Mosquito-Borne Virus Season is Here

It may not be time to panic, but it is as good a time as any to be cautious.

On July 11, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed detection of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a mosquito sample collected from Boston. Just days later, DPH announced detection of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in samples collected from Easton and New Bedford in Bristol County. Then, on July 31, DPH issued a “high-risk” warning for several southeastern towns in Plymouth and Bristol counties, where EEE was found in 92 samples—one-third of them capable of spreading the virus to people.

August is typically the peak of the season for threats of mosquito-borne viruses, with initial indications appearing in late June to early July. In 2019, there were 49 documented cases of human WNV infections acquired in Massachusetts and just one human EEE infection. Both viruses can be dangerous and even fatal for people of all ages, and people over 50 are particularly vulnerable to WNV.

To reduce risk of both, it is never too late to contact Mosquito Busters for professional treatment of your property. Otherwise, see our May blog post on what you can do to reduce the risks of mosquito-borne illnesses.

Is that a puddle? Or an egg hatchery?

Inland Floodwater Mosquito ( Aedes vexans ) - Photo courtesy of  Thomas Palmer

Inland Floodwater Mosquito (Aedes vexans) - Photo courtesy of Thomas Palmer

During this rainy spring and summer, have you noticed any small collections of water around your yard? Perhaps a children’s wading pool, vase, watering can, tarps, buckets or gutters? It may seem harmless, but to female mosquitoes it’s a perfect egg hatchery. In fact, a single square foot of standing water can produce 7,000 mosquitoes.

Some species will lay 100 eggs or so at a time directly in the water. Others like the Aedes vexan lay their eggs individually on moist soil above the water line. They prefer temporary pools such as overflow pond for a parking lot, irrigated lawns that regularly shower water, and especially leaf and twig cover that helps keep the soil moist.

Dry eggs can remain dormant but viable for many years. But a single rain can add just enough water to hatch a fresh batch of mosquitoes. Once the eggs are submerged, they cycle from larva to pupa and then adult within about 10 days. 

The new adult males fly off in search of nectar, their sole food source. Females, however, must feed on blood in order to nourish and lay their eggs. The closer their “birthplace” is to people and pets, the easier it is for them to multiply and repeat the mosquito circle of life.

April Showers Bring May Flowers…AND MORE MOSQUITOES!

Mosquitoes populations boom in years with rainy springs and hot (even dry) summers, and 2019 is showing to have both. April recorded the most number of rain days in any month since 1872, and this year will likely be one of the hottest on record, if trends of the past five are any sign. 

 Bad news for us, and good news for the 51 mosquito species in Massachusetts and 47 in New Hampshire. A dozen of them are known to carry viruses (some deadly), and ALL are annoying and itchy nuisances. 

Their life cycles and activity vary from about mid-April until possibly mid-November, or when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees. That makes each month a mosquito battle, requiring multiple treatments throughout the season. But here are three things you can do to win the war:

“Turn and Toss”
Look for and eliminate any collection of standing water of around your property—even small containers, puddles and gutters (especially those close to windows). A single female needs only one bloodmeal and one inch of water to produce 200 eggs—and then she goes off for another meal and more eggs.   

Call in the Professionals
Even if you’ve drained all the water, mosquitoes will still come on to your property in the hot summer months when adult activity is highest. A quick search will turn up many do-it-yourself suggestions, but none are as effective as consistent professional expertise. Our highly-trained Mosquito Buster team will identify your risks of infestation, educate you on how to discourage them between treatments, and apply the treatment that is best for your yard (we offer both traditional and natural control methods).

Get Ready to Party
Summer is the perfect time for backyard barbeques, graduation and birthday parties, and wedding receptions. Mosquitoes never make the guest list, but gather a group of people and they’ll show up anyway. So it’s always a good idea to schedule a treatment one to two days before your big event, no matter if you are on a regular treatment plan or just looking for a one-time service. 

Lower Your Risk of Mosquito Borne Diseases

 

It’s spring time which means that it won’t be long before we start seeing mosquitoes out and about. As we mentioned before, once the weather warms those mosquito eggs that have been laying dormant in the soil all winter will begin hatching. And, since we know that mosquitoes can transmit a variety of unpleasant diseases, preventing them from coming into your home and residing in your yard is imperative. 

