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Blog | February 2014

Getting Your Pet Ready for Spring


Warm spring weather is (hopefully) just around the corner. That means it’s time to move it outdoors and enjoy it! From hiking and walking to trips to the dog park, my furry friend, Wiley, and I spend as much time as we can outdoors when it is nice out. The warm weather doesn’t just bring green grass and flowers, however, it also means biting bugs that can harm people and dogs and cats, like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

Just like humans, our beloved pets are at risk for vector-borne disease.

Fleas are one of the easier pests when it comes to determining their presence. Both dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva and will scratch and chew when they have fleas. And just one flea can bite nearly 350 times in one day! While it is uncommon, fleas can transmit disease to dogs, cats and humans alike.

When it comes to ticks, your pet isn’t going to let you know that it has one because it doesn’t make them itch as much as flea bites. They may not look like they are being harmed or bothered by anything, but that may not be the case. Ticks transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis dogs. There is even an illnesses called tick paralysis that can harm our four-legged friends.

When it comes to protecting your pets from flea and ticks, it’s about controlling the pests and being vigilant. Talk to your veterinarian about topical medications or collars. Additionally, there are flea and tick treatments for your yard that will help. At Mosquito Squad, our traditional barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact. We also have additional applications we use to combat ticks more aggressively as well as fleas. Even when your pet is protected with medication or yard treatments, they should be checked after spending time in areas where ticks and fleas are known to be. For example, Wiley had topical treatments, but still had ticks last year after hiking. If your dog or cat has a tick, remove it using tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it is needed for testing. If they have fleas, they will need a flea bath and you will need to check to see if your home needs to be sprayed.

When it comes to mosquitoes, they transmit one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases for some animals: heartworm. The roundworm travels to the heart where it matures and grows. If it isn’t treated, heartworm can be fatal. It is highly recommended that animals take a heartworm medication. It should be prescribed after a heartworm test has been done on the animal.

Symptoms of canine heartworm are coughing, not wanting to exercise, fainting and a rapid heartbeat. Feline heartworm symptoms include coughing, vomiting and depression.

Professional mosquito control will also help protect your pets from heartworm by cutting down on your property’s mosquito population. The mosquito spray that we utilize eliminates mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to 21 days.

If you have questions on how to protect your pets from vector-borne disease, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

Will a Snowy Winter Stop the Mosquitoes this Spring?

2014, thus far, has been a cold and snowy year for many parts of the country. States like North Carolina and Virginia have had more than their regular snowfall and freezing temperatures. What does it mean for the 2014 mosquito forecast?

Mosquitoes are very resilient. Their eggs (and some adults when properly protected) can survive through freezing temperatures. The tough winter may postpone the influx of mosquitoes, but it may also increase the number of the pests!

Mosquitoes can be active in temperatures averaging over 50 degrees and thrive in weather over 80. You probably won’t notice a lot of activity from theses nuisances until the overnight freezes become less common. This may occur later in the season than it normally does. When it does happen, it may be a bad mosquito season!


One thing mosquitoes need to breed is standing water. Exceptionally dry years bring less mosquitoes. So far, 2014 has had a lot of precipitation with high rain and snowfall. The rain, along with melting snow and ice will result in a lot of standing water, which could mean a lot of mosquitoes.

As America’s most trust mosquito control company, homeowners often ask us the ways in which they can protect themselves from pesky mosquitoes. To answer that question, we use the 5Ts of treatment, 4 of which have to do with standing water.

Not only is standing water necessary for mosquito production, but it’s also the center of their life once they are mature. Mosquitoes don’t venture far from the area where they matured, so if you take care of the standing water on your property, you are instantly decreasing your mosquito population.

Now back to the 5 Ts: tip, toss, turn, tarp and treat. Walk around your property and tip over items like birdbaths and planter saucers that naturally hold water once a week.

Toss out yard debris like grass clippings and leaves. Piles of debris naturally will hold water after it rains.

Turn over dog dishes and children’s toys when they aren’t being used.

Tarps, believe it or not, can be a great place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs when they aren’t pulled taut.

The final T is mosquito control is treat. Treating the property to cut down on the number of adult mosquitoes on your property is the best way to stop the bites. At Mosquito Squad, we utilize a mosquito control barrier spray to eliminate up to 90% of the property’s population.

