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.

3 Pests That Can Ruin Your Fourth Of July

Fourth_Of_July_Family

Among all of your festive Fourth of July BBQ’s, fireworks, pool parties, and parades can lurk unanticipated nuisances that may very well wreak havoc on the day’s festivities (and I’m not talking about your Uncle Roger who drinks too much). I’m talking of course about bugs!

Here are three such nuisances, or outdoor pests, that can ruin your Fourth of July holiday:

Yellow Jackets

Wasps_On_Watermelon

One of the most popular Fourth of July activities are family picnics or barbeques. In fact, Last July 4th some 78 million Americans had a barbecue; grilling everything from hotdogs, to hamburgers, to shish kabobs. The sweet watermelon and sticky sodas draw in unwanted pests to your barbeques or picnics… Stinging pests!

Feeding on foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates (fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap), the Yellowjacket wasp also feeds on proteins (insects, meats, fish, etc.). So that means that just about anything you’ll eat on the Fourth of July can draw in yellowjackets. Building their nests in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside human-made structures, yellowjacket nests expand rather rapidly with as many as 5,000 stinging wasp members. The worst thing about these flying pests? All female members of the species are able to sting multiple times, causing incredible pain to anyone who has been stung.

Be on the lookout for their nests before you set out the day’s yummy food. If you do find a nest, keep away, and get a professional wasp removal service.

Fire Ants

Hands In Ant Nest

“The Red Coats are coming!!!”  “The Red Coats are coming!!!”

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode from Boston to Lexington and Concord, screaming “the Red Coats are coming,” warning patriots that the red clad British army was marching. Some 238 years later a different kind of Red Coat is coming; a Red Coat that is malicious and spiteful just like a British soldier.

I’m talking, of course, about the Red Imported Fire ant and if you live anywhere in the Southern United States you are very familiar with their tactics. Their mounds can be huge, and if disturbed, hundreds of these stinging ants can come pouring out looking to violently defend their queen (much like the British Army did back in 1775). These extremely painful stings will cause welts on the skin and in rare cases even cause death. To top it all off, these ants may be on the move this July Fourth, looking for your food.

If you have Fire Ant mounds in or around your home or property, get professional Fire Ant control.

Mosquitoes

Many mosquitos on skin

The most prevalent Fourth of July pest is the blood-sucking mosquito, and they just happen to be the most active during the dawn and dusk hours; the exact times you will be outdoors for parades and fireworks. Female mosquitoes feed on the blood of the living, and can transmit extremely harmful or even deadly diseases like West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever. Some authorities even argue that mosquitoes are the most deadly animals on earth.

Since September 2012, the Center for Disease Control reports some 3,142 cases of the West Nile virus disease in people, including 134 deaths. These numbers continue to grow. Don’t add to them this Independence Day. Make sure you wear mosquito repellant with DEET while you are outside celebrating.

Happy July 4th!

All of us bug guys here at blogpestcontrol.com and Bulwark Exterminating would like to wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day! Spend some time with family and friends, eat way too much potato salad, marvel at the stunning firework shows, and reflect on all of the blessings that are bestowed upon us as we live in the greatest country on Earth! Happy July 4th!

 

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!

 

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

This Week’s Pest Control News

West Nile Virus at Highest Level Since 2004 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more then 240 people have been infected with the West Nile Virus so far this year.  This is the highest number since 2004. Almost 80 percent of the reported cases are from Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.

To help keep mosquitoes off your property, contact your local pest control company.

Ochlerotatus notoscriptus, Tasmania, Australia

West Nile Virus Found in New York

The Oswego County (NY) Health Department has confirmed the diagnosis of two more cases of West Nile Virus. The dangerous virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can be mistaken for the flu. Symptoms include fever, headaches, rashes, and body aches.

Pest control professionals urge the use of repellents containing DEET, and to also limit your outdoor activity between dusk and dawn. Make sure to eliminate any stagnant water around your property because that’s where mosquitoes will often lay their eggs.

 

Record Heat Kicks Insects into High Gear 

It’s been no secret that this year has been this country’s hottest year on record, and don’t think the bugs haven’t noticed. Grasshoppers, ants, bees, and crickets are thriving– doing a number on this country’s crops and gardens.

To find out why check out: http://servallpestcontrol.blogspot.com/2012/08/bugs-like-it-hot-record-heat-kicks.html

 

Clothing Moth Capabilities  

Clothing moths are notorious for chewing holes in your clothing. These moths are particularly attracted to dirty, sweaty, or otherwise moist fabrics. They prefer low light conditions unlike many other moths which are drawn to light.

For some of these moth’s capabilities check out: http://brownpestcontrol.com/aug-7-2012-clothes-moth-capabilities/

 

Lone Star Tick Bites can lead to a Red Meat Allergy 

It’s well known that tick bites can cause Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but did you know that they can give you an allergy to red meat?

Check out: http://www.holidaypestcontrol.com/blog/tick-bites-and-red-meat-allergy/

 

 

Lone-star
Lone-star (Photo credit: joshuallen)