Mosquito Guide 2016- What You Need To Know

mosquitosWith the mosquito populations worse than they have ever been, and the recent media firestorm surrounding the Zika virus, 2016 is proving to be the year of the mosquito. In fact, Bulwark Exterminating is being flooded with daily calls from people looking for relief from these pesky, blood-sucking pests.

The truth is that these pests are a major concern due to the diseases they transmit how they can negatively affect an economy by preventing outdoor recreation and production due to their significant annoyance.

The good news is that mosquitoes can be successfully managed through diligent efforts from both property owners and pest management professionals.

Here’s what you need to know about these annoying yet dangerous pests; your 2016 mosquito guide:

Understanding The Mosquito Basics

Arm_MosquitoBoth male and female adult mosquitoes feed on the nectar from plants to obtain nutrients to survive. Female mosquitoes also require the protein found in the blood of animals to support the production of eggs. Male mosquitoes do not require blood meals and therefor do not bite. Between the many species of mosquitoes, females can feed on human and animal blood both day and night.

Mosquito eggs must be laid in standing water to develop, and the eggs typically tend to hatch in just 1 to 3 days. Any object that is capable of retaining water for seven or more days is a potential production site for mosquitoes. This may include cans, rain barrels, and old tires. Under optimum conditions, a female mosquito can produce 50-500 eggs in her first brood.

Diseases Transmitted By Mosquitoes

It is said that mosquitoes pose a greater threat to human health and existence than any other animal worldwide. Malaria and Yellow Fever account for about 1,060,000 deaths per year worldwide. Although these diseases rarely occur in the US, these numbers are rising and outbreaks are expanding.

Some diseases that occur in the US as a result of mosquito bites include:

  • West Nile Virus – Few cases have caused fatal neurological disease in humans.
  • Zika Fever – A disease that can cause birth defects in pregnant women.
  • Dengue – An illness caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. Causes flu like symptoms and in rare cases leads to death.

What’s All This About Zika?

Virus_Spreads_NewspaperZika virus has gained an increasing foothold across the Americas and Pacific islands. The virus, which is transmitted mainly via mosquitoes, is part of a group of viruses closely related to other mosquito-borne infections, including dengue, West Nile, and yellow fever. They’re geographically in similar areas, and they also have many of the same symptoms.

Once infected with Zika, only about 20% of people ever show symptoms of the virus, which most commonly include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

There is no vaccine or treatment available for the virus. One reason Zika is troubling is because it is a cause of birth defects including microcephaly (a condition where the baby’s head is abnormally small) in babies whose mothers have had Zika. The virus also been linked to a neurological condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Successful Mosquito Reduction: Inspection

Finding the areas where mosquitoes lay eggs is the crucial first step in controlling mosquitoes. Without treating or eliminating the source, mosquitoes will continue to be an ongoing battle.

Key inspection sites include:

  • Ornamental ponds and natural bodies of water
  • Green pools
  • Containers/flower pots and discarded items that may be holding water
  • Rain gutters and crawl spaces
  • Old car tires
  • Landscaping and irrigation systems
  • Bird baths/fountains
  • Holes in trees
  • Buckets/tub
  • Wheel barrels

Essentially, any location capable of holding standing water for seven or more days is a potential production site for mosquitoes. Unneeded water receptacles should be emptied and discarded if possible.

Successful Mosquito Reduction: Treatment

A two method approach consisting of larvacide mosquito dunks combined with a standard barrier treatment is required to significantly reduce the mosquito population on your property.

A close up shot of the common pest mosquito, Aedes vexans, resting on the water it just emerged from.  Below the water surface are several pupae waiting to emerge.

Larvicide Mosquito Dunks

Larvacide mosquito dunks are an insecticide which is specifically targeted for the larval life stage of an insect. A tablet is introduced into the stagnant water where mosquito larvae are found. These mosquito dunks treat the ponds and/or other standing water sources, preventing mosquito larvae from growing into breeding, biting, adults.

