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Alert the Squad!
Blog | October 2014

Do Mosquitoes Transmit Ebola?

Unless you’ve stayed away from all news for the last few weeks (and who really can do that), you’ve heard about the current Ebola epidemic in Africa and cases in the U.S. Ebola is a life threatening disease that currently doesn’t have a vaccine to fight it. One question we’ve been asked recently is can mosquitoes, who transmit numerous disease worldwide, infect people with Ebola?

In short, the answer is no.

Mosquitoes aren’t born with malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue fever or other mosquito-borne disease. Female mosquitoes become carriers of those diseases after feeding on a person or animal already infected (only females suck blood). Because mosquitoes don’t go person to person biting, the disease has to survive a complicated digestion process to be passed on.

The reason female mosquitoes require blood is to create eggs. A female mosquito will take in enough blood to properly nourish her eggs and then go and digest. After laying her eggs, she will then require more blood. For her to infect a human with the disease, the viral strands need to stay in the gut and migrate into the mosquito’s saliva. The mosquito injects saliva into its victims as they bite. In the case of malaria, it evolves in the mosquito before getting into the saliva.

Right now, Ebola cannot make its way into the mosquito saliva. And until it can, mosquitoes cannot transmit Ebola.

Despite not playing an active role in the spread of Ebola, mosquitoes are still the most dangerous animal on the planet, killing over 700,000 people each year. They kill approximately 600,000 by infecting them with malaria. While malaria isn’t a threat in the United States, mosquitoes still transmit west nile, dengue fever and chikungunya domestically.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients by greatly reducing their property’s mosquito population with our mosquito control services. Our trained applicators visit our clients’ properties every 2-3 weeks and spray the areas where mosquitoes are most likely to feed and live, like bushes and trees. The spray eliminates mosquitoes on contact as well as settles on the vegetation. When a mosquito then goes to feed on a leaf, it will ingest the product.

If you have questions on how to protect your property from mosquitoes, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

A Robot that Fights Malaria?

Malaria, as we’ve discussed before, is a terrible mosquito-borne disease that kills over 600,000 people every year, yet it is both preventable and treatable. While health officials and non-profits like Malaria No More are helping to fight the battle against malaria, a Dallas tween is doing the same thing with a new invention.


David Cohen is a Texas based 12 year old who is a finalist in this year’s Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for a robot that helps fight malaria.

Mosquitoes (whether they are carrying malaria or not) need water to breed. During their larval stage, they sit on the surface of the water to breathe and to continue the maturation process. Cohen’s robot stops them from further maturing by reaching them in this stage. Using a pump-jet system, the robot essentially drowns the mosquito by moving it away from the surface and trapping it under mesh.

Cohen first became aware of health issues that mosquitoes can cause after his sister had a staph infection after itching a mosquito bite.

Matched with his mentor Delong Langer-Anderson, Cohen began to look at how best to stop mosquito-borne illnesses from spreading. As Langer-Anderson explains: he “looked at the problem…in a different way. He asked ‘what if the mosquito was never born?’ …he’s never lost sight of the idea that if he can stop the mosquito from emerging from the larvae stage, he can prevent them from spreading disease.” Source.


While we’re not sure how Cohen’s robot will be used moving forward, we at Mosquito Squad are always happy to see people thinking up unique ways to decrease the spread of malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Congrats David!

Mosquito Squad joined the fight against malaria several years ago through our partnership with Malaria No More. Malaria No More has made great strides in helping to end malaria deaths through its educational, prevention and treatment programs.

If you’d like us to help fight malaria, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.

Stink Bugs Looking for a Place to Enter the Home


Last weekend, I was watching a movie with my husband when I heard a loud buzzing, one that I’ve become all too familiar with the last few years: the stink bug. Just like falling leaves and cooler temperatures, seeing stink bugs inside is another sign that fall is coming.

Stink bugs, or brown marmorated stink bugs, have been active pests in the United States since they were first noticed in Pennsylvania sixteen years ago. Three or four years ago their population boomed, wreaking havoc on some crops they were hungry for.

The stink bug population has grown considerably in the U.S. because it doesn’t have a natural predator here that helps to control the growing numbers. Its largest predator in China, a type of wasp, isn’t currently present in the U.S., but is going through testing to see if it is a viable option for future control.

As the weather turns cooler, and fall crops begin to be harvested, stink bugs start to get sneaky! They can find their way into homes using the smallest of openings. If you live in an area where stink bugs are active, you’ll want to double check that there aren’t openings around your door frame or holes in your screens to ensure they don’t make their way into your home. They will find the smallest of holes! A recent study that we covered in a previous blog pointed out that stink bugs are more attracted to brown and green properties more than light-colored homes.

If stink bugs make it inside your home, you want to make sure you handle it correctly or they will use their defenses. Their main defense you may be able to tell from their name. They stink. They emit an odor when they are threatened. You never want to handle a stink bug with your hand for instance, instead:

  • Use a vacuum to suck up and remove the stink bug. A bag vacuum works better.
  • Using a tissue, pick up the bug and flush it down the toilet. Stink bugs are surprisingly slow moving when they aren’t flying.

There are stink bug treatments available that are applied to the outside of the home that will greatly reduce your pest populations. Call your local Mosquito Squad office to see if they can help you in the battle of the stink bugs.

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* Tick control not available in MI without a license

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