FEMA Funded Post-Storm Mosquito Abatement: Why Some Counties and Cities Get It and Some Don’t

Through FEMA, the federal government has a track record of supplying cost reimbursement for post-disaster mosquito abatement.  Despite the need, many storm affected districts never benefit from these funds.  The importance of post-storm mosquito control is evident.  Torrential rains and flooding can lead to extreme increases in biting and, potentially, disease carrying mosquito populations.  High water levels can cause swarms of mosquitoes to hatch from eggs that have long laid dormant.  In the absence of abatement efforts, these levels can persist for weeks or months following a storm.  Mosquito outbreaks can hamper recovery efforts to remove debris, restore power, and repair damaged homes.

 

 

To read the rest of the white paper, visit our white paper portal.

 

Zika Found in Common Asian Tiger Mosquito

Zika Virus, previously thought only to be spread by the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito, has significant potential to be more prolific.

 

Visit our download portal to access our Zika white paper

 

In late May, scientists at the University of Florida discovered that the Asian tiger mosquito, common in backyards across the United States, can also be infected with Zika and can pass at least parts of the virus along to its eggs.

 

The Asian tiger mosquito, also called the Aedes albopictus, therefore possibly has a role in Zika transmission. Researchers examined eggs harvested from the outbreak region of Brazil, and both male and female specimens were found to harbor Zika.

 

asian tiger mosquito

 

This species is considered more dangerous overall, according to mosquito experts, because it has adapted to much colder climates and a greater variety of hosts, as opposed to the Aedes aegypti that requires a tropical environment to live and breed.

 

The Asian tiger mosquito is most easily identified by its white striped legs. It most commonly feeds in the middle of the day. Additional research is scheduled to be conducted to determine how effective the Asian tiger mosquito’s capability for spreading Zika.

 

To read more about controlling all species of mosquitos, visit our website. To speak with an entomologist or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 800-256-1784.

 

Original article here.

Teaching Children about Mosquitoes: Fun and Educational Resources

Mosquito Control Services routinely participates in classroom activities at schools and learning facilities in both Louisiana and Georgia. Education is an integral part of the Mosquito Control Services program. Since government and mosquito abatement cannot do it alone, we provide extensive and targeted mosquito education programs for the public. We offer presentations to civic groups, schools and businesses, providing easy to read materials and presentations geared toward specific audiences.

 

teaching children about mosquitoes

 

These presentations include useful tips such as preventing bites, eliminating mosquito breeding around the home and protecting yourself and family from encephalitis. When it comes to disease-carrying mosquitoes, education is vital. When a threat has been detected, our teams go door-to-door with information to help residents better protect themselves.

 

We also work closely with local news media and government agencies to keep information updated and flowing. We’ve learned that keeping people aware and informed is very important in the battle against mosquito-borne diseases.

 

The battle against mosquitoes cannot be won by governments and mosquito control methods alone. It takes a community! That’s why Mosquito Control Services provides targeted and easy-to-understand public education programs.

 

Whether it’s an elementary school, a senior center, a fair or festival, our staff provides presentations that engage and enlighten both young and old alike. We explain what we are doing to combat mosquitoes, but, more important, our education programs provide useful protection tips such as preventing bites, eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, and protection from Encephalitis.

 

Please examine these additional resources for mosquito control lessons:

 

 

Download some of our educational materials here.

Schedule your mosquito expert today! This service is free for current contract holders.

Mosquito Protection for Pets

Whether your house is home to cats, dogs, horses or ferrets, know that mosquito protection for pets is essential for animals as well as humans. Mosquitoes are known transmitters of both heartworm and West Nile, diseases that can prove fatal for our furry friends.

 

mosquito protection for pets

 

For horses, a West Nile vaccine is available. Equine veterinary experts recommend this treatment prior to mosquito season or more regularly in warmer climates, depending on the strength and duration of the dosage.

 

For dogs, cats, ferrets, or other outside pets, heartworm preventative is tremendously important. Signs and symptoms of heartworm infection typically do not present until the animal is very ill.