Barrier Treatment

Thick vegetation around a home can provide excellent resting sites for many mosquito species. Mosquitoes roost on the underside of leaves. Mosquito fogging is very effective method of leaving a residual product on the underside of leaves. By fogging the undersides of bushes and trees with a specialized pest control fogger with a combination of specific mosquito control product leaves a lasting residual where adult mosquitoes roost.  Additionally, these products will also be picked up by the adults and transferred to water sites when eggs are laid. This will kill off adult mosquitoes and help halt the local population’s reproduction cycle.

Permanent Mosquito Control

Mosquito_SwarmThe unfortunate truth is that mosquitoes can travel up to five miles looking for a blood meal. While taking the above treatment methods will drastically decrease the number of mosquitoes you’ll see in your home and on your property, a neighborhood effort must be made to rid yourself of them completely. Work with your neighbors to eliminate standing water on their property. Things like un-kept pools can be brought to the attention of local community agencies and HOA’s so they may be addressed.

Through diligent efforts from both property owners and pest management professionals, mosquitoes can be successfully managed.

Concerns Over Aerial Spraying For Mosquitoes

Much of the United States has been under attack by mosquitoes, and experts believe the mosquito problem is going to get worse. These mosquito attacks have many people worried because of the possibility of a West Nile Virus infection. CNN reports, this year’s West Nile Virus outbreak is the largest the United States has ever seen since the disease was first discovered in 1999. The state of Texas has been hit the hardest these last couple years, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that almost 80 percent of the nation’s reported West Nile cases are from the Lonestar state.

Aerial spraying for mosquitoes is a common and effective way to combat mosquitoes and the spread of West Nile Virus. Dropping pesticides from the sky raises many concerns and questions, including possible reaction to DUET.

DUET Reactions

West_Nile_Virus_SignThe pesticide that is being drop sprayed to combat the mosquito population is called DUET. The most common reaction upon DUET exposure is a prickling or burning sensation on your skin. Other reactions can consist of a tearing in your eyes or blurred vision, and respiratory irritation if you inhale it.

Who’s Most at Risk?

It’s hard to predict what kind of reactions, if any, people will have to the pesticides, but people that already have allergies, lung disease, lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory infections are more at risk. Pregnant women also need to take added precautions. Although it’s not time to panic, health professionals are urging the public to take certain precautions throughout this process.

Aerial Spraying Precautions

  • Stay inside until it settles—usually a couple of hours
  • Bring pets inside
  • If your real sensitive to chemicals, leave town
  • Don’t wear the shoes you wear outside, inside your home for a few days
  • Wash vehicles, toys, patio furniture, pet bowls, fruits, and vegetables.

Pest Control Console

If you are concerned about the DUET pesticide, the West Nile Virus, or mosquitoes on your property, contact a pest control professional today for more information.

Top 5 Best & Worst Mosquito Repellants

Mosquito repellantThursday is the Fourth of July! It’s a time we will gather together with our families and friends; celebrating living in the world’s best country. We will commemorate our nation’s independence by waving flags at parades, cooling off in swimming pools, woofing down tons of hotdogs and potato salad at BBQ’s, and cap the day off by lighting or watching vibrant fireworks.

With all of the day’s festivities, the last thing you want to worry about is blood-sucking pests like mosquitoes and ticks. One of the best ways to keep these irritating bugs from ruining your holiday is to wear a good insect repellant when you are outdoors. With so many bug sprays on the market today, we are all left wondering which ones work the best; and which ones will simply drain our wallets and offer no relieve from flying pests.

Here are the top five best and worst mosquito repellants:

Top 5 Best Mosquito Repellants

Consumer Reports recently released their ranking for the best mosquito repellants on the market today. Factors used to determine the mosquito repellant rankings include: cost per ounce, percentage of active ingredient (DEET) hours of effectiveness, and damage to materials. Here are the rankings:

 

Best Mosquito Repellants
Best Mosquito Repellants

 

Note: Only four of the top five mosquito repellants offered protection for eight hours or more. Non-coincidently, these four repellants also contained the active ingredient DEET in varying levels; the most effective mosquito repellant on the market.

