Category Archives: Health Related Pest Problems

Health Related Pest Problems

Fleas, “Adam, Had’em!”

The shortest poem ever written, composed by American poet Strickland Gillilan (also attributed to Ogden Nash) in the early 20th century, reads,

 “Adam,

 Had ’em”. 

StraigGreat_plague_of_london-1665ht to the point, man has a long history with fleas. A fossil flea discovered in Australia is claimed to be 200 million years old. As one of the two vectors of Yersinia pestis, the agents of the Black Death (also known as The BFlea amberubonic Plague) the flea (Xenopsylla cheopis) has contributed, over the centuries, to the death of millions of people throughout the world.  This bloodsucking parasite has been feeding off man and animals alike causing at the least irritation and at the worst death.

On the lighter side, fleas have not only been the inspiration for poetry, works of art, literature and entertainment, but were featured in a whole separate genera of entertainment, The Flea Circus.  Yes, trained fleas entertained thousands with daring acts of strength, hFlea Circus in caseigh jumping antics and clever theatrics. Beginning as sideshow performers for traveling circuses, fleas drew crowds of the curious to this once thriving form of entertainment.

What caused the eventual demise of the Flea Circus? It was the advent of radio and television which left such simple forms of entertainment as the flea circus, as well as other great and classical pastimes, craving an audience.  Out with the old and in with the new and the Flea Circus passes away into the archives of history and folk lore.

Itching to find out more, here are some fun facts about fleas:

  • There is a flea in a Kiev museum that wears horseshoes made of realgold.
  • Dead fleas dressed as wedding couples were popular collectors’ items in the 1920s.

    Fleas in Dress up or Pulgas vestidas
    http://reallifeishorror.blogspot.com Pulgas vestidas
  • Dressing fleas in tiny costumes was an art form practiced exclusively in Mexico for over a century.
  • Aztec sculptors memorialized fleas in stone because fleas lived by sucking blood.
  • A flea can pull up to 160,000 times its own weight.
  • A flea can jump over 150 times its own size. If a man had the same strength, he could jump over St Paul’s Cathedral.
  • When jumping, the flea accelerates 50 times faster than the space shuttle.
  • A flea can jump 30,000 times without a break.
  • Fleas are attracted by carbon dioxide. (Don’t want to get bit? Hold Your Breath!)
  • Fleas alternate the direction of their jumps. They jump horizontally and vertically.
  • A flea can live more than 100 days without a blood meal.
  • Even though there are more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas, one flea species — the cat flea — accounts for most of the dog and cat flea cases found in the U.S.

Don’t want to start your own Flea Circus?  Call a professional and end your flea woes today!

Just to keep the record straight, a contender with Fleas for the shortest poem in English was composed by boxer Muhammad Ali. On June 4, 1975, after giving a speech at Harvard University, Ali recited the “shortest poem ever written on what it’s like to be as great as Ali”: He is quoted as saying, “Me? Whee!”  Enough said.

Bites in the Night

There’s nothing like being awoken from a sound sleep by sudden itching, pinches or stings.  These sensations send us scrambling from our warm covers, checking for bite marks and scouring our beds for the creepy crawlies we just know are using our bodies as their latest meal.

Although there are plenty of bugs that find ways to share our living spaces and even our beds, there are also other irritants, that mimic bug bites, that cause localized skin irritation, swelling and redness. Reactions to allergies, chemicals, solvents and even emotional stress and anxiety can cause skin reactions that look just like bug bites.

The most frustrating thing about “bites in the night”, is that we most often do not see or can not find, what has just bitten us.  Sometimes we don’t discover bites or what looks like bites, until after we’ve woken up and the itching starts. Then the hunt is on for our nighttime attackers. 

The most common nightly bitters include:

Bed Bugs. Bed bugs are in fact nocturnal parasites that love to dine on sleeping humans. When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places – not just beds. Bed bugs can be found in beds near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and bed-bug-engorgedheadboard. If the room is heavily infested, you’ll find bed bugs in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains, in drawer joints, in electrical receptacles and appliances, uBedBugCouch300x200nder loose wallpaper and wall hangings – even in the head of a screw. Even though bed bugs feast on blood and may travel between donors, science has proven, so far, that they do not transmit disease.

Spiders. Spiders generally enter homes through cracks and crevices around the foundation, or doors and windows. Most bites occur when they are squished against our skin and they have no other choice but to warn us away by bitinspider-red-jumpingg.  Humans are not on their menu and they will more often than not run from us when they feel threatened.

