Posts tagged ‘asian tiger mosquitoes’

August 14, 2014

“Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think.”

The mosquito blood meal

In true fashion, reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. I recently read a quote by Tom Wilson that speaks more fact than much lengthier prose I have read on the subject of mosquitoes… “Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think.”

Simple and very poignant to say the least. How is it that such a tiny insect can strike such fear in us and remind us of our place in the big “scheme” of things — the circle of life? In order to understand the mosquito we must first go back, way back in fact, to the beginning. The oldest known mosquito with an anatomy similar to the modern species we deal with today was found in 79-million-year-old Canadian amber from the Cretaceous period. In addition, an even older sister species with more primitive features was found in Burmese amber that is 90 to 100 million years old. Two mosquito fossils have also been found that show very little morphological difference from modern mosquitoes against their counterpart from 46 million years ago.

Yes, indeed this would mean the tiny mosquito survived the ice age, even when the dinosaurs did not. 

dinosaurs-caveman-clubc-rag-prehistoric-wild-human (1)Scientists have even discovered evidence of bedding that was constructed from plant stems and leaves which contained a natural plant derived insecticide. This bedding would have served as much for mosquito control as for comfort at the time. The bedding was discovered in a rock shelter in Sibudu South Africa and is believed to be left by our early ancestors who slept in the shelter from 38,000 to 77,000 years ago. The use of these plants and leaves prove that the cavemen had knowledge of the specific insecticidal and medicinal uses of the plants within the world around them. Analysis of the bedding also concluded it was refurbished with the insecticidal plants and leaves on more than one occasion proving again, that the inhabitants of the Sibudu site were well aware of the properties and attributes of the plants and leaves they were choosing to “feather their beds” with at the time. Researchers also learned from excavation of the sight that the cavemen burned spent and used bedding in a way to possibly further mosquito control efforts within their living space and to maintain an insect free space for further occupation. This discovery is 50,000 years older than the most ancient preserved bedding we have found in the past — wow.

Now, for the skinny on where the mosquito ends up on the food chain: Even though there are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes on earth doesn’t mean they are higher up on the food chain than humans. To better explain this, I turn to the wonderful minds at National Geographic who explain the theory of the “food chain” in more detail.  “A food web consists of all the food chains in a single ecosystem. Each living thing in an ecosystem is part of multiple food chains. Each food chain is one possible path that energy and nutrients may take as they move through the ecosystem. All of the interconnected and overlapping food chains in an ecosystem make up a food web.” Mosquitoes are part of many food webs. The female mosquito needs blood to feed her eggs. Humans make easy prey for mosquitoes because of many factors, including smell. Mosquitoes eat from plants as male mosquitoes are beneficial pollinators and do not feed from blood. Mosquito eggs too, are food to crayfish, dragonflies and frogs. Bass, pike, trout and perch are a few of the many fish that feed on mosquito larva. Flying mosquitoes are food for frogs, bats and birds, especially purple martins.

So you see mosquitoes, though they are vectors for illness and disease and get on our last nerve, are part of the circle of life — they eat plants, deposit eggs and become food. 

I truly think the basis of this quote, in particular, comes from the track record of the mosquito as a predator. Earlier this year, Bill Gates made a reference to the mosquito being the world’s deadliest predator on his blog, gatesnotes. When it comes to killing humans, no other animal even comes close. Here is a look at the number of people each year killed by various animals, many of which you would assume more menacing than the mosquito: Sharks accounted for 10 deaths per year, elephants 100, dogs 25,000 , humans killing humans 425,00 and the mosquito came in at a whopping 725,000!

Bill Gates Deadliest Animal Mosquito Graphic

Bill Gates Deadliest Animal Mosquito Graphic

What makes mosquitoes so dangerous? Despite their innocuous-sounding name—Spanish for “little fly”—they carry devastating diseases. The worst is Malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people every year; another 200 million cases incapacitate people for days at a time. It threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Other mosquito-borne diseases include Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, and Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Even though many of these diseases are not in your backyard, the mosquitoes are. Our goal is to keep you, your family and your pets completely protect you from mosquitoes the entire season for comfort and safety. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery for a free estimate today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

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August 6, 2014

The top 10 things you need to know about the Asian Tiger Mosquito in Montgomery County, MD

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Asian Tiger Mosquito

The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is an invasive mosquito species that is known to be a vector for a wide range of mosquito-borne illness and disease.  These include Dengue Fever, which is predominant throughout Southeast Asia.  The Asian tiger is also a potential vector for Yellow Fever and has now been identified as the main carrier of Chikungunya , a debilitating virus prevalent in Africa, Asia and as of December 2013, also in the Caribbean. This virus causes fever and joint pain among other symptoms. The first two cases of Chikungunya were contracted in Florida last week, according to the CDC.  Here in Maryland the Asian tiger is to blame for the spread of  West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Lacrosse Encephalitis and Canine heartworms.