Follow these steps to protect yourself and your family against being bitten this spring and summer: 

1.     Make sure your window and door screens are free of tears and holes and are securely attached. 

2.     Whenever possible, use air conditioning rather than opening windows. 

3.     Mosquitoes lay eggs in still water. Remove any standing water in or around your yard that may have collected during the winter. 

 4.     Remove leaves from gutters and spouts and check them frequently. 

5.     Tightly cover up water storage containers or barrels that are kept outdoors. 

6.   When spending extended periods of time outdoors, consider wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks. 

7.     Use an insect repellent during peak mosquito biting times. 

8.     Cover your stroller when taking walks with little ones. 

9.    Finally, contact a professional to protect your yard against mosquitoes. Contact Mosquito Busters at 877-628-7837 for a quick quote! 

 

 

Lower Your Risk of Lyme Disease

As the weather warms and ticks reemerge, the risk of contracting Lyme disease becomes highly likely. Symptoms of Lyme disease include, but are not limited to: rashes, fatigue, achy or swollen joints, headaches, dizziness, fever, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating or remembering, chest pains, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and unexplained pain. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics but, in some cases, patients may suffer from long-term damage to the nervous symptoms or joints.  

As we’ve discussed here before, some ticks lay dormant during the winter in piles of dead leaves and brush and in wooded areas. While doing your spring cleaning, take these precautions to lower your risk of Lyme disease: 

1.    Get rid of any leaf litter, weeds, brush, or wood piles that have been in your yard throughout the winter. 

2.    Move wood piles away from your house

3.    Keep children and pets away from wooded perimeters and out of the actual woods

4.    Use insect repellent if you plan to hike or be outdoors for extended periods of time

5.    Discourage deer, the main food source of adult ticks, from entering your yard. Remove plants that they may be attracted to and consider putting up fencing to keep them out. 

6.    Perform tick checks after spending time outdoors. Pay special attention to: under the arms, in and around ears, behind knees, between legs, in head and body hair, inside the belly button, and around the waist. 

7.    Finally, contact a professional to protect your yard against ticks. Contact Mosquito Busters at 877-628-7837 for a quick quote! 

Where do Ticks Go in the Winter?

We recently enlightened you as to where mosquitoes go in the winter, but what about ticks? Most people associate ticks with the warm weather and often take precautions while outside during the spring and summer months. However, ticks don’t actually die out in the winter and, depending on the species, may be active in optimal winter weather conditions. 

Do Ticks Hibernate?

 Not in the exact sense of the word, but some ticks survive the winter by going dormant. Ticks will hide in piles of dead leaves and in wooded areas during the winter. Snow actually helps to insulate the ticks and keep them warm as they lay dormant. Other ticks will survive the winter by latching onto a host or staying underground in burrows or dens. 

 Can Ticks Bite in the Winter?

 Yes, some types of ticks, like the Blacklegged tick, can be active in the winter if the temperature is above freezing and the ground is thawed. Winter ticks, a specific kind of tick found on moose and some deer, actually hatch in the late summer as temperatures begin to fall, will latch onto a host, and will overwinter on it. Females will leave a host at the end of winter and lay eggs. However, those that do not find a host will die and will not last through the winter.  

 How Can You Prepare Now?

 Spring is right around the corner which means that those ticks that have been lying dormant are ready to rock and roll. Follow these simple tips to prepare you property against ticks: 

1.   Rid your yard of any leaf litter, weeds, brush, or wood piles

2.   Move wood piles away from your house and keep swing sets or toys away from wooded perimeters 

3.   Keep your pets out of the woods

4.   Call Mosquito Busters at 877-486-9792 and visit our websitefor more information on how we can help! 

New Year, New Office!

 

If you follow us on Facebook (and now Instagram!), you may have heard that we are getting ready to move into a brand new office space in Merrimac, MA! We have loved our little space in Topsfield, MA over the past twenty-five years but as business has grown, so has our staff, and our needs. We’re pleased to announce that our new location will be open as very soon! Stop by to say and hi and to check out our state-of-the-art facilities! 