Mites. Mites are not insects; they are more closely related to ticks and spiders. Mites found in homes are brought in by other animals.  Examples of these would be, Bird Mites and Rat Mites. Although these mites prefer their respective hosts, they will bite humans.  Dust Mites do not bite hdust-mitesumans, instead, they can harm humans by becoming airborne (as well as their feces) and triggering asthma attacks or make breathing difficult. They may cause skin irritations on those sensitive to their presence.

Fleas. There are more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas. Some of the most common fleas include cat fleas, dog fleas, oriental cat-fleasrat fleas, tropical hen fleas, rabbit fleas and human fleas. Although the names of the fleas usually indicate the preferred host, all of these fleas may choose dogs, cats, or humans as hosts. Fleas can be a source of both irritation and disease. Flea bites cause small, red, itchy bumps, usually on the ankles and lower legs. People with allergies to flea bites suffer from hives, rashes or generalized itching. Both cat and dog fleas are carriers of the common tapeworm parasite, which affects both dogs and cats. Fleas found on wild rodents such as squirrels, rats and prairie dogs have been known to transmit diseases such as the plague.

Mosquitoes. While male mosquitoes are harmless — feeding only on nectar and water — the females of the species are out for blood. Feeding on blood makes it possible for the females to produce eggs and keep the species thriving. Most mosquitoes are dusk to dawn feeders and the best way to keep them out of the house is to batten down the hatches and block all entry points.

Mosquitoes are known disease carriers, spreading MosquitoMalariaCartoon Malaria, West Nile Virus and the Zika Virus which is currently of great concern, plus a whole lot more. Don’t forget to protect your pets as mosquitoes carry heartworm and other diseases that adversely affect their health too.

Carpet Beetles. Though carpet beetles do not bite, hairs on the larvae are ivaried-carpet-beetlerritating to some people. Carpet beetles may be found anywhere in a home.  When skin is pressed against the larvae, bite-like lesions may appear.  Thorough vacuuming and elimination ofblack-carpet beetle larvae food sources is usually sufficient to keep carpet beetle infestations under control.

Bitters that are spread by human contact and not treatable with pesticides

Scabies.  These are microscopic mites and feed in human skin. They are transmitted mostly by physical contact with an infected human or pet. Only the human scabies mite (not found on pets) can multiply and sustain infestations in human skin. They are not treatable with pesticides applied to the home or bed.  A doctor’s visit is in order to find relief from these creatures.

Lice. Head lice, body lice, and pubic lice all feed on blood and are spread by close physical contact with another infested person. Head lice live exclusively among the hairs on the head.  Body lice, which resemble head lice, live on the body and infest clothing and bedding. A doctor’s visit might be in order to get rid them, although over the counter products are available.

No Matter which of the above is your current nemesis, your most effective weapons are your vacuum cleaner and your washer and dryer.  A good cleaning and scrubbing goes a long way in protecting against “Bites in the Night”.

For professional help, check out this web-site:

http://www.corkyspest.com/bites-night/bites-in-the-night.html

Check out this link for pictures and descriptions of common bites:

http://www.healthline.com/health/bug-bites

Spider Webs, Beautiful to Behold, Deadly of Purpose.

At this time of year, in the early mornings, there is a soft glistening of webbing in the trees and on the lawn, and hillsides are decorated with dew frosted beauty. There is a fairytale quality to the scene and Natures’ art gallery is open for business.

Art, in all forms, starts with a single idea, brush stroke, piece of metal, wood or clay or in the case of a spider it starts with a single thread of silk.

Here are 5 types of web structures that showcase the spiders’ artistic talents. All beautiful to behold but deadly of purpose.  For webs are traps to capture prey and their effectiveness means life or death (to the spider).

Tangel Webs: Cob, or tangle webs, may look messy but there’s a strategy. It is Spider Web Cob Websa three dimensional web, secured in space by an upper trellis with strands of high-tension catching threads that reach to an underlying layer of webbing and are lined with sticky droplets. A crawling insect breaks the strand and is drawn up into the web.

Sheet Webs: Sheet webs are like deadly hammocks, strung across grass or leaves. They consist of a dense mass of threads with a maze of crisscrossingspider web sheet web 2 trip threads strung above the sheet. An insect flies into a thread and is knocked off course into the net below. The spider, which hangs upside down beneath the web, quickly runs to the insect and pulls it through the webbing.  Sheet webs last a long time because the spider repairs any damage.

Wooly Webs: Woolly webs capture with electrostatically-charged silk nanofibers, rather than adhesive silk — kind of like cling wrap. The organ thWooly spider webat produces this silk, the cribellem, is a primitive feature of arachnids. This silk webbing is acually combed into a wooly texture to better ensnare their prey.