The tire trade in the US is to blame for the rise of the Asian Tiger mosquito.

The tire trade in the US is to blame for the rise of the Asian Tiger mosquito.

This mosquito is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia.  The tiger mosquito now thrives in both urban and suburban environments across Maryland. The initial discovery of Asian Tiger mosquitoes in the US occurred in Houston tow years prior to when their discovery Baltimore, MD in 1987 at a used tire processing plant. From there, it spread to nearby communities as buckets, cans, flower vases and many other artificial water holding containers have proved as suitable as tire casings for breeding sites. Many communities in Maryland which experienced very little mosquito annoyance in the past are now infested by these mosquitoes. The tiger mosquito prefers residential areas where shade and water-holding containers are common. This pest is found in all neighborhoods, from the poorest to the most affluent. Older residential areas with a good deal of shade are preferred sites. Areas near commercial establishments which store a large number of tire casings outside are often infested with the greatest number of Asian Tiger mosquitoes.

The Asian Tiger mosquito is colored like it's namesake: the tiger.

The Asian Tiger mosquito is colored like it’s namesake: the tiger.

Only two years after the arrival of this unwanted world traveler, the population had already spread into 17 states.  Currently the Asian tiger mosquito’s realm extends from Texas all along the southern coast all the way to the Atlantic.  This mosquito has now been identified in 25 states that range as far north as Iowa.

The Asian tiger mosquito was named for its distinct black and white markings, which resemble its namesake – the tiger.  This mosquito was aptly named because it exhibits much of the same aggression as a tiger.  It will return again and again, even as it’s pushed or swatted away, to gain a blood meal.  It has even been reported to have swarmed homeowners in their backyard, being mistaken for bees.

One of the most distinct characteristics of this mosquito is that it is a day-feeder — when other mosquitoes are in their “down” time waiting for the sun to fade into the horizon, the Asian tiger is busy in search of an all-you-can-eat buffet!  In an effort to educate Montgomery County homeowners on the unique traits of this mosquito, we have put together a  list of the ten things you need to know about the Asian tiger mosquito:

Top 10 things your need to know about the Asian tiger mosquito

#1) Asian tiger mosquitoes are aggressive day feeders. Early morning and late afternoon are peak biting times.

#2) Tiger mosquitoes rest, fly and bite close to the ground.

#3) These mosquitoes are strongly attracted to bite humans, but will feed on cats, dogs and other mammals, as well as birds active on the ground.

the bloodthirsty asian tiger mosquito

The bloodthirsty Asian Tiger mosquito is just one of over species of mosquito here in MD.

#4) Asian tiger mosquitoes can breed in minimal amount of water including small puddles, crevices, knots in trees, planter reservoirs and even soda bottle caps.

#5) Female Asian Tiger mosquitoes lay 40 to 150 eggs after obtaining a blood meal.

#6) The cycle of blood feeding and egg laying will continue throughout the mosquito’s life span.

#7) Egg laying occurs about once per week.

#8) Adult tiger mosquitoes live from a few days to several weeks, largely depending on weather conditions. Hot, dry weather reduces life expectancy.

#9) During her lifetime, female Asian Tiger Mosquitoes will lay approximately 300 eggs.

#10)  In Maryland, Tiger mosquito eggs are present year round. Larvae is present from April through October. Adult tiger mosquitoes are found May through October. The period of peak population is June through September.

You can enjoy your yard and eliminate Asian tiger mosquitoes by using the proven Mosquito Squad  mosquito barrier spray program along with exercising safe-mosquito habits around your home!