 

Experts note preparing outdoor areas is also an effective means of mosquito control: dumping standing water, placing mosquito fish in small lakes and ponds on your property, and allowing professionals to spray regularly at your home or in your neighborhood. These techniques ensure pets and their people stay safe and healthy during mosquito season.

 

To find more information on securing your home and backyard against mosquitoes, visit our website. To speak with an entomologist or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 800-256-1784.

 

Original article here.

Mosquito Risk Intensifies: A Single Bite Can Transmit Multiple Viruses

A recent study published by the Nature Communications journal indicates that mosquito risk has intensified because mosquitoes, like the common Aedes aegypti species, can spread multiple diseases at once, including Zika and Chikungunya.

 

mosquito risk

 

The testing, completed at Colorado State University, exposed several hundred mosquitoes to the two illnesses listed above as well as Dengue. Researchers examined the mosquitoes’ saliva post-exposure because that is the typical methodology in which these diseases are spread and also provides substantial proof that the illness has traveled through the entire system of the mosquito.

All three viruses were found in 92% of these mosquitoes at testing intervals both two and three weeks after exposure. Scientists hypothesized that multiple viruses in a single system would result in biological competition, thereby eliminating one or both of the additional ones. However, the mosquitoes sampled were able to harbor all three successfully.

For the public, this translates to becoming more vigilant about mosquito contact and increasing mosquito control at home, at school, and at work.

To learn more about diseases present in your area, such as West Nile Virus, visit our website. To speak with an entomologist or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 800-256-1784.

Original article here.

Mosquito Folklore Roundup: Fact or Fiction

When it comes to mosquito knowledge, the line between folk wisdom and folklore is often blurry at best.  Much can be gleaned from country sayings and old wives’ tales, but when it comes to mosquitoes, where does the truth end and the tall-tale begin?  Test your wits by deeming the following mosquito “facts” true or false:

 

  • Mosquitoes are most active during a full moon.
  • Mosquitoes can’t detect you if you are completely still.
  • Crane-flies are actually large male mosquitoes.
  • All mosquitoes bite.
  • Bats provide effective control of mosquitoes.
  • Mosquitoes are annoying but not deadly.

 

 

  • Mosquitoes are most active during a full moon. – True – There have been studies demonstrating a correlation between a full moon and increased mosquito activity. Most species of mosquitoes are active in the time immediately following sunset.  It is possible that a full moon may extend this prime time for mosquito activity until later into the night, which is why this bit of folk wisdom is deemed true.

 

  • Mosquitoes can’t detect you if you are completely still. – False – Mosquitoes have compound eyes that are superior at detecting movement. However, they can also see you when you are at rest.  They are skilled at detecting certain bodily smells and heat, and they can detect carbon dioxide, which is released during breathing.  One’s rate of breathing increases with activity, thus releasing more carbon dioxide and attracting more mosquitoes.  This is likely the source of the myth that mosquitoes can only see movement.  The truth is that mosquitoes see you whether you are still or not.  So, we have to rule this popular bit of mosquito knowledge as false.

 

  • Crane flies are actually large male mosquitoes. – Completely False – Of all the mosquito myths out there, we hear this one the most. A crane fly is certainly not a mosquito.  Though to some they may appear to resemble an extra-large mosquito, a crane fly is a completely different organism all together.  This mosquito myth is 100% false.

 

  • All mosquitoes bite. – False – At the most, only half of mosquitoes bite. One Gravid (pregnant) mosquito can lay hundreds of eggs.  To gain the energy and essential proteins required to lay these eggs, the female mosquito of most species requires a blood meal.  Because they don’t need to lay eggs, male mosquitoes do not bite.  Of the close to 200 mosquito species present in North America, only a fraction choose humans as the primary source for their blood meal.  Many prefer birds or even amphibians.

 

  • Bats provide effective control of mosquitoes. – False – While bats do eat a variety of insects, mosquitoes do not make up a large portion of their diet. Bats are much more likely to snack on bigger insects, such as the dragonfly, and dragonfly larvae are capable of consuming copious amounts of immature mosquitoes.  Therefore, it could be argued that an increased bat population might even result in an amplified mosquito population, making this myth false.

