Alison Leigh Cowan from The New York Times reports “Fear, if not the reality of the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it, has not only cast its shadow on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August, but is upending the carefully laid plans of couples who have long wanted a wedding in an exotic tropical locale.
“Now, no party in paradise can proceed without the host taking precautions against the disease-carrying pests. Conscientious brides-to-be are scrambling to have rooms sprayed with insect repellent before guests arrive, pack extra bug spray in all formulations for guests who may not bring any, circulate newsletters with the latest advisories from government agencies and, if they really wish to set a good example, wear long sleeves and pants.
“And that assumes that the guests, many in their childbearing years, are going to these events at all. Many of the most popular wedding destinations in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean are also where the Zika virus has been most active.
“Contracts with wedding vendors tend to be ironclad, requiring deposits and payment deadlines. When booking a wedding at a resort, many require guarantees of a certain number of room bookings on top of the ceremony and reception costs.
“Some couples have sought travel and wedding insurance, to guard against the unforeseen. But it is unclear how many of these contracts anticipated or will cover the various ways the Zika virus is now impacting couples and their weddings.
“Hayley Hines, a 30-year-old Arizona resident, was expecting to be married in Cancún, Mexico, on June 18, with 110 friends and relatives in attendance at a beachside resort. She and her fiancé, Bryan Ahearn, had attended friends’ weddings in that area and wanted the same experience.
“The event was booked and practically paid for. Then a guest who was trying to become pregnant backed out; she was concerned that Mexico had reported some cases of Zika, a virus blamed for birth defects. “We’re at the age where people are having their first or second child,” Ms. Hines said.
“In February, the bride-to-be discovered that she, too, was expecting, and would have to bow out. Becky Gillespie, the travel consultant who had spent months arranging the wedding, remembered thinking, “Oh, this is going to be a lot of work for nothing.” She spent weeks jumping through hoops with American Airlines, United Airlines and Sandos Cancún Luxury Experience Resort until she was able to return every penny of the $15,300 Ms. Hines and her guests had already paid.
“The vendors “did not like it but they understood the situation,” said Ms. Gillespie, who operates For Love of Travel, an agency in Nevada City, Calif. She was “surprised that they let more than just the bride get their money back.”
“The virus is of greatest concern to anyone who may be pregnant or may plan to have children after exposure. If saying your vows in a Zika-affected country means “you’re going to lose your sister because she’s pregnant and can’t go, that’s a problem,” said Annie Lee, a wedding planner. Some couples are keeping the CDC’s phone number, 800-232-4636, next to those of their wedding planner and caterer.
“The virus can be transmitted via sexual intercourse as well as by insect bites. Doctors have advised pregnant patients and couples planning to conceive to avoid affected areas or take other precautions to ward off bites.”
I had quite a few friends get engaged over the holidays and weddings are in full planning. Brides go to great lengths to create a special day for their husbands and guests alike. For some, no details go unnoticed, but for others, things slip through the cracks. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, graduation party or other outdoor event, let us give you a helpful hint: don’t forget about the mosquitoes.
I’ve been to a lot of weddings and outdoor events. Some I remember more than others. Last year my husband and I attended an outdoor wedding at a Virginia plantation. It was beautiful. I don’t remember the food or flowers, but I remember it being a great night. One thing I won’t forget, however, is the amount of mosquitoes. They loved me that night, and I was itching the bites for days!
At Mosquito Squad, we help hosts, event planners and caterers make their events a success by ridding the property of mosquitoes with our mosquito control services.
Our typical mosquito treatments for the yard reduce a property’s mosquito population by up to 90%. The same product is used for our events spray ensuring that mosquitoes are left off the guest list. Depending on the area of the country and the seriousness of the mosquito problem, one or two sprays prior to the event will be recommended. Our trained technicians will come to the event space and spray the vegetation and areas where the mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. They will pay particular attention to the areas where guests will gather outdoors, too.
Typically, members of the Squad will visit the property 24-48 hour prior to the event to spray. The product will eliminate any mosquitoes on contact and provide continuous protection as mosquitoes feed on the treated plants. If the mosquito problem is especially bad, they will come out twice.
If you’re planning a special event, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office to discuss your mosquito treatment options. We’re happy to help you as you create the perfect outdoor event.