Being able to use your yard more allows you to invite more friends and family over during the summer. Having the freedom to enjoy your yard also allows kids to play, explore nature and enjoy being a kid! Outdoor entertaining is also a plus this time of year, but, you also know getting your guests to come back for the next celebration will only occur if you provide them a safe and relaxing time while outside. Swatting and worrying about mosquitoes isn’t a memory you want guests taking home with them after a visit to your home.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Our program will eliminate mosquitoes in your yard, including the Asian tiger mosquito, all season long.  Our worry-free, effective barrier spray will get rid of mosquitoes present and prevent them from returning for up to 21 days.  Eliminating mosquitoes reduces you and your family’s chances of contracting  a mosquito-borne illness. Getting started is easy and our rotation program ensures mosquito control all summer long, with no gaps in service.

Take the tiger by the tail this season and contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery today to schedule a season free of mosquitoes, ticks and stink bugs!

 

 

 

June 19, 2014

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery discusses the misconception of the Polar Vortex’s impact on mosquitoes

Polar Vortex photo courtesy of the Washington Post

Polar Vortex photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

In talking to our customers, it seems many of them think harsh winters mean fewer insects in the spring and summer.  We know the much talked about Polar Vortex that Maryland and other states endured this past winter must mean the mosquito population has to be less in West Montgomery County this year. Right? That’s actually not the case.

If you think about the number of millennia insects have faced warm and extremely cold winters, yet are still with us, you know they must have a way to adapt to severe climate changes.  Mosquitoes are extreme survivors.  Ask any Alaska resident if mosquito numbers are reduced in years with extremely cold winters.  They will tell you clearly the answer is ‘No’.  Our 49th state has 35 mosquito species and they all survive the sub-zero winters very well each year.  Maryland has 59 mosquito species, and all have adapted equally as well to our winters too!

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery MD

Mosquitoes survive like most species, by first timing their lifecycle to seasonal weather changes.

So how do they survive?  Mosquitoes survive like most species by first timing their lifecycle to seasonal weather changes.  As eggs, mosquitoes can survive very harsh winters.  Harsh winters and the cold water eggs  may slow down the development of the mosquito egg which means in long, cold winters, they will hatch later in the spring but they will still hatch.  This developmental slowdown is called diapause by scientists and is an adaptation used by many insects, not just mosquitoes.

Adult mosquitoes survive winter by hiding in any warm, moist place they can find.  Heavy, damp leaf litter, in tree bark, openings in trees or deadfalls are among their favorite hiding places.  If mosquitoes can find warmth in garages, attics, walls and other places in your home they will over-winter there also.  Even animal burrows underground will keep mosquitoes warm and moist during harsh winters.  Warmth and moisture are the necessary elements for larvae and adult stage mosquitoes to survive cold winters.

Adult mosquitoes have developed two adaptations to help them further survive cold winters.  The first is a process that turns their body’s fluid into glycerol as the weather cools.  Glycerol acts like an anti-freeze to keep them from freezing.  Like other insects, mosquitoes also use an adaptation called “super cooling”.  As cold weather approaches, they begin to lower their temperature so they can survive much colder temperatures.  A mosquito that can’t find a place warm enough to keep them above their lower super cooled temperature won’t survive winter, but most do.

The emerging mosquito rears it's ugly head!

The emerging mosquito rears it’s ugly head!

Equally as important as warmth is to mosquitoes is moisture and dampness.  Mosquitoes in any lifecycle stage need moisture or they will dry out.  Our wet spring, on top of plenty of water from snow-melt has provided an ample amount of warm and wet hiding places for mosquitoes to get the moisture they need this year.  Increased rains this spring warmed our lakes, rivers and streams.  This quickly restarted Marylands’s mosquito eggs developing toward adults. The increased rainfall we’ve had this spring gave these pest many more places for eggs to develop and hatch.

The cold truth is;  weather temperature influences the mosquito lifecycle but it has little effect on their survival rate.  Temperature and rain mainly affect the time when mosquitoes hatch.  In areas like Rockville and all over Montgomery County, hatching and mosquitoes emerging from hibernation generally begins each year around mid-April or earlier.  For more information on The Four Seasons of Mosquitoes, you can visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.

mosquito larvae and eggs in standing water

Mosquito larvae and eggs in standing water.

Since mosquitoes aren’t good fliers, most spend their lifetime within a few hundred yards of where they are born.  In order to reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property, it’s important to begin protecting your yard early with a barrier spray.  We want to serve all of our customers before mosquitoes are a problem and at a time that is most convenient to you.  The earlier you call, the more flexible we can be in scheduling the protection you want for your family and friends who will be enjoying your yard this summer.

mosquito in the snow

Mosquito in the snow, well, not literally.

