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Blog | February 2013

Are Mosquitoes Immune to Deet?

For years experts have recommended anyone spending time outdoors to apply deet to the skin to ward off mosquitoes. A new study, however, is finding that mosquitoes aren’t as repelled by deet as we thought.

Deet was first created by US Military during World War II and in 1957 was introduced to American households. The oil is a main ingredient in most bug sprays and is said to protect against mosquito and tick bites when applied to the skin. The bugs are supposedly repelled by the smell and back away when introduced to it.

Deet, in some areas, is becoming less effective against mosquito bites. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine decided to test the theory that mosquitoes become immune to deet. As Dr. James Logan from the school explains; “The more we can understand about how repellents work and how mosquitoes detect them, the better we can work out ways to get around the problem when they do become resistant to repellents.”

In the test, a (very nice) volunteer offered his/her arm to mosquitoes after it has been sprayed with deet. At first, the mosquitoes wouldn’t bite the arm (nor did they die). However, when they were given another chance just a few hours later, the deet didn’t stop them from biting. They smell of the product didn’t seem to bother them enough to stay away from the treated arm.

Dr. Logan explains that more research is needed to truly understand how the mosquitoes’ reaction can change so drastically in a short amount of time, but hopes that it will lead to better mosquito control options.

Deet is a strong chemical that when used incorrectly can be damaging. If you use the product, please refer to the EPA’s page on deet and how it should be applied.

I personally have never liked the smell of bug spray. Although I would put it on before hiking or walking in the woods, I always showered as soon as I could to get the stench off. At Mosquito Squad, we do not provide topical mosquito control or repellent, but instead protect against mosquitoes by treating vegetation. Our spray kills mosquitoes on contact and continues to protect for up to 21 days. We do suggest applying some kind of bug spray to the body when spending times in untreated areas, but it’s not needed in your Mosquito Squad protected yard.

While we can’t guarantee that you will never see a mosquito on your property, we do guarantee your satisfaction with our service. If you aren’t happy with the reduction in your mosquito population, Mosquito Squad is happy to come out and respray your property. Contact your local office to schedule your first application.

Mosquito Control Products – do they work?

With the increase of vector borne diseases, utilizing mosquito control is an important part of your outdoor living experience. No one likes to be bitten by mosquitoes, but they are not only annoying, but dangerous. Last year the United States had an outbreak of West Nile Virus that impacted many states.

Every day it seems like there is a new mosquito control product that promises to protect you and your family against mosquitoes, but we all know that not every products works. People have varying success with candles, sprays, phone applications (really?) and other tricks that you hear about. The key to mosquito control, as we at Mosquito Squad try to teach, is integrated pest management. Using a mosquito control repellent once, while it may help for the moment, will not help fight the overarching issue – you have mosquitoes in your yard.

The EPA has a page on Integrated Pest Management that focuses more on pest management for farmers, however the same principles apply to your yard, just on a smaller scale. Here are the 4 steps of IPM:

1 – Set Action Thresholds. The threshold is when you decide that action is needed. One bite may not mean that you need professional mosquito control. For me, my threshold is not being able to be outside comfortably without bites for a half hour.

2 – Monitor and Identify Pest. This step is much more complicated at the commercial level, but for the homeowner, not so much. Take notice of the bugs that are bothering you. Are they mosquitoes? Ticks?

3 – Prevention. This is the first step of mosquito control in the yard. For the homeowner, prevention includes what you can do to your property to help prevent mosquitoes. The best way to prevent mosquito population increases is to stop them from breeding and reaching maturity. Mosquitoes breed and mature in standing water. Make a note to get rid of any puddles on your property or tip over anything that holds water (like toys and dog dishes) at least once a week.

4 – Control. After trying to prevent mosquitoes, if it hasn’t stopped the problem, it’s time to control them using a professional mosquito control product. At Mosquito Squad, we treat the areas that mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. The mosquitoes are killed on contact and future pests, when they come to feed on the treated vegetation, they will ingest the product and die. One treatment lasts for up to 21 days.

All four steps of IPM are important, that’s why most mosquito control products on the market truly don’t work. The only include one step (and do that poorly most of the time).

If you have questions on IPM, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.

Mosquitoes vs. the Winter – Who Wins?

