Mosquito Control

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Move over Mosquito!

Mosquitoes have a reputation of disrupting and ruining picnics, campouts, hikes and backyard barbeques. They do not care about your age, gender or race…they just want your blood. These insects have been bothering us for centuries. In fact, mosquitoes have been dated back as far as the Triassic Period, which was over 400 million years ago. Scientists believe there are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes, 176 of those residing within the United States. And just in case you are curious, West Virginia has the fewest species of mosquitoes at 26 while Texas has the most at 85 species. Mosquito is Spanish for “little fly” but in Africa, New Zealand and Australia they are called “mozzies.” No matter what they are called, all countries are familiar with their annoying bite and the irritation they cause. Humans have tried many ways of fighting back and over the last several decades, we have become more experienced at successfully fighting these insects. Even though we’ll never remove them completely, there is no reason to surrender the fight.

What attracts mosquitoes?

No matter where you are, there is always someone in a group that seems to get eaten alive by all the mosquitoes around while others just get a couple bites. Why is this? Researches have spent years studying why some people are bit more often than others. They don’t know the exact answer to this question but there are a few things they have determined:

  • Carbon dioxide: Mosquitoes can actually smell this exhaled gas and are immediately alerted to your presence by the mere scent of your breathing. So partially, just being human is enough for them to find you.
  • Heat: Mosquitoes are attracted to heat and find the warmest areas on your body. They can sense in which areas the blood is the closest to the surface, which is why people usually are bitten on their forehead, wrists, elbows and neck.
  • Lactic acid: This acid is produced when you exercise. When you are working out, you are not only producing heat, but your muscles create lactic acid. This is a double whammy to mosquitoes making you an extra delicious meal.
  • Dark colors: Dark colors stand out to mosquitoes. Since they are visual hunters, light colored clothing has a lower incident of being seen.
  • Beer: Numerous studies conducted on this suspect that the smell of beer or alcohol on your breath will attract mosquitoes.
  • Estrogen: Yes, the mere fact that you are female could be another reason why you are bit more often. It is suspected that mosquitoes can smell estrogen so ladies, don’t forget the bug spray!
  • Uric acid: An excess of uric acid built up in the body is also shown to be highly attractive. Excessive uric acid is caused by a number of things such as excessive caffeine, alcohol, meat and shellfish consumption and other medical conditions such as gout, kidney diseases, blood cancers and obesity.
  • Strong smells: This includes body odor, stinky feet, even Limburger cheese.
  • Perfumes: Some perfumes and body lotions are mosquito magnets. If you are planning an outdoor trip, keep these products limited to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Even if you avoided every item in that list, the mere fact that your body contains blood makes you an irresistible lunch to a mosquito. With that in mind, they cannot contain themselves and will stop at nothing to have a taste!

The diseases mosquitoes carry

One of the reasons mosquitoes are so feared today is due to the viruses and diseases they carry. Because many viruses can be transmitted by blood, when a mosquito bites an infected person, that virus then reproduces within the mosquito then transmitting it to its next host. The diseases they transmit can be dangerous and sometimes deadly. Because of the mosquito, many communities and cities throughout time have suffered and perished with the rapid spread of disease perpetuated by this insect.

Here are some of the diseases mosquitoes carry you should be aware of:

  • Zika virus: This disease has hit recent international headlines and is a disease that is still being studied. The virus itself causes fever, headache, rash, joint pain and red eyes, but when a woman contracts this virus and is or soon becomes pregnant, the fetus subsequently has a chance of being born with microcephaly. This birth defect causes an unusually small head, developmental delays and other physical impairments.
  • Chikungunya: In 1952, this mosquito-borne disease was discovered but has had a rash of outbreaks since 2005. In 2013, it made its way to the Caribbean island of St. Martin and has since been spreading, now currently in 60 countries worldwide, including the Americas. The symptoms include a fever and typically debilitating joint pain that varies in duration. This joint pain can last several weeks and in extreme cases, months or years.
  • Dengue and yellow fever: These two diseases are closely related and have been ravaging the world for centuries. They still exist today, though are less common in civilized countries, though not unheard of. The viruses produce flu-like symptoms including fever, joint pain and headache.
  • West Nile virus: In 70-80% of people, this virus causes zero symptoms but in 20% of those infected, the symptoms can be intense. Flu-like symptoms are common but for a small percentage of those who are symptomatic, severe neurological symptoms are possible.
  • Malaria: This mosquito-borne disease is actually a parasite that attacks the red blood cells and vessels within the body. Once the parasite reproduces and becomes widespread within the body, it destroys smaller blood vessels and causes catastrophic damage to internal organs.