Just last year I attended an outdoor wedding in New England. It was an absolutely gorgeous summer night with perfect weather. The cocktails and reception were outside. It was lovely, until dusk set it. As the sun got lower, the property was bombarded by mosquitoes. There were mosquito wipes and bracelets on hand for guests and not only did they smell bad, but they also didn’t work. I personally went home with a few welts that I itched for a few days after the event. The scenario is completely avoidable when you plan your outdoor event properly and have professional mosquito control.
Whether it is a wedding, graduation party, barbecue or other outdoor party, a special events mosquito control spray can help you keep mosquitoes off the guest list and away from your friends and family.
With a Mosquito Squad special events spray, our technicians visit the property 24-48 hours before the event. If you have a particularly bad mosquito problem, we may suggest us coming out twice before the party. During the application, our trained technicians will spray our mosquito control products on the areas of the property that mosquitoes are most likely to harbor as well as the areas where guests will gather. The mosquito mist will eliminate the pests on contact, greatly reducing the property’s mosquito population right away. After we’ve left, the product will eliminate mosquitoes when they feed on the treated plant material.
While it may be easy to organize a spray for a family barbecue, for larger events like weddings there is a lot more to coordinate. Mosquito Squad is happy to work with caterers, event planners or other vendors to schedule the right time to come out and protect the property from mosquitoes. It is common for us to come the day before or early in the morning before other vendors are there setting up.
Don’t let annoying mosquitoes ruin your outdoor event. Instead, have a professional mosquito control company visit the site. If you have questions or would like to discuss logistics, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
Personally, I’m one of the unlucky people that mosquitoes LOVE. If I stop on a walk with my dog, I’m sure to get a few mosquito bites that turn into large welts. One of my best friends, however, barely ever gets mosquito bites. While I am jealous, microbial ecologist Rob Knight explains that it isn’t all that surprising.
Sorry to all you germ-aphobes out there, but even if you shower three times a day, you still have billions of microbes that live on your skin. The diversity of microbes can vary vastly from human to human. These microbes produce chemicals and scents that may attract mosquitoes.
Forty-eight males volunteered to illustrate how different skin microbes can be more or less attractive to mosquitoes. They were asked not to shower for two days and to refrain from certain types of food and beverages like alcohol, garlic, etc. To increase the number of microbes to be tested, the men had to wear socks for 24 hours.
The researchers then rubbed glass beads on the bottom of the men’s feet to grab samples of the skin for testing. Mosquitoes were then introduced to the beads as mosquito bait. Some beads were placed in the highly attractive category while others were poorly attractive. The highly attractive beads were more likely to have a high concentration of certain microbes, while the poorly attractive group have a diverse population of microbes.
Based on these tests, “researchers say that it’s possible that some people’s smell acts as a natural deterrent” (Source) to mosquitoes.
Unfortunately, we don’t have control over the microorganisms on our skin and the scent they produce. To ensure mosquitoes stay away, you have to protect yourself. On your property, mosquito protection doesn’t mean you have to burn candles or spray your skin. Professional mosquito control treats the foliage on your property to eliminate mosquitoes on contact and provide continuous control for up to 21 days, but how does it work? Mosquitoes feed primarily on plants. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray leaves a residue on the plants that the pest will ingest when it feeds, eliminating them.
If you have questions on mosquito control in your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
From Christmas and New Year’s to Valentine’s Day, my Facebook page displayed an influx of engagement announcements and now, it seems, wedding planning as begun. If you are engaged, make sure one special item is on your wedding must-have list: mosquito control.
When I first got engaged and my now husband and I started to plan our big day my mind went to the most obvious things: location, dress, music and flowers. The little things that may not be as glamorous, however, make a big impact. You want your guests to enjoy the entire day and mosquitoes can ruin your event.
If you are having an outdoor wedding (or even having drinks outside), ask the person in charge of the location if there are mosquito control options, and I don’t just mean bug spray. At Mosquito Squad, we offer a special events spray for weddings, graduation parties, barbecues or any other outdoor event. It’s our goal to make sure that you and your guests are kept off the menu!
Our mosquito control for special events is comprised of the same mosquito barrier spray that we use on residential properties. We visit your location 24 to 48 hours prior to your event and apply the treatment to any area that lends itself to mosquitoes. The spray eliminates mosquitoes (and adult ticks) on contact and will provide continuous protection through your big day.