 

  • Mosquitoes are a public nuisance, not a health concern. – Absolutely False – Globally, over a million people die every year as a result of contracting mosquito-borne diseases, making the mosquito the deadliest animal on earth. Despite being spared from malaria, the worst of these diseases, the number of Americans who get sick and die from mosquito-transmitted diseases may surprise you.  Hundreds of people in the United States fall ill as a result of contracting West Nile Virus every year.  Though less deadly, the Zika virus has its own set of very serious public health concerns.  To find the number of confirmed Zika virus cases in your state, take a second to view MCS’ Interactive Map, which is constantly being updated with number of Zika cases in each state.

MCS Attends Annual Mississippi Mosquito & Vector Control Association (MMVCA) Meeting

The Mississippi Mosquito & Vector Control Association (MMVCA) holds their annual meeting for mosquito control districts and experts throughout the state to come together to share information and learn from each other.  Information is presented on a variety of topics.  This year, topics covered the latest on Zika, the potential use of genetically modified mosquitoes, and mosquito ecology.  Presenters included professors from state universities, the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Mississippi Deptartment of Health, and Mosquito Biologist Sam Stines of Mosquito Control Services (MCS), who explained various techniques and trapping methods used to survey the Aedes mosquito.  This has been an important topic recently due to the realization that Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of Zika Virus.

 

Sam Stines works with a staff of biologists, entomologists, and program directors to ensure that MCS is providing the most state-of-the-art, comprehensive, and effective mosquito control to the multitude of counties and cities where they are contracted.  To stay abreast of the latest techniques and technologies, Sam and his staff attend both state and national mosquito control conferences.  By doing so, they make sure that residents of the areas served by MCS are benefiting from the most modern and up-to-date mosquito abatement strategies.

 

Mississippi Mosquito & Vector Control Association meeting
MCS Biologist Sam Stines talks about various surveillance techniques that can be employed to trap and track Aedes mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti has garnered increased attention after being implicated as the primary vector of Zika Virus.

 

Having 15 years’ of hands-on experience conducting every facet of a Mosquito Management Program makes Stines an invaluable resource.  Over the past year, Stines and his associates have implemented increased surveillance efforts targeting the Aedes aegypti (vector of Zika) and Aedes albopictus (suspected Zika vector).  The purpose of increasing and diversifying surveillance techniques is to identify and suppress the population of container-breeding mosquitoes prior to local Zika activity.  Taking steps now will decrease the likelihood of an outbreak, and at the same time, increase a district’s ability to launch a targeted response should a virus event occur.

 

Sam and his associates are experienced in developing and implementing responses to mosquito-borne diseases including Zika, Chikungunya, West Nile Virus, and St. Louis Encephalitis.  They can be reached to discuss virus response or a comprehensive mosquito control at (1-800-256-1784) or by email at sam@mosquitocs.com.  More information about Mosquito Control Services (MCS) can be found at www.mosquitocs.com.

MCS Prepares for Zika Response Mobilization: Is Your District Ready for a Local Zika Outbreak?

The amount of resources allocated to mosquito control districts vary greatly between counties.  While more prosperous counties administer robust programs, districts with less to spend may have a limited program or even worse, no program at all.  Mosquitoes and the viruses they transmit (such as Zika) have no concept of county lines or budgetary constraints.  Therefore, it is important for all districts, regardless of budget, to have a contingency plan for response to an outbreak of mosquito-borne virus. 

 

Mosquito Control Services (MCS) is the contractor of choice to provide comprehensive and cost-effective Zika response to both state and local entities.  MCS is currently contracted by two state health departments and a multitude of counties and cities along the Gulf and East Coasts.

 

zika response by Mosquito Control Services

 

These counties, cities, and states enter mosquito season comforted by the assurance that if Zika activity is detected, MCS will launch a quick and effective response effort.  MCS maintains a surplus of licensed personnel, vehicles, chemicals, and equipment strategically located throughout the areas they serve.  Staff entomologists and biologists have years of experience in designing and executing protocols followed in response to virus activity.  They have been on the front lines, responding to Zika, Chikungunya, West Nile Virus, and St. Louis Encephalitis.

