Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

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.

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.

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.

Loudon County, VA Declares Lyme Disease An Epidemic, Encourages Home Owners To Spray Their Yards

April 24, 2012

Loudon County, VA, neighboring Frederick County, MD has declared Lyme disease to be epidemic and launched a 10 point plan to reduce the cases of Lyme Disease in the county.  According to an April 9, 2012 report on Fox 5 DC, “There’s also going to be a significant awareness campaign and we want to encourage private homeowners to spray their own property to go after the ticks,’ Supervisor Ken Reid says.”

The news story describes how the tick-borne disease has impacted its victims.

“”’I taught kindergarten, but when it effected my voice, I couldn’t teach anymore,’ Benalayat says.

Speaking is difficult for her now, and everyday life focuses on treating her Lyme Disease.

‘I give myself I-V medicine and that takes an hour. I also take 30 pills every day as well’” Benalayat says.

Linda McGee was diagnosed with Lyme 8 years ago, and two of her three children have it too. Her family has paid more than $12,000 out of their pockets to treat her.

‘Insurance doesn’t cover much, and the I-V treatment was a thousand dollars a week back then,’ McGee says.

So they had to make a choice, college tuition or her intravenous antibiotic treatment. They sent their daughter off to college, and then in February, she relapsed.

‘I had some problems, and the Lyme went to my heart,’ McGee says.”

Deer ticks have a two-year life cycle and require a blood meal in order to molt from one stage to another.  Typically, the nymph ticks look for a blood meal in the spring.  Deer ticks typically look for their first blood meal from small animals, including white-footed mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and even foraging birds, and later blood meals from large mammals (like humans and deer).  Experts have predicted that the risk of contracting Lyme disease is extremely high this year.  Several factors play into this.  First, the ticks, and other insects, were able to survive the mild winter better than they would in a harshly cold winter.  Second, oak trees are producing fewer acorns this year.  Researchers indicate that white-footed mice feed on acorns and their population goes up and down depending on the acorn production.  Less mice means the ticks must look for another source for their blood meal.

Researchers at Yale University found that throughout the entire northeast from Connecticut to Maryland 1 in 5 ticks carried the bacteria that spread Lyme disease.  Other studies have found that same ratio.

What can you do to protect yourself?  Mosquito Squad has prepared the 6 Cs to help:

1. Clear out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.

2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.

3. Choose plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.

4. Check hiding places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.

5. Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.

6. Call the pros. Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill “adult” ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.

University of Maryland Entomologists Worry Stink Bugs and Mosquitoes Will be Bad in 2012

April 6, 2012

WTOP news published on 4/5/12 an  article discussing concerns the University of Maryland entomologists have about the 2012 stink bug population.  If you hate stink bugs and like to watch them die, the article is worth looking at just to see the photo of a praying mantis “feasting” on a stink bug.  Not surprisingly, the story suggests that this year could be really bad for stink bugs, mosquitoes, ticks.  First, the article points out that the mild winter did not kill off as many of the bugs as a harsh winter would have.  University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp tells WTOP that bugs that have multiple generations could be extremely bad this year.  Included in this group:   brown marmorated stink bugs, Asian tiger mosquitoes, spider mites, etc.

The article states:  “Although Raupp said it’s not definite that pesky insects like mosquitoes and Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs — which are native to Asia and invaded the area several years ago — will be more prevalent this summer, some signs are already favoring the critters.”  Additionally “[University of Maryland pest management specialist Galen] Dively said the advantage could be particularly strong for stink bugs.”   The only thing the article suggests could suppress the bugs:  weather.  “Dively said a wet spring or extremely hot summer could end up suppressing populations that would have otherwise thrived.

‘The weather in the spring or summer can actually change the whole scenario real quick, that’s why it’s hard to predict anything,’ Dively said.  That is an interesting quote because WTOP has posted the audio of an interview with Raupp where he worries that 2012 is starting to shape up like 2010, which he called a “watershed” year for stink bugs.  In Western Maryland the summer of 2010 seemed extremely hot to us, with several consecutive days of 100 degrees and the region being declared to be in drought.  Even with that extreme temperatures many compared the 2010 stink bug problem to a biblical plague.  So far (April 5, 2012), we at Mosquito Squad are hearing many people report mosquitoes already in their yards, reports of deer ticks, and many other insects getting started weeks before they normally do.  It appears to us that rain was more of a suppressor for the stink bugs than hot  temperatures.  As discussed earlier, a warm drought led to massive stink bug invasions.  Meanwhile, last year was extremely wet.  While we had and have several customers with huge stink bug problems last year (and this spring), we note that the rain seemed to suppress some stink bug migration to homes in some areas.  If Raupp is correct that this year is shaping up like 2010, we should prepare for it.  Our customers have reported great satisfaction with the control we have achieved for them.  One researcher from the University of Maryland told us it is advisable to treat for stink bugs early. We could not agree more.

Meanwhile, other articles have suggested that the tick population may be  aggressively biting humans this year.  One such article says that acorns are in a down part of their cycle.  What does that have to do with ticks? Field mice eat acorns and without that food source, their populations could diminish.  Deer ticks often get their first blood meal from mice. With less mice, the deer ticks will need to search out other sources, including humans, for their blood meals.

In that case the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may be sound advice.

Professor of Entomology Says Warm Winter Likely Will Result in More Ticks and Mosquitoes

February 15, 2012

An article  on CNYcentral.com indicates that the warm winter we are experiencing in 2011-2012 will cause an “explosion of ticks and mosquitoes.”  The article quotes Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, a professor of entomology and a specialist with the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program. She says that if the  winter remains mild “This year, lots and lots of hungry ticks will emerge even on warm winter days. I anticipate the mosquito problems we normally see to be much more intense and begin earlier than usual if the weather continues to be mild. Even the fleas have had a boost so far this winter and many people are complaining about flea problems right now, in the middle of winter.”  Professor Gnagloff-Kaufmann is not the only authority to say that a mild winter will mean more ticks and mosquitoes.  In 2006, the Associated Press reported that experts in New Hampshire said “The wet fall followed by a mild winter tends to mean more mosquitoes, he said. A rainy spring would make things worse.”   Most people remember that the fall of 2011 was very wet in Frederick, MD and this has been a mild winter.  Be prepared for lots of ticks and mosquitoes in the region.  Our pest control solution has proven to be effective in controlling those and other insects.

Ticks in The City of Frederick

May 25, 2010

I was out working in the area just below Hood College in Frederick, MD.  We met a woman who lives on West College Terrace between Hood College and Baker Park.  She told us that just the day before she had a tick on her.  She pointed out that she does not exactly live in the country and had not been out of her yard.  Many people think that ticks are just in the country, but the reality is that ticks go where blood meals take them.  If a field mouse, squirrel or other small animal can get into your yard or house it can take a tick with it.  Not only is it unpleasant to find a blood sucking insect on you, but in this case they are causing a rapid spread of Lyme disease in the Frederick county area.