If you are planning a special event outdoors, please call you local Mosquito Squad to ask about our mosquito control options. Trust us, you don’t want your event to end up like this:
Many parts of the country have experienced a lot of rain this year. With rain, comes a lot of mosquitoes. I was recently talking to a member of our franchise support staff who travels all over the country visiting our Mosquito Squad locations and he was telling me about the huge mosquito populations from Georgia to Maine to Chicago. Even areas that are just experiencing small bursts of rain are seeing the increase in these pesky bugs.
Standing water is essential for mosquito reproduction. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and in just a few short days (if the weather conditions are right), there can be 10s or 100s of new mosquitoes. When it rains, as you can imagine, small pools of water (many of which you wouldn’t notice) begin to form in different areas, creating the perfect spot for mosquitoes to breed.
At Mosquito Squad, we’ve had a growth in our client numbers due to the rain. It is so hard to combat mosquitoes and rid your yard of their presence when rain continues to come so professional mosquito control is much needed. In some cases, we have had to increase the number of sprays for the season to fight them effectively.
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, but they can bite any time of day. In summers like this one where we have had a lot of rain, we encourage our clients to take extra preventative measures when venturing outside their mosquito control protected yard. Loose long sleeved shirts and pants are a good first step (less skin to bite), but also topical mosquito spray should be applied to areas of the skin that aren’t covered. When rain and mosquito numbers are high, we usually see an increase in the number of mosquito-borne illnesses, so mosquito prevention is very important.
On another note, we came across this video recently and had to share it. We all know what mosquito bites look like long after the mosquito is gone, but have you ever seen what it looks like when it’s happening? I don’t just mean the mosquito on your skin; I mean close up underneath the skin. It’s crazy! Scientists recently took this video of what it looks like under a microscope. You can see the mosquito’s labrum curving along under the skin until it finds the blood vessel and sucks. Take a look and see what you think!
At Mosquito Squad, we will take any excuse to spend time outdoors with friends and family and the Fourth of July is just one of them. If you are hosting a cookout next week to celebrate our country’s independence, here are some great tips to make sure you and your guests have a great time.
Make what you can before your guests arrive. No one wants to go to your party and spend no time with you, so think about what you can prepare before everyone arrives. Keep your hot items simple, like hot dogs and hamburgers so you don’t have to be away from your guests for long. Cut up their accompaniments (like tomatoes and onions) in advance and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
One of our favorite go-to dips you can make the night before and is sure to be a hit: the black bean and corn salsa. Mix together 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), 8-10 oz. of cooked corn, 1 chopped tomato, 1/3 c red onion, 1 chopped scallion, the juice from 1 ½ limes, 1 tbsp olive oil and two tbsp cilantro. Let it marinate for at least an hour. If you want, you can add some avocado to it right before you serve. Yummy!
Keeps the kids entertained. If your guest list includes kids, make sure there is something to keep them entertained. Whether it’s a game or craft, having something to keep the kids busy is always a good idea. If it’s a hot day out, consider having some kind of water fun to cool them down, like this cute sprinkler from Amazon.
Show off some red, white and blue. The Fourth of July is the best day to wear or display our country’s colors. Incorporate red, white and blue into the decorations for your party. From flowers to crafts, the possibilities are endless. If you want some small, easy, yet patriotic, centerpieces, here’s an idea: buy some colored sand (or candies) and place it mason jars or a vase for your table (layer red, white and blue sand) and then stick some small American flags in at the top. It will take you 5 minutes tops! If you want something a little more elaborate, check out this Uncle Same inspired centerpiece by Crafts Unleashed.
Keep your guests off the menu. No one wants to go to a barbecue and be eaten alive by mosquitoes. A lot of mosquitoes can ruin your party. Save your party and call your local Mosquito Squad. Our professional mosquito control will keep the bugs away from you, your food and your guests so you can enjoy your time outdoors.
From all of us at Mosquito Squad, have a Happy Fourth of July!
2012 has been a record year for vector-borne diseases and now parts of Massachusetts have put a ban on all public organized events, including sporting events.
A Massachusetts man died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in early September this year which led to the state’s Department of Public Health to raise the threat level to moderate. The threat was raised yet again, this time to critical, this week when a horse tested positive for EEE. The cities of Hamilton and Wenham called emergency meetings for their boards of health where the bans were then put in place.
