Archive for the ‘Mosquitoes’ Category

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.

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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.

 

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.”

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.

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week is in Full Swing

June 26, 2014

 

mosquito_control_awareness_week1The week of June 22-June 28, 2014 has been declared the eighteenth annual “National Mosquito Control Awareness Week” by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). The purpose of “Mosquito 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 throughout the U.S.  The intention is not only to educate the general public about mosquitoes, but also the diseases which they are capable of transmitting.

asian_tiger_mosquito_frederick_mdThe activity of mosquitoes in our area is extremely high and due to the arrival of the invasive Asian tiger mosquito, the biting activity is all day long (contrary to common belief that mosquitoes feed only during the cooler evening hours).  The Asian tiger mosquito not only bites during the hot summer days, unlike native species, but is much more aggressive than its native counterparts. Click the link here to see a daily update of the current mosquito activity levels according to the Weather Channel.

Common-backyard-mosquito-sourcesThis year was predicted to be especially bad for mosquito activity, much worse than any on previous record. According to an article from last year, “We could have the biggest mosquito population since 1989, which was a really bad year for mosquitoes.” Additionally, there are several more mosquito-borne diseases currently than there were in 1989. We now are contending with West Nile Virus and potentially Chikungunya due to the Asian tiger mosquito’s presence. The article stated, “The Asian Tiger is more aggressive and effective in transmitting disease than native mosquitoes, which they are ‘out-competing’ in many places.”

The more educated the general public is about the dangers of mosquitoes and the methods of ridding yourself of said dangers is of the utmost importance. Following the 5 “T’s” is always effective and highly important to help aid you in ridding your yard of unwanted mosquito breeding areas.  Mosquitoes have the potential of ruining any event, whether it is a graduation party, wedding, cookout, etc. It is better to be well-informed and prepared than having guests literally itching to leave your outdoor event. For more information on how to take your yard back and gain awareness call Mosquito Squad of Frederick at (301) 263-7220 or email us today.

Warm Winter Likely Will Mean More Mosquitoes This Spring

February 15, 2012

We have been experiencing a warm winter this year (2012).  In fact, we received a phone call from somebody asking about mosquito control on February 8, 2012.  The caller reported being bit by a mosquito in early February.  A recent news article out of Georgia predicts that a warm winter could cause mosquitoes to come out earlier than they normally do.

According to the article “As long as the temperatures are below 40 degrees most insects won’t grow and spawn, according to Paul Guillebeau, professor of entomology at the University of Georgia.

But with high temperatures expected to be in the 40s this weekend, entomologists say we’ll likely see insects emerging soon.”

Professor Guillebeau also says that each generation of a species of insects cause the population to grow tenfold.   In addition to the threat to humans, the article talks about the threat to dogs.  Another entomologist at the University of Georgia,  Nancy Hinkle, says “Mosquito bites are the only way they (pets) can get heartworm. There is never a day of the year where you don’t have to worry about your dog getting heartworms.”

One piece of advice from the professors is to reduce the standing water in your yard.  “A female mosquito lays eggs about every five days, so by cleaning things like bird baths once a week the eggs won’t have a chance to mature. ‘A lot of the nasty species develop in containers, just anything with standing water, trash, tires, etc., so it’s important to be dumping those kind of things out all year long,’ [Evan] Lampert (Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Gainesville State College) said.   We have found that it is impossible to drain all the standing water that mosquitoes breed in.  This is due to the fact that Asian Tiger Mosquitoes, a very prevalent species here in Frederick, lay their eggs in dry areas that they know will flood when it rains.  For that reason, our customers have found that our regular mosquito treatments will help them take back their yard and enjoy the outdoors again.

Fort Detrick Scientists Receive Award for Mosquito Trap

January 29, 2011

According to a January 29, 2011 article in the Frederick News Post,  two researchers in Fort Detrick (located here in Frederick, MD), developed a mosquito trap to help reduce Dengue Fever. 

Realizing that the Aedes Genus of mosquito is one of the biggest vectors of Dengue Fever, “The two combined their efforts behind the idea that female Aedes mosquitoes will lay eggs only in a container holding water.”  That is not true of all Aedes mosquitoes.  In fact, the Asian Tiger Mosquito found in many places in and around Frederick,and a potential vector (transmitter) of Dengue Fever and other diseases like West Nile Virus, are Aedes mosquitoes.  The Asian Tiger (Aedes Albopictus) are known as floodwater mosquitoes because they lay their eggs in containers, tree holes, or other places that the female mosquito knows will flood when it rains.  They often will lay their eggs, then, in places that do not contain water when they lay their eggs. 

The scientists at Fort Detrick created a pint-sized water container with a strip covered in pesticide to kill the female mosquitoes and the larvae.  According to the report it was successfully used in Key West, FL where they had a Dengue outbreak.  Dengue Fever had not been known to be transmitted in the continental United States for many years, but last year the disease was once again documented to be transmitted inside Florida’s boundaries. 

I doubt that the trap would be successful here against the Asian Tiger mosquito, whose latin name is Aedes Albopictus, as they can breed in a container the size of a bottle cap and consequently do not need a pint of water to lay eggs.  As I said before, the Aedes Albopictus does not need water to be present either when it lays eggs. 

Nonetheless, it is good to read about efforts to reduce the transmission of disease through mosquitoes.  As the article concludes, the World Health Organization recommends mosquito control to prevent the outbreak of mosquito borne disease.

Researchers Work on Developing a Malaria Proof Mosquito

January 12, 2011

With more than one million people a year dying from malaria transmitted by mosquitoes, researchers at UC Davis and the University of Arizona have been trying to create a breed of mosquito that will not transmit malaria.  Of course, not every breed of mosquito is a vector (transmitter) of malaria.  In Maryland only one species of mosquito found in Maryland is known to transmit malaria.  Since most of the malaria deaths occur in Africa, it appears that efforts would be to introduce the “malaria proof” mosquito into Africa with the hopes that it will become dominant and will breed out the mosquitoes that breed malaria. 

The efforts to dominate the  malaria vectors would not have any impact on vectors of other diseases, such as West Nile Virus,Yellow Fever and various forms of encephalitis which have occurred in Maryland.  

The good news is that the UC Davis and University of Arizona researchers have received awards for the progress in their efforts.  The bad news is that even if they are successful in making this “malaria proof” mosquito dominant, it will take at least 10 years to do it. 

To read another blog about this development click here.