It’s February, wintertime, and last week I saw a mosquito, in my house! I have no idea where the bugger came from (it didn’t last long), but it got me thinking. I have never seen a mosquito in the winter before now, where are they? The answer: not far away.

It is true that adult mosquitoes that find themselves in the harsh winter elements, specifically freezing temperatures will die, but those that get out of the elements can survive. The majority of male mosquitoes die in the winter months, but the females don’t. Females and their eggs go into a phase of hibernation called diapause.

Let’s cover the mosquito eggs first. Mosquitoes need water to lay eggs and for those eggs to develop. While the eggs can’t advance through the larva and pupa phases of development in cold temperatures and ice, they can be frozen. When the areas they were laid in thaw and are flooded in the spring, development will begin again. Mosquito eggs are hearty and live up to 7 years and still hatch if conditions become conducive again.

Diapause is a form of hibernation that delays development. After laying eggs in the fall months, female mosquitoes find places that are hidden and protected from the elements, which could include drains, hollow logs, sheds, attics and basements. During diapause, they’ll live off of fat reserves they build up much like bears do. As temperatures rise, the females will once again become active and look to lay eggs in standing water. Those that find their way into the home for diapause can become confused and wake when temperatures in the home make subtle changes. This is most likely what happened with the mosquito that I saw.

The best way to protect yourself and your yard from mosquitoes in the spring is to stop the eggs that have already been laid (and those in future) from reaching maturity. To do that, you have to get rid of the standing water on your property. At Mosquito Squad, we teach the 5Ts of mosquito control. They are simple, easy to remember and we’ve taken it once step further and created the video below to help homeowners remember how to fight the bite!

West Nile and Mosquito Control

When a new season starts for Mosquito Squad, I tend to think about the year and season that just past. What happened? What were people talking about? 2012 was the season of West Nile. In July, August and September, you couldn’t go a day without seeing an article with new West Nile numbers in the news. Corporately, we saw more people emailing us about how to protect themselves at the end of summer than ever before.

West Nile Virus is a dangerous disease transmitted through infected mosquitoes. The symptoms, like many other vector borne diseases, mirror those of the flu. Fever, joint pain, headache and fatigue are common amongst patients. While most people with West Nile never display symptoms, other can become extremely ill or even die. The best way to protect yourself against the disease is to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

As we enter 2013, we at Mosquito Squad hope that more homeowners recognize the importance of mosquito control before we start to hear about a West Nile epidemic again. Mosquito control isn’t only about having a mosquito free yard, but more importantly about protecting you, your family and your pets from the diseases they carry. Our teams protect against the annoying pests through our barrier spray. The spray is applied to vegetation where the mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. It kills mosquitoes on contact and continues to protect the property for up to 21 days.

Following a year that brought out a lot of mosquitoes and cases of vector borne disease, we recommend ensuring you or your municipality are protecting the outdoor areas you frequent. Our season long package makes sure that your yard is protected every 3 weeks without you having to worry abut it.

If you want to learn more about our mosquito control options, including an all natural option, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

Vexing the Vectors with Mosquito Treatment for the Yard

A vector, in biological terms, refers to an organism that can transmit pathogens from one infected individual to another. Mosquitoes are the deadliest vectors on earth, as their rampant feeding activities can quickly spread dangerous epidemics such as malaria and the West Nile virus. While mosquito bites are, at the least, irritating and itchy, the ailments they bring can pose significant health risks. As such, one shouldn’t hesitate to eliminate mosquitoes in and around the home.

Stopping mosquito attacks, however, is easier said than done; these pests proliferate rather quickly wherever there’s a body of stagnant water. It can be nearly impossible to overturn or prevent any water from collecting outdoors, especially during heavy rainfall. All hope isn’t lost, though. It’s still possible to implement potent mosquito treatment for a yard that can stop those vile bloodsuckers from invading your home.

Aside from depriving mosquitoes of their habitats, you might want to consider other creative ways to control mosquito populations. Fumigation is a well-known tactic designed to literally smoke out the pests from their nests. Another strategy is to introduce natural predators like goldfish, dragonflies, and even frogs that are known to feed upon mosquitoes and their larvae.

