is not good news,’ says Mike Raupp, professor of entomology at the University of Maryland.

“A few facts. The word Chikungunya derives from the Kimakonde language in Southeast Africa. (pronounced CHICKEN-GUY-YAH.) It means contorted, a nod to the stooped-up appearance of people with severe joint pain, one of the main symptoms of the virus, along with fever, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and rash, according to the World Health Organization.

“’Mainly, you’re going to get a fever,’ said Walter Tabachnick of University of Florida’s Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory. “You’re going to feel lousy. With Chikungunya, you’re going to ache. You do not want to get this disease.”

It is seldom fatal. But that fact shouldn’t deter anyone from aggressive mosquito control, stressed Tabachnick, who believes the media has downplayed the danger of the virus.

“No one wants to be a fear monger. No one is saying, ‘We’re all going to die.’ But on the other hand, it does take public awareness and public responsibility to protect themselves. We’ve been very frustrated by the inability to get this message out to the public and nothing seems to take.”

“The virus is primarily transmitted by two types of mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, also known as the yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, respectively. Both are invasive to the United States. The yellow fever mosquito arrived in the 1500s; the Asian Tiger more recently, in the 1980s.

“Unlike the West Nile virus, which is transmitted to mosquitoes mostly from birds and only occasionally to humans, Chikungunya is a mosquito-man virus. This means mosquitoes easily and efficiently transmit the virus to humans.

“Transmission of the virus goes like this: A female mosquito bites an infected person. For about seven days, the virus incubates inside the mosquito, multiplying. The warmer the weather, the shorter that incubation period. Eventually, it migrates into the insect’s salivary glands, and as the mosquito feeds on human blood, she spits, transmitting the virus. (Note: only female mosquitoes bite. They need the protein in the blood to grow eggs.)

“These mosquitoes prefer to breed in man-made storage containers: soda cans, birdbaths, rain barrels and garbage can lids. Standing water that collects on tarp-covered boats is a major breeding site in Florida, Tabachnick said. Yellow fever mosquitoes prefer these sites to natural water, like puddles.

“As of July 18, 2014, a total of 436,586 suspected and 5,724 laboratory-confirmed Chikungunya cases had been reported in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and the United States, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

“’This is not a trivial illness,’ Raupp said. “Even though it’s not often lethal. What’s disturbing is we know we have vector-competent mosquitoes who are able to feed off someone who has a virus circulating in their bloodstream and to transmit it to people who have not yet traveled.”

“To prevent breeding, he said, police and clean up your yard. Dump the birdbath twice a week. Dump or monitor other sources of water.

“’The public outcry should be to demand your neighbors to clean up,’ Tabachnick said. “All it takes is one property owner who doesn’t care, and he could be rearing enough mosquitoes to endanger the entire neighborhood.”

Frederick Local Elet Hall Finally at 100% After Battle With Lyme Disease

July 23, 2014

It does not come as a surprise to us that the contestant on American Ninja Warrior who had Lyme disease for two years (undiagnosed), comes from Smithsburg, MD (just 30 minutes from Frederick). That’s right, Elet Hall, who had the second fastest time, completing the course in 4 minutes 21 seconds, in the St. Louis finals on American Ninja Warrior (aired on July 21, 2014) is a Frederick local. He competed in the extreme obstacle course competition in prior years without knowing that he was being hampered by undiagnosed Lyme disease. The anchors for the show informed the viewers that Elet Hall was competing for the first time this year at 100% because he finally got his Lyme disease treated. He was amazing. It appears that he did a lot of his training in and around Baker Park and Frederick, MD and the mountains around Smithsburg, Frederick, and Hagerstown. We researched his background and learned that he is into Parkour (I never heard of this), which apparently helped him earn his nickname “the natural” on American Ninja Warrior. Hats off to our Elet Hall.

