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Blog | April 2014

Debbie Gibson Illustrates the Dark Side of Lyme disease

If you are familiar with Debbie Gibson and her music career, you know that she is, normally, a bundle of energy. She’s been performing on stage since the 1980s, but recently received some backlash after performing in South America. Critics blasted her online for her skeletal frame and said that she was unhealthily skinny. In response to the harsh words, she came out and said that yes, indeed she was unhealthy, but not because of eating issues. She has Lyme disease.

In a long blog post entitled When Life Hands you a Lemon…or Lyme she details her battle with this terrible tick-borne disease that went undiagnosed for too long.

Debbie didn’t have the bulls eye rash that some Lyme disease victims do. If she did, she may have more easily been able to find out what was ailing her. One of the main issues surrounding Lyme disease is how difficult it can be to diagnose. So many of its symptoms are similar to the flu or other illnesses.

One of the first symptoms that Debbie displayed was food sensitivity. Certain foods like caffeine, starch and sugars would trigger reactions in her system. She started to lose weight as a result and became more and more fatigued. Because of her hectic travel schedule, Debbie was unable to see her primary doctors so they were left to guess what was wrong. Never did Lyme occur to them.

When Lyme goes undiagnosed, the symptoms can become more and more severe, serious and scary. Debbie’s boyfriend noticed that she was mixing up her words and seemed confused often. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she decided to focus solely on her health. After several referrals to multiple specialists, she was tested positive for Lyme disease.

A year later, with vitamin drips and intense antibiotics, Debbie is now slowly feeling better.

We at Mosquito Squad, wish Debbie the best, but also want to thank her for bringing Lyme disease into the spotlight again. The more people know about Lyme, the better.

Tick control is not only important to enjoy your outdoor living spaces, but also to protect you from the growing cases of Lyme disease in growing areas of the country. Please contact your local Mosquito Squad office to discuss how you can protect yourself from ticks in your yard.

Next Friday is World Malaria Day

Next Friday, April 25th, marks the 7th Annual World Malaria Day. World Malaria Day was founded in 2007 by the World Health Organization as “an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control” Source.

Many Americans don’t remember (or weren’t born during) a time when malaria plagued the United States, but it did! During World War II, the US started the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (it is now the Centers for Disease Control) that focused on stopping malaria around military training camps in the southern half of the country. The efforts were successful and in 1947 a movement to eradicate malaria from the country started. In just two short years, malaria was no longer a major health concern in the United States.

While we haven’t had to struggle with malaria for over 60 years locally, it still kills an estimated 627,000 people globally every year. Africa is the hardest hit continent, but progress is happening! The malaria incidence rate has decreased by 25% globally since 2000 with increased awareness and commitment.


World Malaria Day’s theme for 2014 and 2015 is simple: “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.” And with our partner, Malaria No More, Mosquito Squad is doing just that.

For the past three years, Mosquito Squad has committed itself to fighting malaria through our partnership with Malaria No More, a nonprofit with the goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa. Malaria No More provides bed nets, malaria tests, treatment and education in areas of Africa that are hard hit with this preventable and treatable vector-borne disease.

In 2013, we saved over 50,000 lives with our contributions. Every dollar can save a life, literally. Just one dollar can provide both a test and five-day treatment, saving a life.

In January of this year, we laid out Dread’s Challenge, a three year goal of saving 250,000 lives in Africa. If you want to help us fight the bite, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.

Are Mice the Perfect Host for Ticks?

I spend a lot of time outdoors in the spring and summer months and I’m also hyper-aware of the presence of ticks. For such a small animal, the tick can cause some serious damage.

Ticks are vectors, or transmitters, of disease. They infect through their bite and have been known to cause devastating damage to humans, moose and other mammals. One animal that it doesn’t seem to impact, however, isn’t what you would normally picture as tough: the white-footed mouse.

A new study from Sarah Lawrence University biologist Michelle Hersh studied the relationship between mice and ticks. Mice displayed no apparent negative affects from ticks and the bacteria they carry. And the number of ticks didn’t matter either. Even when the mice were hosts to a large number of ticks they didn’t seem bothered.


As co-author Richard Ostfeld explains; “they basically thumb their noses at ticks, no matter how many are on them. There is something about these mice that makes them incredibly permissive to infection by the pathogens that make us sick, and also to the ticks that bite them and us.” “Source Expired”

At Mosquito Squad, we use mice being a super host for ticks to our favor with our backyard tick control service. Knowing that ticks usually get their first blood meal from a mouse, we use mice as a vehicle for our tick treatments.

Tick tubes are filled with cotton that is treated with a tick toxicant and then are placed in areas of the property where mice are known to travel, for example along fence lines and foundation walls. When mice come across the tick tubes, they take the cotton to use as bedding in their nests. The tick control solution rubs off onto the mouse’s fur. When the tick goes to feed on the mouse, it ingests the tick control solution, effectively eliminating them.

Tick tubes are usually strategically placed twice a year in spring and late summer/early fall. A tick control professional will come out to your property and base the number of tubes on the size of your property and tick population.

If you have questions on tick elimination services for you yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.

Organic Mosquito Control for Your Yard

They’re baaaack! Yes, I mean mosquitoes. Temperatures are rising again, so these pesky bugs are too. Several of our Mosquito Squad locations are already providing mosquito control for our clients.

While our traditional barrier protection program is our most common service, we do provide an all natural/organic option for interested clients.

Our organic mosquito spray is made of up essential oils and does work differently than our traditional barrier spray. While it eliminates adults mosquitoes on contact, the organic spray acts a repellent instead of eliminating mosquitoes through their eating habits. Our traditional spray is ingested by the mosquito when it feeds on plant material that has been treated, eliminating the pest. The organic mosquito spray repels them with its smell.

When first applied to the property, there is a slight botanical fragrance to the all-natural spray. To a human’s sense of smell, the odor dissipates within a few hours of application, however, mosquitoes are much more sensitive to smell. The fragrance keeps them away.

Because the organic mosquito control breaks down in the natural elements more quickly, we at Mosquito Squad recommend reapplying the treatment every 14 days for continuous protection. For comparison’s sake, the traditional barrier spray is reapplied every 21 days usually.

While no mosquito control company can promise to eliminate all mosquitoes from your property, Mosquito Squad’s organic spray does cut down on your mosquito population significantly. We tell our clients to expect a 70-75% decrease in the number of mosquitoes on your property after the spray has been applied (the traditional spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes).

Professional organic mosquito control is a great way to treat your yard. Like always, we at Mosquito Squad suggest ridding your yard of any standing water to help cut down on mosquitoes on your property as well.

If you have any questions on the mosquito control options in your area, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Don't let pesky mosquitoes ruin your outdoor fun. Mosquito Squad is ready to serve you! Contact us today by filling out the brief form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

* Tick control not available in MI without a license

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