Repellents and insecticide can also keep mosquitoes under control.. While quite effective, however, some of these chemical solutions contain toxic ingredients that are dangerous to humans and pets. In addition, certain mosquito breeds have developed immunity to some pesticides. Thus, be sure to choose home insect repellent solutions wisely.

For a sensible and non-toxic mosquito control method, you can deploy mosquito misting devices that disperse all-natural repellent spray around the house. These products are best installed by professional mosquito control companies like Mosquito Squad. Such specialists know the proper techniques and equipment necessary to keep mosquito populations well under control. The effects of most professionally applied mosquito repellent spray can often last for days, thus, ensuring thorough mosquito-killing power and lasting protection for your family.

Mosquitoes might be small, but the diseases they carry are anything but. It might seem like an uphill battle trying to completely rid a property of mosquitoes, but with efficient anti-mosquito systems, this task is not at all impossible. Trust companies like Mosquito Squad to keep your home protected from nasty little skeeters.

Beating the Bloodsuckers with Reliable Mosquito Protection

It’s a well-known fact that mosquitoes can be bearers of deadly diseases. Mosquitoes don’t necessarily contract the ailments they carry, but their bloodsucking activities facilitate the propagation of the transmittable diseases from one victim to another. On top of transferring diseases, mosquitoes can also introduce parasites into the bloodstream of their hosts.

The importance of keeping out mosquitoes as a public health measure can’t be stressed enough. While not all mosquito species bear sickness and malady, it’s better to be safe than sorry. To that end, it is wise to invest in proper mosquito protection methods to stave off diseases like west nile, encephalitis, and dengue fever.

People resort to various ways to fight the mosquito menace, and one of the most basic methods is to reduce the amount of stagnant water around one’s home. Stagnant water sources can be found in a number of sites, such as pools, ponds, bird baths, gaping tree holes, and even leaky pipes. To deprive mosquitoes of their breeding sites, it is necessary to secure gutters, ponds, or any objects that can collect rainwater.

Another way to curb mosquito attacks is to bring in their natural predators. Dragonflies and frogs can hunt down mosquitoes and thin their numbers to a significant margin. You can also populate ponds with certain fish species such as catfish, goldfish, and betta fish to eliminate floating mosquito larvae.

The most effective way to block off and terminate these flying bloodsuckers is to install a thorough mosquito misting system available from companies such as Mosquito Squad. The idea is to mount a series of misting devices that disperse standard or all-natural mosquito repellent around a specific area at automatic intervals. With such a system in place, you can pretty much secure your entire property from frequent mosquito attacks and thereby sleep more soundly.

Due to their role as vectors for deadly diseases, mosquitoes have posed significant threats to humanity for thousands of years. Since mosquitoes threaten to attack when you least expect it, you may want to seriously consider solutions such as the abovementioned misting system to keep your entire household well-protected against mosquitoes. Count on companies like Mosquito Squad to provide such viable solutions.

More than just a Mosquito Control Company

Last week brought the majority of our Mosquito Squad owners all under one roof. The Outdoor Living Brands annual meeting took place in Charleston, South Carolina and included two and half days of meetings on everything from sales and marketing to technology and business management.

The energy in the Mosquito Squad room was great and truly solidified that it is much more than a mosquito control company. The local owners are so passionate about what they do and want to be different than other companies out there. And they are different!

Customer service has always driven the Mosquito Squad system. Not only do we want to rid our clients’ yards of mosquitoes, but we want to do it promptly and professionally. Mosquito Squad owners from all over country shared how they go above and beyond the expected and make it exceptional. Our clients were the centerpiece of the meeting: “how can we improve their experience with our brand?” From peer panels and group discussions, it was all about our clients.

Another part of the annual meeting that stood out to me centered around our partnership with Malaria No More. Malaria No More, if you aren’t aware, is a GREAT organization whose goal is to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. When they started their mission, a child died in Africa from malaria every thirty seconds. Now, it has cut in half down to a minute, but there is still a ton of work to be done. At the annual meeting, our franchisees discussed how they can do more. They understand the importance of giving back, both locally and internationally.

When you are considering working with a professional mosquito control company, I hope you consider the wonderful owners I have the pleasure of working with everyday. They are passionate about providing their clients with outdoor living spaces they can truly enjoy.

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* Tick control not available in MI without a license