Top 5 Worst Mosquito Repellants

GoodGuide also recently released their mosquito repellant rankings based on health, environment, and society factors. They count the number of ingredients in each product that are categorized as low, medium or high health concern; and then factor in other negative information (such as regulatory restrictions) and any available positive information (such as third-party certifications) to assign product scores. Here are the five worst mosquito products as determined by GoodGuide:

 

Worst Mosquito Repellants
Worst Mosquito Repellants

 

Note: It’s important to note that all of the tested products will keep the mosquitoes from biting if you’re going to be outside for only a short period of time. Look for a highly rated product to protect you on longer excursions.

How Mosquito Repellants Were Tested

For these insect repellent reviews, courageous testers at an outside lab bared their arms in mosquito-filled cages and also let ticks crawl on them. Scientists recorded how long it took for mosquitoes to start biting and for ticks to crawl over treated areas.

Factors used to determine the mosquito repellant rankings include: cost per ounce, percentage of active ingredient (DEET) hours of effectiveness, damage to materials, and the health, environmental, and social performance of products and companies.

Mosquito_Close-up_Sucking_BloodMosquitoes & West Nile Virus

There are currently some 176 different species of mosquitoes living here in the United States; all sharing one common characteristic… They are irritating! One common misconception about mosquitoes is that they all bite and suck blood. The truth is, it’s only the adult female mosquitoes that have a long piercing mouthpart needed to suck blood. She does so in order to provide for her future brood of mosquitoes. Males differ from females by having feathery antennae and mouthparts not suitable for piercing skin. A mosquito’s principal food is nectar or similar sugar source.

One unfortunate characteristic about the mosquito is that they can carry the deadly West Nile Virus. The Center for Disease Control urges the public to take precautions when outdoors. Make sure you wear an insect repellent with DEET; dress in clothing that covers as much skin as possible, and completely avoid the outdoors between dusk and dawn if at all possible.

To stop mosquitoes from breeding on your property, make sure to eliminate any standing water like in puddles, in kiddie pools, in tire swings, and in bird fountains. The easiest way to remove mosquitoes on your property is to kill their larva. Mosquito dunks, or larvicides, are dropped into water killing larva and stopping mosquitoes from laying their eggs. Treatments last for 30 days and cover 100 square feet regardless of depth. Pest control professionals can also spray your property frequently to help control the mosquito population.

 

Have a happy and mosquito free Fourth of July!

 

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Before BBQ Season

Exterme_Close-Up_Mosquito_Sucking_Blood

BBQ season is just around the corner, if not in full swing for some families. With hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, and watermelon on the table, it is no wonder that mosquitoes want to be a part of the party. Let your guests enjoy their meal pest free and rid your yard of mosquitoes with these easy techniques that will prove to be a lifesaver. There are many things to briefly eliminate mosquitos such as bug spray and zappers but in order to reduce mosquitos for the entire season, you will probably want to take more drastic measures.

Reduce Their Breeding Ground

Many mosquitos on skin

Reduce the amount of mosquitoes that attend your summer Barbeques by getting rid of their breeding grounds—stagnant water! After heavy rainfall, backyard accessories such as bird baths can fill up with water, attracting the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. Once you notice water building up in your backyard accessories, empty them immediately in order to alleviate the problem. If your home has a pond, there are solutions you can mix in with the water which will help reduce mosquito breeding that can be found at home improvement centers.

Citronella

Citronella Candle

Citronella candles are coming back in a big way. Not only are they sold in cute designer inspired containers but they also don’t smell terribly. In fact, a lot of the citronella aroma is covered up by other scents such as vanilla, berry, or coconut. However, don’t let the smell fool you because it will still keep the mosquitos away.

Lemongrass

Lemon grass in the garden

Lemongrass is a natural mosquito repellent and can be disguised in your garden by other plants. The citronella oil in the plant will keep mosquitoes out of your garden and away from your BBQ. Lemongrass requires a large amount of sunshine and can be planted virtually anywhere in your yard.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosemary’s double duties prove to be tasty in BBQ recipes and can be used as a form of bug repellent. Much like lemongrass, rosemary is a great natural mosquito repellent that can be planted in large pots and placed close to where guests sit.

Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael has a large amount of experience that spans from working for Long Island exterminator to freelance writing.

