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.

Conflicting Reports on Stink Bugs’ Mortality Rate Due to Our Cold Winter

July 11, 2014

stinkbug_frederick_md2In February of this year (2014), Virginia Tech researchers did studies to test stink bugs’ resilience in extreme cold temperatures. According to their research they concluded, “…about 95 percent of them were exterminated (when temperatures hovered around zero degrees for several days)”, due to the renowned “polar vortex” much of the Northeast experienced extreme cold for a longer than average duration. The research, unfortunately, was only limited to Blacksburg, Virginia where temperatures were closer to the zero degree mark, unlike Maryland.

stinkbug_frederick_md1According to another article by the Washington Post, Mike Raupp disputed the mortality rate of stink bugs. He remained more guarded in his prediction of the stink bug population in Maryland. While Blacksburg had a few days at 4 degrees below zero, Maryland did not. A research entomologist for the Agriculture Department also believes that stink bugs were not as greatly affected by the colder than average winter. Entomologist Tracey Leskey stated, “Unfortunately, they’re (stink bugs) doing just fine”. According to Leskey, “Even if they did die in bunches, they enter winter with an enormous population, so plenty of survivors rush out in spring to multiply”. Compounding the lower than expected mortality rates of stink bugs in the elements is the fact that many stink bugs make their way into homes during the cold months. Mike Raupp stated, “Every day I’ve had a stink bug wandering across my desk; they’re doing fine in my house”.

stinkbug_frederick_md3Just last week we had a customer reporting a large number of stink bugs on his house.  He noticed hey were smaller than usual, but stinkbugs nonetheless. This created the potential for an explosion of the stink bug population on this customer’s property, as there were now 2 generations of stink bugs (adult stink bugs and nymph stink bugs). A nymph (stink bug) looks extremely different than an adult stink bug; in most cases it looks so dissimilar that people think they are seeing an immature tick or other small insects. According to a research article, the brown marmorated stink bug, or BMSB, has a life cycle which consists of the following:

Eggs: The white or pale green barrel-shaped eggs are laid in clusters on the undersides of leaves. Egg masses have about 25 eggs that are only about 1 mm in diameter but become apparent when nymphs have recently emerged, as they will stay at the egg mass for several days. In Pennsylvania, eggs first appeared in late June, but females continued to lay egg masses until September. Although only one generation was observed, multiple generations are likely as the distribution spreads to the south (Bernon et al. 2004).

Nymphs: As with all immature stink bugs, the nymphs lack fully developed wings and have been described as tick-like in appearance, ranging in size from 2.4 mm (1st instar) to 12 mm (5th instar). Nymphs need to molt, or shed their outer skin (exoskeleton), as they progress through five different stages or nymphal instars. First instars are colored orange or red and remain clustered around the egg mass, sometimes until they molt to the 2nd instar stage. The 2nd instar begins to develop an almost black appearance, and subsequent instars (3rd, 4th, and 5th) begin to acquire more of the adult BMSB coloration.

Adults: Adults are 12 to17 mm long (approximately 1/2 inch), and have a mottled appearance. Alternating dark and light bands occur on the last two antennal segments. Additionally, the head and pronotum are covered with patches of coppery or bluish metallic-colored punctures and the margins of the pronotum are smooth as compared to the toothed, jagged pronotal margin of Brochymena (Hoebeke 2002). The exposed lateral margins of the abdomen are marked with alternate bands of brown and white. Faint white bands are also evident on the legs.

Don’t let stink bugs take over your house, refer to our previous blog about the best way to remove them from your home. As always, if you have any questions regarding stink bugs and how to best protect your home, call us at (301) 263-7220.

Tufts University Scientists Warn of a “Tick Boom” This Summer

July 3, 2014

nymph tick in frederick marylandWSET news published on June 23, 2014 an article discussing a stern warning from Tufts University scientists about the potential for a “tick boom” this summer. The jump in the tick population is attributed to abundant snow and a wet spring, which created ideal conditions for this tick boom. According to Tuft’s Professor Sam Telford, “the large amounts of snow this winter acts like a blanket to protect ticks. Plus the wet spring kept ticks from drying out.” The most concerning aspect of the impending tick boom is that it especially applies to the type of ticks that carry Lyme Disease.

frederick maryland tick controlAccording to another article, “June and July are the peak season for the tiny, hard to see nymph ticks which are believed to be the main vector for transmitting Lyme Disease”. The larger issue with the nymph tick is the size of the bug itself. The nymph tick can be especially hard to locate and it is possible to have a nymph tick on your body the size of a comma and, therefore, overlooked as being a freckle, or speck of dirt. Because of this, it is very important to check your body daily. With the expected explosion in the tick population imminent, protecting yourself from ticks should be the primary concern.

There’s nothing like a tick boom to inevitably lead to an uptick in Lyme disease. Adding to the difficulty on reporting the statistical analysis of Lyme Disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that “only 10% of the people infected with Lyme disease are accurately diagnosed”. In Maryland in 2013 there were 1,194 cases of Lyme Disease reported, however, the CDC estimates actual cases in Maryland were approximately 11,000. The need for tick control is higher now more than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control homeowners should “Consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home” to protect from ticks in your yard. If you have any questions or concerns related to tick control and how to protect you and your family from ticks, give Mosquito Squad of Frederick a call at (301) 263-7220 or email us at Frederick@mosquitosquad.com.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.