In addition to requiring more space for our growing company (and for that, we have YOU to thank!), our primary reason for moving was to be able to provide our technicians with the best training in the business. Our new location will allow us to offer continuing education, support, and guidance to our technicians, staff, and colleagues. We’ve installed a classroom with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, a mock bedroom to help refresh seasoned technicians and train new technicians on our bed bug eradication techniques, as well as a mock residential kitchen to provide training on common insects like ants, cockroaches, and mice. That’s not all! We will also have a mock commercial kitchen set up specifically for training our technicians on what to look for in restaurants and food processing plants. Finally, our new facility also has a fantastic outdoor area to teach and practice treating against mosquitoes and ticks.  

No matter our location, Mosquito Busters is the leader in tick and mosquito control in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We have developed tried-and-true methods of mosquito and tick control in both traditional and natural treatment form. Treatments tend to be more affordable than most customers expect, and both types are effective for discouraging pests from reproducing on land that would otherwise tempt them to build generations of families.

Call Mosquito Busters at 877-486-9792 and visit our website or more information on how we can help! 

Where Do Mosquitoes Go in the Winter?

Ever wonder where mosquitoes go during the winter and why they’re not biting? Many people are under the assumption that mosquitoes simply die as the temperatures drop but this is not the case! The answer is actually quite interesting and proves that the mosquito is a resilient little insect. 

Do Mosquitoes Hibernate?

Male mosquitoes have a lifespan of only about a week and a half and die after mating in the fall. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in the fall in areas where the ground is wet and moist or in stagnant water. They then become inactive during the winter months, similar to how bears hibernate. The already laid eggs lay dormant in the soil and freezing water until conditions become more favorable for hatching. Those that live in regions where the temperatures get below freezing, like in New England, will delay their development until the weather warms up. This process is called diapause. Once the weather is warmed up those eggs will continue development and will begin to hatch. 

Why Don’t They Bite During the Winter?

In addition to being dormant, mosquitoes simply don’t need to bite humans during the winter months. The reason female mosquitoes bite in the first place is because they need the protein in human blood to assist in egg production, which is not happening in winter. Once spring arrives, though, those previously laid eggs begin to hatch, and females prepare for reproduction. This is when we begin to notice their arrival and their bothersome bites. 

How Can You Prepare Now?

Now that you know more about the habits of mosquitoes in the winter, here are some simple tips to prepare your property to keep them at bay this spring: 

1.     Remove any stagnant water from your property that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes

2.     Unclog gutters and repair leaky pipes to allow for proper drainage 

3.     Call Mosquito Busters at 877-486-9792 and visit our website for more information on how we can help! 

 

 

Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

We all know that ticks carry some pretty unpleasant diseases and Lyme disease is probably the most notorious. In recent years, the cases of Lyme disease has been rising and is a nationwide issue. Even though, there are still a great deal of myths and misunderstandings surrounding the signs and symptoms the disease. We’re here to set the record straight – read on to learn more about the actual signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

Mosquito Borne Diseases

Mosquito Borne Diseases

Summertime means lots of lazy days hanging outside, barbecues with friends, and walks in the woods. However, with the good comes the bad, and mosquitoes can really put a damper on your summertime fun. Not only are mosquitoes annoying and apt to leave you with itchy, red welts, but they can also carry and transmit some pretty unpleasant diseases. Read on to learn about five of them:

Lyme Disease is on the Rise

Lyme Disease is on the Rise

If you’ve been paying attention to the news in recent weeks, you’ve probably heard a lot of discussion surrounding Lyme disease. The occurrences of Lyme disease, a disease that is spread by ticks, have been steadily rising across the country in recent years. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of actual cases is as much as ten times higher than what is being reported. This is partially because the symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic those of other illnesses, making it difficult to diagnose.

Tick-borne Diseases

Tick-borne Diseases

After a long and cold winter, Spring has finally arrived here in New England. Even though we are glad to see the sun and the arrival of warmer temperatures, springtime also means the return of ticks. It’s very likely that you, or someone you know, has found a tick on themselves or their pet, and possibly even contracted Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease, but did you know that ticks also spread several other kinds of illnesses? Read on to learn more:

Repelling Mosquitoes: What Works and What Doesn’t

Repelling Mosquitoes: What Works and What Doesn’t

Finding the perfect insect repellant becomes almost an obsession in the heat and humidity of summertime, when mosquitoes are at their most active stage. Unfortunately there are lots of products out there that promise to do the trick but are actually little more than gimmicks. Here are a few to avoid: