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Blog | September 2013

Enjoying the Fall? Don’t Forget About Ticks

Fall is my favorite season. The beautiful color changes of the leaves and the comfortable temperatures call me to the outdoors. From hiking and apple picking to hunting and outdoor festivals, there is always something to do outdoors in the autumn months. As you enjoy the fall, we at Mosquito Squad urge you to be aware that those dangerous pests are still out and active.

A common misconception is that ticks aren’t active in the fall. And while ticks do become less active as the weather turns cooler, they are known to bite and transmit disease through late October (later in some areas of the country).

Ticks are found all over the United States, with the black-legged species (or deer tick) transmitting the majority of tick-borne illnesses, mainly Lyme disease. If you are spending time outdoors this fall, and we hope you are, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Wear long sleeved, loose shirts and pants in a light color. Hunters may need to wear camouflage, but the majority of us can decrease our chances of getting bit by a tick just by wearing lighting colored clothing and being aware. Ticks are both small and dark. You may not notice the small fleck that is a tick nymph on a black jacket, for instance, but you may see it on a light blue shirt.

Wipe off your clothing before going inside. This may sound odd, but it is important if you’ve spent time outdoors in an area where ticks may be active. Ticks are incredibly resilient and can live in a dormant state for close to a year’s time. What does that mean exactly? If you are wearing a jacket, put it through the wash and then into a drawer for next season, a tick could still be alive on that jacket and ready to bite next year.

Hot water is your friend when it comes to ticks. Due to their resiliency, ticks can be difficult to kill. When laundering clothes that you’ve worn outside, wash and dry on the hottest settings. Ticks can survive through the laundry, but are less likely to with hot water and air.

Apply a repellent to your exposed skin and clothing. At Mosquito Squad, we provide our clients with effective tick control on their properties, but that can’t protect them when they leave their yards. Applying a repellent will keep the ticks away.

And, as always, do a full body tick check after coming inside. Ticks are small little buggers and can make their way up a pant leg or sleeve pretty easily without being noticed. It’s good practice to do a thorough tick check any time you have spent time outdoors. If you do have a tick on you, remove it promptly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme later on.

Mosquitoes top the list of most worrisome pest

At Mosquito Squad, we pride ourselves on ridding our clients’ properties of mosquitoes and ticks so they can enjoy the outdoors without space. Mosquitoes, as we know, are not only annoying, but dangerous and a new survey done by The National Pest Management Association is showing just how worrisome they are.

In the study conducted by Harris Interactive, American’s were asked what pests worry them the most in the summer, including mosquitoes, ticks, stinging instead (like hornets and bees), spiders and bed bugs. 62% said they were concerned with mosquitoes, followed by 38% worried about stinging insects and 30% concerned about ticks.

Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, doesn’t seem to be too surprised by the findings: “It’s no wonder mosquitoes are of most concern for the public, considering last year was one of the deadliest West Nile virus seasons on record, with 286 fatal cases reported to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.” Source.

54% of respondents said that they are concerned about contracting disease from summer pests, follow by 43% worried about pain associated with a sting and 35% concerned about a pest infestation in their home.

Henriksen explains that the risks associated with summer pests are still a concern; “mosquitoes and stinging insects are very active up until the late fall, around October. It’s important for people to take proper precautions when spending time outdoors, especially amid concerns over [West Nile virus] and reports of increased cases of Lyme disease.”

Depending on the area of the country, our Mosquito Squad locations are providing tick and mosquito control applications through the end of October, beginning of November. As long as our clients are being bothered by mosquitoes, we will be there to help get rid of them.

The key to protecting yourself against vector-borne diseases is to protect yourself from the pests that transmit them. Getting rid of standing water on your property, for example, is a great way to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. Mosquitoes, in general, don’t venture far from where they first hatched.

The survey also showed that women were more concerned about pests during the summer months. 87% of women noted that they were concerned about pests, while 82% of them stated their concerns.

Americans with children are more concerned about summer pests than those without at 90% and 82% respectively.

If you are like the majority of people out there that are concerned with mosquitoes and ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office. We will work with your to find a tick and mosquito control option that will work for you.

Combat the West Nile Virus Using Mosquito Misting Systems at Home

According to, mosquito pools collected from the Fenway neighborhood tested positive for the dreaded West Nile virus. Other neighborhoods in Boston where mosquito pools tested positive include West Roxbury, Hyde Park, and Roslindale. Thankfully, there have been no cases of mosquito-related diseases reported from these areas, at least so far. In light of these results, the city government encourages its citizens to take extra precautions, both indoors and outdoors, as local mosquito control programs work towards eliminating the threat.

Some of these precautions involve installing mosquito misting systems at residential homes. Mosquito Squad has an effective misting system that will eradicate the annoying insects before they can strike. There is no vaccine or medical procedure that can be used to treat West Nile virus, aside from taking preemptive measures against getting mosquito bites. The virus is carried by various species of mosquitoes, like Culex Pipiens, Aedes Vexans, and the infamous “Asian Tiger” mosquito, which is also known to carry dengue virus.

Aside from hiring pest control professionals and choosing mosquito misting system installation, people that live in neighborhoods that tested positive for West Nile virus are advised to use mosquito screens on all of their windows and doors. They are also advised to visit their doctor as soon as possible if they suspect they are infected. People who contract the virus will normally experience headaches, body aches, skin rashes, and fevers, although these symptoms will usually subside over time. The disease can still be fatal if the virus has the chance to reach the brain, which will result in encephalitis and meningitis.

The Smithsonian Institute identified several factors that seem to increase the likelihood of attracting mosquitoes, such as exercising, wearing dark clothing, and drinking beer. The first and the last factors make a lot of sense since these activities increase a person’s body heat and lactic acid content. Those are two things that female mosquitoes look for when prowling for suitable hosts. Keeping this in mind, the Boston Public Health Commission also recommended making simple lifestyle changes to minimize the risk of mosquito bites. You can wear bug repellent, long, dark clothing, and limit your time outdoor during periods when the mosquitos are more prevalent.

Misting systems are certainly the best option for mosquito control, since they can regularly mask a large area with pesticides that will completely deny mosquitoes access to your property. Other anti-mosquito strategies include placing larvicides in sources of stagnant water, which was exactly what was used by the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project.

Although Boston has yet to record an instance of someone contracting the West Nile virus in 2013, people are still advised to remain vigilant. Thankfully pest control services, like Mosquito Squad, are more than willing to help everyone neutralize the presence of mosquitoes in their neighborhood. If everyone in Boston acts fast, these pests can be eliminated before someone actually contracts the virus.

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Hiring Tick Control Specialists Can Help Keep Lyme Disease at Bay

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report stating that Lyme disease has gotten worse in the United States over the past few years. The report was published in the Boston Globe on August 20, 2013, and it indicated that an estimated 300,000 people contract the disease every year, as opposed to the reported 30,000. The CDC hopes the results would encourage the government to provide more funding to Lyme disease research and treatment programs.

Lyme disease was named as such because it was first discovered in Lyme, Connecticut. It is an infection that’s caused by bacteria from tick bites. It most commonly presents itself as a simple rash that could eventually lead to arthritis and headaches, since the bacteria attacks the nervous system. Lyme disease is one reason why professional pest control companies, like Mosquito Squad, also offer tick control services.

Ticks are incredibly hard to neutralize. They are small and easy to miss, plus they can quite literally be found everywhere around you. Although they are more likely to be found in the backwoods and secluded places, ticks can even be found inside a clean and tidy home. They can go anywhere simply by latching onto a passerby like a human or a dog. The misconception that ticks can only be found in the wilderness may also be the reason why most cases of Lyme disease go unreported; people assume it is a simple rash rather than a bacterial infection.

Most of the “new” instances of Lyme disease are centralized in the Northeast, particularly in New England. One way to deal with a tick infestation is to employ reliable yard tick control strategies that will ruin the pests’ natural habitat. Homeowners are also encouraged to tend to their yards and pets regularly, so they can immediately remove any tick larvae that they come across.

The best way to deal with ticks is to hire experienced pest control professionals like Mosquito Squad. Their thoroughness will ensure that no ticks are left behind to cause not only the dangers of Lyme disease, but also Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Tularemia. While state governments like Massachusetts are doing what they can to suppress tick infestations in their jurisdictions, the federal government is still debating whether or not such measures should be employed across the entire country as well.

For now, people can only rely on their own efforts to halt the spread of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. Always remember that a reliable pest control service may be your best hope to completely eradicate ticks and other pests from your life.

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Protecting Your Health with the Aid of Professional Mosquito Control

On August 9, 2013, the US News website published an online article that revolved around the potential risks of the Asian tiger mosquito. This pesky insect has yet to be a carrier of any known viruses in America, but only time will tell if it will become a dangerous threat to the public’s health. Experts are on high alert for when the Asian tiger starts to bear its metaphorical fangs.