This Week’s Pest Control News

news

Pest Control Held to New Standards

New legislation has been passed in Annapolis, MD banning toxic pesticides within 25 feet of schools, daycares, government buildings, and waterways. Starting July 1, 2013 pesticides will only be used in emergency infestations. This new legislation is following the same pest control approach of other cities like nearby Washington, DC.

http://annapolis.patch.com/articles/pest-control-held-to-new-standards-by-council

Parasites and Products

Here is a great blog on what the pest control industry is using to treat tick and fleas. Some Pyrethroids like Permethrin are working well for fleas as well as ticks. The article emphasizes customer preparation and education.

http://brownpestcontrol.com/aug-21-2012-parasites-and-products/

Don’t Let Bedbugs Ruin Your Vacation

Our Pest Control Atlanta friends give us some great pointers on the steps we need to take to prevent bringing those pesky bedbugs home with us while on vacation.

http://pestcontrolatlantaga.com/2012/08/dont-let-bedbugs-ruin-your-vacation/

Flea Prevention Tips For Families

Here is a good read on the life-cycle of fleas, and how they can be prevented.

http://www.modernpest.com/blog/flea-prevention-tips-for-new-england-families/

Brown Recluse Spiders In The News

The drought and heat are forcing spiders, like the poisonous Brown Recluse, into our homes. We don’t need to be afraid of this home invasion, but the article does offer some helpful preventative measures we all can take.

http://lennyspestcontrol.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/brown-recluse-spiders-in-the-news/

Cash-Strapped States Needing More Mosquito Control

Mosquito Alert
Mosquito Alert (Photo credit: Travis S.)

 

The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) is growing more and more concerned about the level of mosquito control as state budgets shrink. Cash-strapped states face financial hardships due to the extensive wildfires this summer, leaving many mosquito control districts with a bigger job to do and fewer financial resources.

 

Mosquito Control Districts

Mosquito Control Districts are government agencies that promote health and well being by protecting the public from disease and annoyance caused by mosquitoes. Districts are governed by a Board of Trustees, each representing one of the incorporated cities or counties within the District’s boundaries. Each Trustee is appointed by a City Council Member or by a County Board of Supervisors.

 

West Nile Virus

The frightening increase of West Nile cases across the country is major reason the AMCA is alarmed about the lack of state’s financial resources for mosquito control. West Nile Virus cases are at their highest levels since 2004, with 241 documented cases across the country. Of the 241 cases, 26 people have died as a direct result of their West Nile infection.

 

“It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years,” said Marc Fischer, a CDC medical epidemiologist. “Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nilevirus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family.”

 

For more on The West Nile Virus spikes: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/15/dallas-mayor-declares-emergency-as-west-nile-virus-spreads/

 

What it means for the Pest Control Industry

With the increase of West Nile activity, and the lack of funding for government sponsored mosquito control districts, the general public must rely on the pest control industry to help with the crisis. Marketing efforts must increase in the 42 states West Nile cases have been documented, along with educating the public about the dangers of the deadly virus.

 

Help get the word out!

 

For more information visit Mosquito.org

West Nile Virus found in Nature Preserve in Los Angeles County

West Nile VirusIf you live in most of the southwest, you might be surprised to hear that the West Nile Virus has just been found in Los Angeles County. Unfortunately, mosquitoes with the West Nile Virus have been plaguing the Phoenix area for years. According to the Daily Breeze, Mosquitos carrying the West Nile Virus have been found at Torrance’s Madrona Marsh nature Preserve. Two men recently tested positive for the virus and several dead birds were found to have the virus.

According to the article, the reports are more frequent than normal and the outbreak is considered an epidemic since there have been more reports this year than there have been since the virus outbreak in 2004. The outbreak might be due to an especially wet winter followed by a warm summer.

Although the virus can be deadly to animals, it is usually not fatal to humans. Those who are in poor health or the elderly can be at risk but for most, the virus only causes flu-like symptoms. Park officials are getting the word out that the virus has been found in the area and they are doing what they can to kill many of the mosquitoes; mainly cutting back the vegetation and eliminating standing water.