“Hamilton is at the highest risk for EEE. We’re just being really clear that it’s a really dangerous activity to be hanging around outside,” said Leslie Whelan, a health agent in Hamilton. “People are going to make their own decisions, but by using this language that we’ve chose (banning all activities), we’re underscoring the importance of avoiding mosquito bites.” Source.
The high threat of EEE will be in place until the season’s first frost lasting more than four hours.
Fall, for me, is a great time of year to go outside and enjoy the cooler weather. Walks, hikes, festivals, soccer and football games, you name it and I’m there when the weather is nice, but some of these activities can’t happen this year. Due to the EEE threat, one Wenham college had to reschedule soccer games to a time when mosquitoes are less active. It’s unfortunate to see that cities have had to place bans on some of the year’s best activities, but it’s their job to make sure that people are as safe as possible.
From temperature and water to foliage and mosquito population, all mosquito control cases are different. At Mosquito Squad, we offer effective mosquito control for municipalities as well as residential properties every day. By minimizing and treating standing water where mosquitoes are known to breed and then applying a mosquito elimination solution to the surrounding foliage, we eliminate up to 90% of mosquitoes in a given area.
If you have questions regarding mosquito control, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
This weekend marks the kickoff to barbecue and cook out season: Memorial Day. Here are some of our favorite ideas for Memorial Day get-togethers:
Food. Let’s face it, food can make all the difference at a barbecue, but you don’t want to spend the majority of your party in the kitchen preparing food for your guests and not laughing or chatting with them. Think about things you can make prior to your guests arriving. One of our favorites is a black bean and corn salsa that can be served with tortilla chips or as a side salad. It’s simple, mix the following ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving: 1 cup thawed frozen corn, 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped scallion, ¼ cup chopped red onion, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and the juice from one lime. So yummy!
Fresh fruit is always nice at a barbecue, but to make it a little more festive, think red, white and blue. By taking a rectangle platter and doing rows of red fruit (strawberries, raspberries, watermelon) and semi-white fruit (pineapple and banana) and adding a square of blueberries at the top, your fruit platter is also a decoration.
Décor. In short, anything with red, white and blue goes on Memorial Day. To add some color and light (if your party will go into the night), take old food jars to make centerpieces. You can buy colored sand at a nearby craft store and layer red, white and blue in the jars. Stick a small candle at the top and you’re done!
Use your plates, napkins and utensils as decorative accents. Around the holidays, there are many different patriotic themed items that you can pick up at your nearest grocery store or super store that will make your table spread look wonderful!
Games. Whether it’s ladder ball, bocce or bean bag toss, it’s nice to have outdoor games in mind to give your guests something to do. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to be fun either. At a recent cook out with friends, I participated in a small field-day-like competition which included three legged races, a jumping rope contest, horse shoes and water balloon toss. All oldies, but still goodies.
Keep the bugs away. Yes, I know I’m a little biased, but honestly, who enjoys getting bitten by bugs? A mosquito control barrier spray will keep the unwanted guests from crashing your party.
Last year I married my fantastic husband in South Carolina. I’m glad it didn’t end up like this:
People spend thousands of dollars to celebrate their big day, but unfortunately mosquito control is often overlooked in planning. Knowing that South Carolina can have some bugs, I made sure that our wedding ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner venues were protected against mosquitoes as they all had outdoor spaces, but I found out the hard way the location of our pictures was not. Right after the ceremony, our wedding party, my husband and I went to a beautiful road to take pictures underneath 100+ year old oak trees. Not five minutes in, I had a huge mosquito bite on the back of my arm (and I got a few more throughout the posing process). Needless to say, we took pictures pretty quickly to get out of there. As annoyed as I was to have a few itchy bites, I was thrilled that our guests didn’t have that problem.
Mosquitoes can do a lot of damage for something so small and on a day you want everything to be flawless, you don’t want to worry about them. Mosquito Squad’s special events spray was created to make your outdoor events as perfect as you’ve always imagined. Our applicators come out prior to your event to keep the unwanted guests from crashing your big day. Visit us at online to find out more information about our mosquito control services.
With such a mild winter and warm spring, mosquitoes and ticks are already out and about, and biting. There has been an influx of news regarding ticks this year and the diseases they may carry, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. According to the Wall Street Journal “between 1992 and 2010, reported cases of Lyme doubled, to nearly 23,000 and there were another 7,600 probable cases in 210, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CDC officials say the true incidence of Lyme may be three times higher.”