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery offers an intensive mosquito control program that controls and prevents mosquitoes all season. Our highly effective barrier sprays are sprayed on a regular schedule throughout the mosquito season to ensure no gaps in your mosquito and tick control. We also offer an organic mosquito control spray that is highly effective in controlling mosquitoes as well!

Our goal is to keep you, your family and your pets completely protect you from mosquitoes and the many diseases they carry for the entire season. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery for a free estimate today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

 

May 27, 2014

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery is your best choice for a mosquito-free season!

West Montgomery MD mosquito control and prevention

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery offers an intensive mosquito control program that controls and prevents mosquitoes all season.

There are a lot of old wives’ tales and gimmicks for getting rid of mosquitoes. Many of today’s homeowners rely on mosquito control products and remedies that just aren’t effective at keeping the mosquitoes away, or protecting you and your family from the risks associated with mosquito-borne illness. Being in the business of bugs, and a concerned mother of two, I have seen it all! From Tiki-torches filled with oil that promises a mosquito-free environment once you light them (which leads to the risk of fire), to gels, candles and cartridges filled with minute traces of Citronella which do very little to keep the problem at bay. In addition, many of us prefer to not to apply repellants on our bodies, and our children’s, every time we step outdoors.

 

Bill Gates Deadliest Animal Mosquito Graphic

Bill Gates Deadliest Animal Mosquito Graphic

 

One of the most powerful weapons in preventing mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness is knowledge. Mosquitoes are one of the oldest species on the face of the earth, dating back more than 170 million years. Mosquitoes are known as the deadliest predators on earth. Don’t let their small stature or wispy presence fool you: they are known vectors of many devastating diseases. The worst of them being  Malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people every year; another 200 million cases incapacitate people for weeks and even months at a time. It threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Other mosquito-borne diseases include West Nile Virus. Dengue fever, Yellow fever, Encephalitis and the recent debut of Chikungunya Disease. However, we still have the upper hand, and if we are diligent as homeowners in taking  control of our property then the incidences of mosquito-borne diseases would diminish, as well as the nuisance of having to deal with mosquitoes.

Taking control of your property means inspecting  it on a regular basis and especially following rainfall. It also means being aware of the areas of your property  that could serve well for a mosquito to reside or lay eggs. As we move into the warmer season, mosquitoes are gradually gaining momentum in your yard and will soon be out in full force. These mosquitoes will be hungry and in search of a  host to feed from and a good place to lay their eggs.

Here are a list of the 5 things to keep in mind while inspecting your property. Mosquito Squad calls these the 5T’s of mosquito  prevention:

The 5 T’s of mosquito prevention

  • Tip- tip over any item that collects moisture.
  • Top– top over any item or container where  moisture can collect.
  • Turn over– turn over containers such as planters, children’s toys, and other items when not in use can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Remove tarps– remove any tarp or cover to discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs in the folds of the tarp which are prone to collect moisture.
  • Toss– throw away debris and items that can collect water. This includes trash. Did you know a mere soda pop bottle top can serve as a nursery to over 300 mosquito eggs alone? When in doubt-toss it out.

 

standing water, forgotten behind your garden shed serves as the perfect breeding ground for thousands of mosquito eggs!

A wheelbarrow of standing water, forgotten behind your garden shed serves as the perfect breeding ground for thousands of mosquito eggs!

These 5 easy to remember mosquito prevention practices are vital to keeping you and your family safe from mosquitoes. Other common sense practices to reduce mosquito populations include keeping  your lawn mowed and free of debris, this includes brush piles. Keep your landscape from becoming overgrown. Make sure all screened areas in and around your home are not damaged or torn to reduce the risk of mosquitoes becoming uninvited house guests. Clogged gutters are a refuge for mosquitoes as well as down spouts. Make certain these areas are kept free of debris. Other things to avoid are pooled water in sandboxes and swing sets or other outdoor kids play structures. Also avoid keeping tires outside, keep old tires tossed out (after all, hitching a ride in a used tire shipment from Asia to Texas  is how the Asian Tiger mosquito made its way into the U.S. back in 1985.)

