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Blog | August 2014

Can Ticks Transmit Disease in Just 10 Minutes?

Ticks, like mosquitoes, are vectors of disease. When feeding, they transmit saliva and bacteria into their host’s skin and bloodstream. While Lyme disease may have received the most news in recent years, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be extremely dangerous and is the most lethal rickettsial disease.


When it comes to transmitting Rocky Mountain, a new study out of Brazil is reporting that ticks don’t need as much time as we thought. Current literature states that the disease can be transmitted in 2 to 10 hours, but there are cases when the transmission could take place in just 10 minutes!

Marcelo Labruna of the University of Sao Paulo led the study where ticks were observed feeding on different animals. They found that if ticks had recently fed and then went to feed on another animal, they were able to transmit disease quicker than when they were first feeding.

The study also found that dogs play a primary roll in the spread of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Brazil (know there as Brazilian fever). The majority of cases in the area are diagnosed in children and women who have little contact with tick habitats. It’s most likely that dogs are carrying ticks into the home or yard where they are then attaching to family members, meaning that they have previously fed.

A different type of tick, the wood tick, transmits Rocky Mountain in the US than in Brazil. That could result in different findings when it comes to transmission of the disease. Patrick Leisch, entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, explains that the best way to protect yourself from all tick-borne diseases is to avoid tick habitats, protect yourself properly, and educate yourself on the pest.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from the nuisance and dangers of ticks with our tick control services. We use a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes to greatly reduce the tick population on a property. The barrier spray, applied by trained technicians every 2-3 weeks, eliminates adult ticks on contact. Tick tubes are placed on the property twice a year normally and use mice as a vehicle for the tick control product.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from ticks and the diseases they transmit, please refer to the Centers for Disease control website or call your local Mosquito Squad office.

Reflecting on a Malaria No More Trip to Africa

For this week’s blog, I’ve asked our chairman and CEO, Chris Grandpre, to reflect on his recent trip with Malaria No More to Kenya. His experience was amazing…

It’s been an odd transition this week back to the normal daily routine. Late last week, I returned from a trip to Kenya where I was able to see firsthand the impact that Mosquito Squad is making in the fight against needless and preventable malaria deaths in Africa.


I’m still battling being really tired after not sleeping on the 38-hour trip back. In addition, I find myself missing Africa and the incredible camaraderie of our traveling group that included:

  • Mark Allen, Managing Director of Africa Programs – Malaria No More
  • Stevan Miller, Chief Development Officer – Malaria No More
  • Kelly Fleming, Development Associate – Malaria No More

It was phenomenal to see the work of Malaria No More on the ground in a beautiful country, but a country also clearly dealing with a tremendous lack of infrastructure and severe poverty issues. It really helped put into perspective how incredibly fortunate that we all are here in the States.

Our experience included participating in meetings in Nairobi with Malaria No More’s team in Kenya along with staff from the Clinton Health Alliance Initiative, an organization focused on fostering coordination between government and global health organizations. While malaria is a significant problem in Kenya where over 34,000 children die every year, the country is also dealing with other major health risks such as yellow fever, polio, typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis.


We learned how global health organizations work together and in concert with the government to implement programs to educate, prevent, diagnose and treat these major health issues. In countries lacking infrastructure and modern communications systems, it is extremely challenging to implement programs across vast areas dotted by remote villages.

We also had the opportunity to travel across the country and visit some of the remote villages. Our most memorable day was one spent in the village of Chebunyo. After many hours of rough travel on unpaved roads, we spent a day touring the local medical clinic and learning about their efforts to educate the villagers about malaria as well as diagnose and treat cases when necessary.

We delivered bed nets to a number of mothers with newborns in the village and we installed nets in several homes/mud huts. It was an extremely rewarding experience, especially as we watched the kids gleefully dive under the nets as soon as we finished hanging them.


Despite the primitive living conditions, the warmth and happiness of the people in Chebunyo was striking. I will always remember the huge smiles on the kids’ faces as we took their pictures.