It is simply amazing that Elet was able to compete at a high level, or compete at all in such a strenuous and testing athletic event. One of the major symptoms of Lyme disese that would have effected Elet was the intense joint pain. This seemingly would have made parkour an absolute nightmare, as the fluidity of all your joints is at the very core of parkour. Nonetheless, Elet went on to do more than just parkour, he competed in some of the most grueling physical competitions on American Ninja Warrior and did extremely well even while suffering from Lyme disease. During the time Elet ran the course, he made it to the Las Vegas finals each of the last two years. After last year’s finals, he woke up one day with half of his face paralyzed, and felt overall weak. To see the full breakdown of this local supreme athlete’s battle with Lyme disease, watch the video below.

His training in Frederick is something indescribable. His athleticism and toughness are beyond question, as is shown in his extreme parkour training. We also loved Baker Park. Funny though, I wouldn’t have thought to use it as a training ground for American Ninja Warrior.

Mosquito Squad: 100% Customer Satisfaction and Dr. Prescribed?

July 22, 2014

doctor_frederick_mdRecently we had a customer call us after a visit with her physician. She stated she was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and her physician mentioned the negative impact RA has on the immune system. Her physician told her she needed to get extra protection from mosquitoes because the diseases they carry could more easily enter her system due to a compromised immune system. Now that chikungunya has made its way into our area, and in Florida mosquitoes are confirmed to have transmitted the disease to humans, protection from mosquitoes is as important as ever. West Nile virus and chikungunya are all related to the Asian tiger mosquito, which unfortunately resides in Maryland and is an all-day biter. When it comes to mosquito control we have heard a lot of complaining about the irritating bites and the protection of kids and pets, but it was definitely new to be Dr. prescribed, so to speak.

The Threat of West Nile Still Persists

July 17, 2014

blue_jay_inected_with_west_nile_frederick_mdIt seems every summer, from the middle of July to the end of August, there is a reported case of West Nile virus in Maryland. It is almost as predictable as the rising and setting of the sun. The timing of these infections is not purely coincidental and can be traced simply to the migratory patterns of birds in certain cases. It also has to do with the alarming number of birds that are vectors for the West Nile virus. Not all birds are considered vectors for transmission of the disease, but two well-known birds are (the Blue jay and hawks). A sign that birds are infected in your area, according to an article, is when you see crows flying as if they were drunk. They may take off 2 feet above the ground for a couple hundred yards then land again. Their wings droop in almost a drunken way, and they may flip over while landing. Unlike blue jays and hawks, crows are considered a “dead-end host”. This means they are not capable of passing West Nile any further. When you see signs that crows, whose once loud and robust caws could be heard without effort, now sound dim and weak you might be seeing the effects of West Nile. Where there are crows being infected, there are also blue jays and hawks to follow suit.

west_nile_virus_frederick_mdAccording to Maryland’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, from July 1-October 31, 2013 there were 16 cases of West Nile virus instances found in humans.  An additional 3 cases were found in animals from August to September, 2013. The surveillance report illustrated how important it is to rid areas of standing water. From July 16th through September 4th, 2013 there were 18 reported mosquito pools that tested positive for West Nile virus including one pool testing positive for both West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. This goes to show the importance of adhering to Mosquito Squad’s “5 T’s” in order to keep your surrounding property safer with regards to mosquito breeding and facilitation of West Nile.

west_nile_virus_prevention_frederick_md

mosquito_transmitting_west_nile_virus_to_humanIn a previous blog post we referred to an article illustrating the capacity for mosquito-to-human transmission of West Nile virus. The article gave great insight as to how the potential for being infected with West Nile virus rose so dramatically, stating, “The West Nile virus can be transmitted by mosquito species other than the Asian Tiger. However, the all-day feeding habits of the Asian Tiger mosquito may increase the risk of spreading West Nile virus. The Maryland mosquito spraying program is not the best against the Asian Tiger mosquito. Spraying is usually done at sunset or after dark for native mosquitoes. Asian Tiger mosquitoes are virtually absent during these hours.”  Mosquito Squad’s treatments use a different product than that used by the state and are more effective because we go into the backyards and spray areas where the state’s spray does not reach.  The product Mosquito Squad uses has a residual affect that will kill mosquitoes that come onto the treated area, while still being people and pet friendly.  This has resulted in much better control of the Asian Tiger mosquito in many yards around Frederick.


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