Not all mosquitoes are alike and their ability to wreak havoc should never be underestimated. The little bugs are credited with thousands of deaths worldwide because of the extensive variety of fatal and infectious diseases that they can transfer to humans and animals. The Asian tiger mosquito may not be a vector for disease right now, but people should still protect themselves by installing professional mosquito control systems outside their homes.

The Asian tiger mosquito first appeared in America around 1985. It is believed the insect travelled all the way from Asia where it is known as a deadly bearer of numerous illnesses and viruses. This common pest multiplies incredibly quickly and it has already spread across 26 states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, Nebraska, Florida, and California.

Unlike most other breeds of mosquitoes that typically feed from dusk until dawn, the Asian tiger mosquito will attack its victims during the day. Although the American versions of the Asian tiger mosquito have yet to carry any diseases, there’s one very deadly virus that it could potentially adapt to over time: chikungunya. This virus can inflict victims with severe joint pain for many years and there is no definitive cure for this debilitating affliction.

Why wait until these bloodsuckers turn nasty and dangerous? A complete mosquito treatment for the yard and house will keep your property protected from the Asian tiger and any other species of mosquito. If you are interested in some professional help to keep your property secure from pest, there are many preventative measures available from pest control companies like the Mosquito Squad.

The Asian tiger mosquito might be nearly impossible to eradicate from the face of the earth, but people can at least keep the bugs off their porches, decks, and lawns by using the right mosquito control systems. Regardless of what species of mosquito is overwhelming your home, make sure that you have an effective system that will handle any and all mosquito-related threats.

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Effective Mosquito Control Can Help Improve Your Children's Health

A July 25, 2013 article on the USA Today website suggests mosquitoes are denying children outdoor play, which could contribute to the already rising obesity rates. Mosquitoes, particularly those of the Asian tiger variety, breed in such large quantities that they can discourage kids from going outside to play. When the mosquitoes come out during the summer, kids would rather lounge around indoors instead of getting physical activity outside. This can be troubling to parents who want to protect their kids from mosquito-borne diseases, while still encouraging them to be physically active outdoors.

No parent would ever want his or her child to become covered in mosquito bites. Every year these dangerous insects are responsible for thousands of deaths all over the world. That doesn’t mean moms and dads should keep their kids inside out of fear. The best solution is to install outdoor mosquito control measures with help from pest control companies like Mosquito Squad.

USA Today’s report follows the study of the Rutgers University, which explores the correlation between the presence of mosquitoes and the decrease of outdoor activity in children. The survey uncovered that households lose close to two hours’ worth of outdoor play because of mosquitoes.

The Asian tiger mosquito was first sighted in the U.S. around 1985 and may have come over from Japan. Since then, its population has ballooned to almost innumerable figures. Although most Asian tiger mosquitoes don’t host any serious diseases like the West Nile virus in this part of the world, they’re still a nuisance to kids who don’t want to be bitten by the insect. Experts are also concerned that the radical changes in climate may cause the Asian tiger mosquito to start carrying diseases of their own.

Kids need their outdoor games in order to maintain a healthy physique. However, being outdoors could also invite mosquitoes that are riddled with horrible diseases. It can’t be stressed enough that every playground should be made mosquito-free to encourage more children to play on them.

All kids deserve some time outdoors for more active play, but mosquitoes will quickly ruin it regardless if it results in a serious illness. Parents should consider investing in mosquito control systems that will permanently get rid of the insects and help control their population. You can also opt to use mosquito prevention systems that just ward away the insects. Either method will keep your yard secure from those troublesome, bloodsucking pests.

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Eastern Equine Encephalitis on the Rise

Horses from Kentucky to Maine are being infected and dying from Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Veterinarians across the country encourage all horses not only be vaccinated, but receive booster shots.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, is a mosquito-borne virus that was first found in the 1830s in Massachusetts when 75 horses died from the disease. EEE does not only affect horses. Humans can become sick from the disease as well. After a human is infected by a mosquito bite, he or she will begin to display symptoms within 10 days normally. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headaches and seizures to name a few. There is no vaccine or cure for humans and the fatality rate is 35%.

Those areas of the country, namely in New England, that have confirmed human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, have started spraying for mosquitoes.

While the human fatality rate due to EEE is 35%, the equine fatality rate starts at 70% and can go as high as 90%. Horses begin to display symptoms between 7 to 21 days after infection. One nickname for EEE is the sleeping sickness due to the way horses behave when they have it. The first symptoms of the disease are usually a high fever and bursts of excitement or nerves. As it gets more serious and brain lesions begin, horses will look drowsy, their ears will droop and they will walk around aimlessly. Paralysis ultimately sets in and it can die within a few days of paralysis.

The most recent case to hit the news was of a horse in Maine that died from EEE despite having the vaccine. The sad story highlights the importance of six month booster shots for EEE. The initial inoculation consists of two vaccines 4 to 6 weeks apart. After the adult horse has been vaccinated, it will need booster shots before any mosquito season. In areas where EEE is a problem, it is suggested to administer the booster every six months.

The EEE virus can only be transmitted to humans and horses through the bite of an infected mosquito. Humans, for example, cannot get it from a horse that is battling EEE.

As municipalities take action and administer more public mosquito spray, we at Mosquito Squad encourage homeowners, and horse owners to consider professional mosquito control.

The majority of our residential clients use the mosquito control barrier spray to protect their property. Our trained technicians come out to the home every three weeks to spray the areas where mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. The spray itself will kill adult mosquitoes on contact and then provide that protection for up to three weeks.

For properties with horse stables, we suggest an installed mosquito misting system instead of the barrier spray. Instead of having a technician come and spray every three weeks, a system is installed on your property. Two to three times a day, when the mosquitoes are known to be their most active, a short burst of mosquito spray will emit from the system, protecting the area. If they are particularly bad, there is a button you can press for another short spray. Mosquito systems are a great way to keep the mosquitoes away on larger properties. Mosquito Squad will not only install the system, but come back to fill your product when needed and winterize your system at the end of the season.

If you have any questions on how to protect yourself and your horses from mosquitoes and the dangerous disease they can transmit, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Vermont Launches Tick Tracking Website to Protect Population

A few weeks ago we posted about a CDC study estimating that Lyme disease is a much larger problem than the confirmed cases show. In 2011, there were over 24,000 confirmed cases, with 96% of them happening in just 13 states, Vermont being one of them. The Vermont Health Department is fighting the bite by offering a new tick tracking website.

Vermont reported 500 cases of Lyme disease in 2011 and just over 350 last year. To help educate the public on tick activity, they launched a website allowing the public to report where they’ve noticed tick activity, “’Once you report ticks in your area, it shows up on a map so that everyone can know where they might want to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors,’ said the Health Department’s Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist. ‘It’s not too late to report – adult ticks are most active in the spring and fall.” Source.

The website, found at, displays the different areas of tick activity on a map of the state. Small tick images are color coded bases on the type of tick reported. Hovering over the tick image will initiate a pop up that provides details on the report including, location, date, number of ticks found, how it was observed (on clothing, pet, etc) and a general comments field. One report included “Lyme positive” which must have come from someone who had recently been diagnosed. Looking at the map, a resident can easily identify a few pockets where numerous deer ticks (Lyme carrying ticks) have been reported.

The page also links to a “Be Tick Smart” guide that shows images of the different tick species, Lyme disease information, an illustration on how to remove a tick, and other handy information.

The tick tracking website is a great way to educate and increase tick awareness, especially in a state that has a large number of tick-borne illness reports each year.

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick. Here are some helpful tips to protect against tick bites and Lyme disease:

  • If you have seen ticks on your property, reach out to a professional tick control company like Mosquito Squad. We will get to the ticks, before they get to you.
  • When spending time outdoors in unprotected areas, wear light colored pants and long sleeved shirts. Loose clothing is harder to bite through, but ticks are also easier to see on light colors than dark.
  • Do a full body tick check after coming inside any time you’ve spent time outdoors, even if you did wear pants and long sleeves. Ticks are sly pests and can weasel their way to your skin if given the chance. Be sure to check areas like your armpits and behind your knees.

If you have been bitten by a tick, remove it properly with tweezers (here’s a guide from the CDC) and put it in a plastic baggie if possible. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because of its flulike symptoms, so having the tick itself makes it easier. The ticks can be tested for the Lyme bacteria.
If you’ve been bitten by a blacklegged (deer) tick, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Lyme. Not all deer ticks carry the disease. Also, if you are sure that the tick has been embedded in you less than 36 hours, your chances of having Lyme are slimmer. The key is to be observant and take note of any symptoms you may start to display including fatigue, joint pain or the telltale bull’s-eye rash.

If you have any questions on tick control for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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