Please contact your local Mosquito Squad if you have any questions.

Did the Nazis Study Mosquitoes as Weapons During WWII?

New research from Tubingen University sheds light on some studies done at one concentration camp during World War II. Researcher Dr. Klaus Reinhardt says that there were biological weaponry studies conducted surrounding mosquitoes and malaria, a scary thought.

Reinhardt was studying the work of Nazi Waffen SS when he found information surrounding a “Entomological Institute” at the Dachau concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. The bug research was first ordered to help combat issues with lice and typhoid fever amongst the Nazi troops.

As Germany began to feel more pressure from both sides in 1944, the Entomological Institute turned their research to mosquitoes, and it wasn’t for mosquito control options. The Nazis looked at different species of mosquitoes to see which one would be most resilient in extreme conditions. Once the best specie was determined, they would be infected with malaria and dropped into enemy territory.

Through studies managed by Eduard May, the Anopheles mosquito was considered the best mosquito for the mission.

Dr. Reinhardt says the experiments happened at Dachau concentration camp “in conjunction with another notorious Nazi experiment – inoculating prisoners with malaria.” Source. The doctor behind infecting prisoners with malaria was executed after the Nuremberg trials.

Luckily, the use of mosquitoes as weapons did not come into fruition; however, they are the deadliest animal on earth. Every year, millions of people die from a mosquito-transmitted disease, with the majority being from malaria.

At Mosquito Squad, we are proud to support Malaria No More. Their goal is end malaria deaths in Africa. Malaria is both preventable and treatable with a set of pills that cost less than $1. So every dollar given, is a life saved.

What many Americans may not be aware of is that malaria was a major health concern in the U.S. until it was eradicated in 1951. The Centers for Disease Control was actually initially founded as part of the concentrated effort to rid the US of the deadly disease.

To help support Malaria No More, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net. We want to thank all of our tick and mosquito control clients that help us give to this effort. In 2013 alone, Mosquito Squad was able to save over 55,000 lives with our support of Malaria No More.

VanLaanen to Compete in Sochi after Battling Lyme disease

Back in December, we talked about Sochi hopeful Angeli VanLaanen and her battle with Lyme disease. Well, she no longer is just a hopeful; she is now on the 2014 Winter Olympic team! Congratulations Angeli!

VanLaanen suffered with some of Lyme disease’s most debilitating symptoms, including fainting, dyslexia and fatigue, for 14 years before being properly diagnosed with the illness. The fact that she is from the Pacific Northwest where Lyme isn’t as prominent could have impacted her misdiagnosis.

Once diagnosed, VanLaanen stopped competing for 3 years to focus on her health. During that time she and director John Roderick filmed her treatment of Lyme disease. The resulting documentary, LymeLight, is Angeli’s way of spreading awareness of what Lyme can do and how it is possible to fight back. The half hour video, can be viewed here. As Roderick explains: “our goal with LymeLight is to educate people about Lyme disease, where it comes from, what the symptoms are and the challenges people face reclaiming their health.”

After taking 3 years off form skiing, VanLaanen dedicated herself to making the Sochi Olympics. She earned the last automatic position by winning the last of five qualifying competitions. 2014 is the first year that halfpipe skiing will be included in the winter games. VanLaanen will be skiing the halfpipe on February 20th.

Lyme disease numbers have been growing over the last decade. Many patients, like Angeli, don’t remember ever being bitten by a tick bite so Lyme isn’t the first illness considered by their doctors. Black-legged ticks that transmit the disease can be as small as a poppy seed aren’t easily seen and They tend to attach to their host in hard to see areas so they can feed without being noticed.

At Mosquito Squad, we urge people to proactively check for ticks after any outdoor excursion. And when it comes to protecting your yard from ticks, considering professional tick control.


Mosquito Squad uses a combination of our traditional barrier spray and tick tubes as a way to control ticks. The barrier spray eliminates ticks on contact while the tick tubes use field mice to eliminate ticks. Most ticks get their first blood meal from mice. Tick tubes are small tubes filled with treated cotton. We place them in areas of the property where mice would be likely to go. When they find the cotton, they take it back to their holes as nesting material. That cotton is treated with tick control product and will eliminate the ticks before they can bite you.

Please contact your local Mosquito Squad if you have any questions on protecting your property from ticks.

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