I was able to see firsthand the impact that Mosquito Squad and Malaria No More are having in Africa. Malaria deaths have declined nearly 50% over the last five years. We heard this both at the macro level in Nairobi and from the team at the medical clinic in Chebunyo. Fewer children are dying today as a result of increased efforts.

To help us continue to fight malaria, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.

Number of West Nile Cases Beginning to Rise

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard a lot about the chikungunya virus as more and more cases are diagnosed here in the United States. Although this new disease is dangerous and painful, other mosquito-borne diseases are still present. In particular, we’re headed into the peak of West Nile Virus season.

Mosquitoes have been testing positive for West Nile for the last few months and now more and more human cases are being confirmed from California to Pennsylvania. Just this week a Texas man died with West Nile being reported as a contributing factor. Additionally mosquito spraying is being conducted in Montgomery County, Texas as a result.

The first US outbreak of the West Nile Virus occurred back in 1999 in New York. Since then, the Centers for Disease Control have been monitoring and reporting on the disease. Unlike chikungunya, the majority of West Nile patients are infected domestically (chikungunya victims are normally infected while travelling). 2012 brought the highest number of cases since the mosquito-borne disease since it began being tracked in the US with over 5,000 cases (just over 2,400 were reported in 2013).

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure for West Nile Virus. The vast majority of infected people will never even display symptoms, but when they do, they can be difficult. High fever, nausea, and aching are just some of the common symptoms of the disease. It tends to affect the young and old more dramatically.

At Mosquito Squad, we always say that the best way to protect yourself from mosquito-transmitted disease is to limit your exposure to mosquitoes. Reducing your property’s mosquito population is the first step. You can do that by ridding your yard of any standing water and hiring a professional mosquito control company. Our mosquito elimination services are reapplied every 2-3 weeks to the foliage where mosquitoes are known to feed and live.

When venturing out into non-treated areas, you’ll need to take additional precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Consider wearing loose long-sleeved shirts and pants and apply a DEET spray to the uncovered areas of the skin.

If you have questions on mosquito control, please give you nearest Mosquito Squad location a call. We’re happy to answer any questions.

Chikungunya – What is it?

As mosquitoes are in their active season and homeowners are enjoying the last weeks of summer, no one wants to think about the nasty and dangerous diseases mosquitoes can transmit through their bites. Unfortunately, with hundreds of Americans testing positive for chikungunya this year, the threat of mosquito-borne disease is a concern. But, what is chikungunya?


Chikungunya was first described in 1955 along the border of Mozambique and Tanzania. It is believed, however, that the first outbreak happened in 1779. The name comes from a native language of that area and means “that which bends up” because of the position people take when suffering some of the disease’s painful symptoms.

Chikungunya is most commonly found in tropical areas of the world. Until this summer, all Americans that tested positive for chikungunya had been infected with it abroad (two Americans have been infected domestically this year). The CDC reported that the influx of cases this year is a result of an outbreak in the Carribean, a place where many Americans go for vacation.

The majority of chikungunya patients do display symptoms, typically 2-3 days after infection. Symptoms include, high fever, joint pain, rash, headache and nausea.

Doctors in the U.S. are aware of the influx of chikungunya this year and are warning people to be vigilant and protect yourself. “Prevention is key and experts say to protect yourself from the virus, simply limit your exposure to mosquitoes.” Source.

At Mosquito Squad, we’re happy to help homeowners protect themselves and their friends and family from the nuisance and dangers of mosquitoes. Our professional mosquito control services treat the areas of the property where mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor, so you don’t have to spray any repellent on your skin.

Our ongoing mosquito control services fall into three categories: our traditional barrier spray, all natural mosquito spray and our mosquito misting system. The traditional barrier spray reduces your mosquito population by up to 90% and needs to be reapplied every 3 weeks or so. The all natural mosquito control repels mosquitoes from the property with its scent (unnoticeable to humans) for up to 2 weeks. And for more control of your mosquito spray, we have our installed mosquito misting system that sends out short bursts of mosquito spray when they are known to be their most active. A remote is also available for those nights they are out in droves.

If you have any questions on how to protect yourself from mosquito-transmitted disease, please contact your local Mosquito Control office.

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* Tick control not available in MI without a license

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