 

These mosquito experts are well-versed in every aspect of mosquito-borne virus response, including performing door-to-door inspections, habitat reduction, larvaciding, adulticiding, public education, trapping, surveillance, and virus testing,  all while coordinating and maintaining communication with state/local/federal government entities.  As virus response is conducted, MCS updates federal and local officials with daily reports detailing abatement activities and statuses.

 

County decision-makers unsure or uncomfortable with their county’s preparedness for Zika outbreak are invited to contact Mosquito Control Services (1-800-256-1784).  Experienced entomologists and mosquito biologists are available to explain the various options available to provide a comprehensive and significant response to suppress a local Zika outbreak.  References from government entities are available upon request.   (The aspects that should be included in a Zika Response Protocol are detailed in MCS’ recently released Zika Response White-Paper.)

CDC Releases Updated Zika Totals

Updated Zika Totals: Check your state’s numbers; limit your risk

Recently, the Center for Disease Control has released updated information regarding the number of confirmed human Zika infections in the United States and the US territories. Below is a brief explanation of what these numbers mean, as well as some methods by which you can lower your risk of contracting the Zika virus.

Click here to quickly view how many cases were in your state.

 

Background information:

  1. Zika is most often transmitted by an infected mosquito. However, it can also be transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions, medical procedures, and from mother to fetus.
  2. Zika virus may persist in bodily fluids (i.e. semen) even after it can no longer be detected by a blood test.

 

Explanation of the terms associated with the numbers

United States traveling cases: 4,886

US territories traveling cases data: Unreliably documented

‘Traveling cases’ refer to humans who have contracted Zika in another country and then traveled to the United States. These cases are typically discovered by medical treatments, medical testing, or through blood donations.

The good news: These numbers are not associated with active transmission from the bite of a mosquito. Currently, mosquito transmission of Zika is low in the continental United States.

The bad news: Most of the people infected with Zika will have mild or no symptoms. Thus, the number of travelling Zika cases is likely higher than reported. It is estimated that less than 20% of infected individuals experience any symptoms at all.

Prevention: It is difficult to know who may be carrying the Zika virus. Even after an individual’s virus levels are too low for human-to-mosquito transmission, human-to human-transmission may still be possible. You should take precautions, especially if you or individuals close to you have recently travelled to areas where Zika is prevalent.

 

United States local transmission cases: 222 – Florida (216), Texas (6)

US territories local transmission cases: 38,303

‘Local transmission cases’ refer to humans who have contracted Zika virus without travelling to areas where it is prevalent. Local transmission can occur as a result of a local mosquito bite or by exposure to bodily fluids of individuals with Zika.

The good news: Currently, only two mosquito species in the United States have been proven to possess the ability to transmit Zika, with one, Aedes aegypti, being designated as the main vector.

The bad news: Zika-transmitting mosquitoes have adapted to live in close proximity to humans. They breed in containers as small as bottle caps and bite actively throughout the day.

Prevention: Empty any container that is holding water to reduce mosquitoes. Following label directions, apply an EPA-approved repellent and wear light-colored clothing that covers skin to prevent mosquito bites. Use of condoms, oral prophylactics, and abstinence are important options when you are or a partner is at risk for having the Zika virus.

It is difficult to predict how bad Zika will affect the United States this year. Precautions and awareness are necessary to stay virus-free.

Simply guide your mouse over your state to see reported cases.

These statistics are from CDC.gov.

Totals span from Jan 1, 2015 through March 29, 2017.

Fashion and Function: Jewelry as Mosquito Repellent

A new jewelry collection was unveiled this summer from Singapore; it is called “Yu Ahn” and doubles as mosquito repellent. Made from Onyx, Jade, and Rhodium, the spherical jewelry comes with small Citronella beads that can be changed and refilled.

mosquito repellent jewelry

Created to combat the Zika outbreak in Asia, the collection features ornate bracelets and necklaces; the Jade is a symbol of protection in many cultures. Citronella is entirely non-toxic and is also incredibly effective – the designer calls it “the concept of safety and fashion.” Many of the pieces are currently sold out, and they range in price from $30 to $50.

 

Original article here