 

 

Funnel Webs: Funnels can be a main feature of web design and pretty impressive. Typically, a sheet of silk spans the exterior of the funnel with strategically placed trip lines, which are

Dew covered web of funnel web spider created in grass

used to entangle prey, and the spider waits in its funnel retreat for the web to vibrate. Now it jumps out and snags its meal.

 

 

Orb Webs: Orb webs are wheel-shaped webs designed to capture flying insects. The frame is made of durable silk, while the spokes are of an elastic capture thread lined with sticky droplets to secure thevictim. The spider starts this web by releasing a single thread of silk into the wind and waiting for it to attach to another branch, forming a bridge. The spider then crosses the bridge and releases another thread,

Goldenorbspiderarticleforming a V-shape, and then it lowers itself, to form a Y-shape. Once the core of the web is secure, the spider lays out more threads from various anchor points, then from the center to the edges until the web is complete.  You would think, after all the work to create this masterpiece it would last more than one night, but the spiders that create these webs, take them down or more rightly consume them and spin a new web the next night.

There is nothing in nature more beautiful, versitile, or suited to it’s purpose than the spider web. So while admiring their beautiful art work, it is prudent to remember they are not welcome house guests.

A spider infestation can cause contamination of food in kitchens or pantries, and depending on the species, there could be health risks if family members unexpectedly happen upon a lurking spider. Taking action to prevent spiders goes a long way in avoiding these risks.

Being proactive about spider control will reduce the likelihood of any spiders making your home theirs’and possibly harming a family member. But if you suspect you have a spider infestation in your home, contact a pest professional to identify the species and properly and efficiently remove them.

Are natural predators the answer to our mosquito woes? Maybe, maybe not!

We have all heard stories about how purple martins can consume their weight in mosquitoes every day. How bats eat thousands of mosquitoes and how “mosquito hawks” eat nothing but mosquitoes during their entire life cycle. What’s true, partially true or down right fiction.

Mosquito Fish also known as Gambusai Afinas are a live-bearing American fish that is used by some mosquito control districts, across Mosquito fish eating mosquito larvaethe nation, as a very effective predator of mosquito larvae. Among experts on the subject it is considered, by far, the most efficient natural predator of mosquitoes. In studies they have been shown to consume 42-167% of their body weight in various invertebrate prey including mosquito larvae per day. This species as well as some other species of small predatory fish, such as guppies, can be very useful, given the right conditions, in the reduction of mosquito larvae.

Frogs, toads and their young called tadpoles are often said to be excellent for mosquito control. In fact, while they do consume their fair share, it is not enough to seriously put a dent in large mosquito populations. When frogs and toads do consume mosquitoes it is usually after they havFroge transformed from tadpole to adult. Tadpoles mostly feed on algae and plants, although some larger species will sometimes prey on mosquito larvae. Although they are not the mosquito vacuum cleaners they are purported to be, frogs are extremely beneficial creatures and their presence is used as an indicator of a healthy environment.

The Purple Martin is an excellent example of a natural mosquito predator whose mosquito controlling ability has been greatly exaggerated.  They do eat mosquitoes, but in amounts nowhere near what would be needed to consider them effective at controlling mosquito populations. In a quote taken from the AMCA’s page titled frequpurple_8x1335493896866ently asked questions, ornithologist James Hill founder of the Purple Martin Conservation Association (PMCA) writes, “The number of mosquitoes that martins eat is extremely insignificant, and they certainly don’t control them. In-depth studies have shown that mosquitoes comprise no more than 0 to 3 percent of the diet of martins”.  So if given the choice between a big juicy beetle and a tiny, skinny mosquito, this bird will choose the beetle every time.

The Bat, often described as a voracious mosquito eater is another natural predator. In reality, bats are opportunistic feeders. This basically means that they will eat whatever food source is available, and while they will eat lots of mosquitoes, they do not go out and specifically hunt just mosquitoes. In fact, studies, of bats in the wild, have shown that they consume mostly beetles, wasps, moths, bat flying Plecotus auritusand these same studies have shown that mosquitoes make up less than 1 percent of their total diet. While they are not the voracious mosquito eaters that some people claim, bats are extremely beneficial. Though they have an unearned reputation as something to be feared, bats do us a great service by eating a huge amount of flying insects and consequently help to control some dangerous and harmful pests.