The high rate of tick activity so far in 2012 has experts predicting an increase in Lyme disease. Lyme disease, transmitted through a tick bite, can cause nausea, fatigue, joint pain and headaches. If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics, but if it goes untreated it can cause more serious ailments including shooting pains, dizziness, chronic fatigue and heart palpitations.
As we have mentioned in previous posts, doctors are still debating whether chronic Lyme disease exists and if it does, the best ways to treat it. As the conversation continues as to its validity, some researchers are moving forward and looking for a cure for chronic Lyme.
Over the last two and half years, Dr. Newell-Rogers, a professor at Texas A&M, and Viral Genetics have been testing a new drug that could be prescribed for chronic Lyme disease. Their findings and a proposal for a clinical trial were recently submitted to the FDA for consideration. Time for Lyme, an organization that focuses on the research of tick-borne illnesses, has financed the pre-clinical research. “At present, there is no recognized treatment for Lyme once it has developed into its chronic, long-term state,” says Peter Wild, executive director of Time for Lyme. “We are hopeful that Dr. Newell-Roger’s work will provide the solution that long-term Lyme disease sufferers have been hoping for, for decades.” Read more about the study here.
As the FDA decides on whether or not to move forward with Dr. Newell-Roger’s trial, it is important that we all protect ourselves from ticks in a year that they are expected to be VERY prevalent. Here are some tips:
Reduce tick exposure through landscaping. Ticks live in moist, shady areas, so separate your outdoor living spaces from their habitats using gravel or wood-chip borders. Mow tall grasses and don’t position playgrounds along the wooded areas.
Treat your pets. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses can harm your pets as well. Ask your veterinarian about tick medications.
Dress appropriately. Wearing loose-fitting, long sleeved and long legged clothing will reduce your chance for tick bites.
Check your body for ticks. It’s important to check yourself thoroughly for ticks after being outside. Pay special attention to feet, ankles, behind the knees and armpits.
Remove ticks promptly. If you see a tick on you, make sure to remove it promptly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme.
If you have a problem with ticks in your yard, you may need professional treatment. Mosquito Squad’s tick control service helps fight Lyme by killing ticks before they can bite you. To learn more, please visit our website or contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
There is a week left in winter and many parts of the country are seeing abnormally warm temperatures. Nice, right? Well, good and bad is more like it. While many of us are enjoying the nice weather by spending more time outdoors, so are the mosquitoes. They are coming out, in droves. The mild winter, while it was nice, will end up bringing out more mosquitoes this spring and summer.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. If there are sustained freezing temperatures in the winter months, a lot of mosquito eggs will die. Unfortunately, this past season didn’t provide many areas with the needed cold and resulted in a larger number of eggs reaching maturity. In short, that means more annoying bugs.
Randy Peck of Mosquito Squad, who provides mosquito control in Charlotte and its surrounding areas, was recently interviewed by the local media regarding this years’ mosquito population:
“With all the rainfall we’ve had, it’s keeping everything moist and it’s not really drying out. So if it stays like that in the spring, I would imagine that mosquitoes are going to be a little worse this year,” says Randy Peck of Mosquito Squad based in Matthews. Peck says the lack of deep freezes and plenty of moisture could make for a problem.” See complete article here.
In some parts of the country municipalities are starting to spray for mosquitoes much earlier than usual. One area of Houston scheduled their first spray 2 months earlier than they did in 2011. Two months!
To cut down on the number of mosquitoes around your home, it is important to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed. For us, it’s as simple as the 5Ts:
Tip – tip over objects in your yard that may hold water including dog dishes and kids’ toys.
Toss – remove excess grass and clipping from yards
Turn – turn over larger items like birdbaths and plant saucers so the mosquitoes can’t fully develop
Remove Tarps – If tarps aren’t pulled tightly, they can create small pools of water, and 300 mosquitoes can hatch in a space as small as a bottle cap.
Treat – treat the vegetation in your yard where mosquitoes and ticks harbor and feed.
Mosquito Squad provides a mosquito control barrier spray that will protect your yard for 21 days so you can enjoy the outdoors more. If you have questions on how we can help you, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.