In addition to removing the potential for mosquitoes to breed, it is also highly recommended to have your property treated by a licensed mosquito control professional to provide an invisible veil of protection from mosquitoes and the illnesses they carry. Since mosquitoe activity is suddenly in full force, now is the time to be vigilant in mosquito control practices in your own backyard.

Enjoy the season mosquito free with Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery!

Enjoy the season mosquito free with Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery!

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery offers an intensive mosquito control program that controls and prevents mosquitoes all season. Our highly effective barrier sprays are sprayed on a regular schedule throughout the mosquito season to ensure no gaps in your mosquito and tick control. We also offer an organic mosquito control spray that is highly effective in controlling mosquitoes as well!

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Our goal is to keep you, your family and your pets completely protect you from mosquitoes and the many diseases they carry for the entire season. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery for a free estimate today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

 

August 21, 2010

Mosquito Squad a West Nile Solution

Last night, our local Fox News had a report about the recent diagnoses of 2 West Nile cases in Maryland. The report covered the all- important preventative measures we all need to take on our properties, especially tipping over anything that can catch even a small amount of water. As part of the report, Mosquito Squad was shown as a solution. In fact, I was featured talking about our service and demonstrating how we apply the product to the foliage which kills mosquitoes that are present and creates an invisible barrier against additional mosquitoes that try to come in for the duration of the time-released product–21 days.

Mosquito Squad has been protecting families since 2004, beginning in Charlotte, NC.  For many areas including most of Montgomery County, Md, this is the first year that our service is available.  With county and city budget cuts residents are left on their own to find solutions for mosquitoes in their own yards. It’s no wonder that Montgomery county has welcomed us with open arms this year!

Click here to see the news video .

July 9, 2010

The Business Gazette features Mosquito Squad

The folks at the Business Gazette based in Montgomery County, MD were wondering how the heat wave was affecting businesses in the area. So they called us! Larry Johnson of the Frederick and Washington Counties Mosquito Squad explained that the Asian tiger mosquito populations increase more quickly as temps rise. I have seen more mosquitoes even in the middle of the day when I am out inspecting new accounts. Fortunately, I know what we do can have an impact on that rising population either with our traditional product or our all natural option.

See The Business Gazette article  http://bit.ly/9YM2yY

February 10, 2010

How Will all this Snow Affect Mosquitoes?

I'm with my kids in the Wetlands (Snowlands) next to our home.

We just got through round 2 of Snowmeggedon in the Washington, DC area. WOW! I’ve lived here for 25 years and finally got to see not just a blizzard, but a Double Blizzard! Now that my electricity is back on, I’ve been able to get in the computer to tell you how the snow might affect the mosquito population this coming season. Since mosquitoes eggs and larvae rely on moisture, you can expect a hearty crop when it warms up enough. According to our friend, the Groundhog, you have some time to prepare. Did you know the Asian Tiger Mosquitoes we have now do great in extreme climates?  According to Wikipedia: Tiger mosquitoes can tolerate snow and in some microhabitats, the adult tiger mosquitoes can survive throughout winter. Learn all about them here.

January 11, 2010

Mosquito Control That Really Works

Mosquito Problem?

You might not be thinking about this with that white stuff on the ground right now, but are you sick of being run indoors? Last summer I was.  One day in June, my family had not been able to continue enjoying meals outside anymore. It wasn’t the weather, it was the biting mosquitoes (especially those asian tiger mosquitoes) and the fear of ticks. We’d be run in by those little pests so fast that we’d given up eating outside.  I heard about this company called Mosquito Squad and couldn’t wait to see if it was all it claimed to be.  My reason was twofold: my family needed relief in the yard and in the back of my mind, I thought if it worked, it might be a franchise I would want to buy. (I learned about this company as a franchise consultant that helps others find the right franchise to start up.)

The Test

One Wednesday in June, we got the first application on our yard. Two days later,  we had a couple families over for a casual diner. All nine of us ate outside. Then we stayed out till 10:30 playing board games at the table with not one mosquito. We got our yard back. What a great summer it turned out to be, though I noticed we were the only ones in our neighborhood outside those following months.

It tuns out I’m not the only one who loves this service and the company behind it. There were 18 new franchisees at training a month ago preparing to open 20 new territories in the country.  Here is the link to see if your area is covered: www.MosquitoSquad.com .  If it’s not and/or you think you might want to own a franchise, click here.

Wishing you Healthy, Happy Outdoor Living!

Susan

Proud new owner of Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery County 301-444-5566