Many of the diseases mosquitoes carry can be prevented with mosquito control and thanks to modern medicine, if contracted, the symptoms can be lessened. Several of these diseases, such as West Nile, dengue, and yellow fevers along with malaria, also have vaccines invented to prevent the occurrence if you come in contact. If you are traveling to countries with a prevalence of these diseases, it would be wise to ask your healthcare professional if these vaccines are right for your circumstances and travel.

Why do mosquitoes need your blood?

Male and female mosquitoes primarily drink sugary plant nectar. Male mosquitoes do not drink blood and have a much shorter life span by about half that of a female. Female mosquitoes, when not producing eggs, also thrive on nectar but once they are producing eggs, they need that protein nourishment they get from blood. When a mosquito bites you, your body produces a natural, immune response to this bite similar to an allergic reaction, which is why an itchy, red bump is the result.

It should be noted that mosquitoes do not actually “bite” humans since they don’t have teeth. Mosquitoes have a long, straw-like “mouth” called a proboscis that they use to pierce the skin of their host. They are masters at sucking blood undetected because their saliva actually contains chemicals to not only coagulate the blood (stop it from bleeding out of the wound) but also to numb the flesh so you don’t feel the stabbing of their needle-like mouth. By the time your body has a chance to react to the itching saliva, that mosquito might have bitten you several times.

When are mosquitoes most active?

Most mosquitoes are the most active during the afternoon and evening hours of the day, which is why we often complain of them disturbing our dinners on the patio. The hot temperatures have cooled slightly, making it ideal for them to find a meal. The hot summer temps can dehydrate and kill them so they stay in cool, shaded, wet areas until the sun sinks in the sky. They then stir from their hiding places and look for food. If you happen to be nearby, you are a prime target. Insect repellent is essential if you will be out, especially walking in nature during these peak mosquito hours.

You may have heard people reference “mosquito season” and there is good reason. Depending on where you live, there is a season in which mosquitoes are the most prevalent. This season is shortest the further north you live. For instance, those living in Wisconsin, Montana or Washington will only need to worry about mosquitoes from May to August while anyone living in Texas, Florida or Mexico will need to be watchful from February to November. This doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see mosquitoes out of peak seasons, but these time frames are when these insects are out in force.

What can you do to protect yourself?

As mosquito season approaches, there are many things you can do to protect yourself and your family from the onslaught of mosquito bites. Wearing mosquito repellent with DEET is shown to reduce the number of bites and repel these nasty insects. Amping up the protection in peak times is especially important. Wearing long pants and sleeves will keep the majority of your exposed skin protected but remember, some desperate mosquitoes can penetrate thin clothing. Mosquito traps are also a good idea. Setting them up in your backyard, particularly around the areas you congregate most will draw the mosquitoes to the traps first before your body. Using screens on your doors and windows will keep them out of your house. There is nothing worse than being bit in your sleep or while you peacefully watch TV or read a book.

Most of all, professional mosquito control is the best idea for mosquito control and protection. Green Pest Services uses the most advanced, safe, environmentally friendly methods of mosquito control out there. Treating the mosquito prone areas around your yard and home will ensure their breeding areas are discontinued and the eggs will not hatch. We help you recognize where standing water and common breed areas are so you can continue mosquito prevention when our expert technicians are gone.

Professional mosquito control you can trust

Scheduling routine mosquito control is a must throughout the year. Since eggs are able to withstand the coldest winter temperatures, you must prepare for the spring when the eggs hatch and continue treatments throughout the warmer months and into the fall. When it comes to mosquito control, protecting your family is of utmost importance. Keeping yourself and your children from these dreadful mosquito transmitted diseases is vital. We will do a complete inspection and treatment of your home so that when your children play outside or your family enjoys dinner on the patio, you won’t become lunch for these nasty insects. Green Pest Services is your expert services for all types of pest control. We want to leave your home completely pest free and your complete satisfaction is our number one priority. We look forward to being your pest control experts for many years to come.

 

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