Dragonflies and Damselfiles are two more of nature’s mosquito eaters.  While they do consume their fair share of mosquitoes,

Dragon fly eating mosquitothey do not consume enough mosquitoes to cause a significant impact on mosquito populations in the wild. However, one thing that makes them a better predator than most is the fact that, in their aquatic larval stage, one of their food sources is mosquito larvae.  it is during this stage (which can last up to six years) that they will do their most damage to mosquito populations

Spiders may sometimes eat mosquitoes, most often when the mosquitoes fly into their webs.

epa03931023 Mosquitoes hang in a cobweb covered with morning dew near Muecke, Germany, 31 October 2013. EPA/FREDERIK VON ERICHSEN

Mosquito Eater, Mosquito Hawk or Crane Fly, no matter what you call them they do not eat mosquitoes. in fact, the adults are anatomically ill equipped to eat much of anything nor can they bite.

Crane FlySo what are they here for?  Their larvae decompose organic litter lying around on the bottom of streams and on forest floors, helping enrich the soil and enhancing habitats of other creatures. They’re also food for birds, reptiles, amphibians, other insects, and fish.

By themselves, none of the above mosquito predators can make a dent in the mosquito populations that plague man. But combine a couple of these hungry guys with other methods of control, including a little chemical warfare and habitat modification, and a real solution to our mosquito woes may be achievable.

For information on how professionals  get rid of mosquitoes take a look at this link: http://www.corkyspest.com/mosquitoes.html

Zika Update: Genetically Modified Mosquitos – GMM’s – to the Rescue, or not?

Are these “Super Bugs” the answer to our prayers or are they a gateway to more serious problems.

The World aedes mosquito replacement picHealth Organization (WHO) has backed trials of genetically modified mosquitoes in the fight against the Zika virus.

Currently, representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the FDA are considering the use of GMM’s here in the United States. These US regulators have tentatively agreed to allow a biotech company (Oxitec) to field-test genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida. Authorities need to wait for public and stakeholder feedback before giving their final approval.

Environmentalists are criticizing the use of GMM’s , due to their unknown long-term effects. Other critics of these super bugs contend that the presence of these GM mosquitoes may have contributed to the overall cause of the latest Zika outbreak, stating that the epicenter of said outbreak is in the same area where GM mosquitoes were released in 2012 and again in 2015.

In mid-2012, British biotech company Oxitec released the super bugs with the aim of reducing the overall mosquito population that spreads dengue fever, the Zika virus, and chikungunya in northeast Brazil.  At the time, concerns were raised about the release of GMMs without further studies into effectiveness and possible side effects.

The aim of Oxitec’s Genetic Modification program was to release only altered male Aedes mosquitoes into the wild and they would in turn produce offspring with their virus carrying female counterparts. This offspring would then die off before breeding age due to the GM coding in their genes.

Now comGmm Mosquitoe scientistses the big “But”.  But if the antibiotic tetracycline is present, since it would override the GMM DNA change, this method would be ineffective.   Why is this important?  Tetracycline can be found everywhere in our environment, and here’s why. It is estimated that approximately 75% of antibiotics are not absorbed by animals (humans included) and are excreted in waste and finds it’s way into soil, water supplies and plant life.” One of the antibiotics renowned for its environmental persistence is tetracycline.

Brazil is third in the world for its use of tetracycline in its food animals and uses it widely in the treatment of many human conditions.

So… Why was this information overlooked?  Who knows.  Maybe researchers here in the US, have fixed this little problem…… or not.

What’s next in the battle against the Zika virus?

Most recently, President Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services are seeking to transfer $510 million in money allocated to fighting the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in west Africa to preventing a similar outbreak of Zika in the United States, but the process to have that money approved will be long, and health officials are demanding precautionary measures take place as soon as possible.  Hence, we have GMM’s, Genetically Modified Mosquitoes.

The big question is, Are GMM’s, Nature’s little helpers or have scientiGmm Monster Mosquito Franensteinsts created the insect versions of Frankenstein’s monster?

 

 

Want to establish mosquito control on your property? Check out this link.  http://www.corkyspest.com/mosquitoes.html

 

Spring Brings Longer Days, Beautiful Weather and Dangerous Hitch-Hikers!

 

 

Living in Southern California and enjoying the “outdoor life” has it benefits but it also has it’s drawbackBunch of ticks on a sticks, namely exposure to wildlife and the parasites they harbor and the diseases they carry.

One of Nature’s most proficient parasidic hitch-hickers is the Tick and it is already hungry for action in the South, West and Mountain regions.  Peak tick season typically starts after Tick on thumbThanksgiving but their activity will peak between now and June and continue thru September.

Here’s how you and your pets can stay tick safe as you enjoy the outdoor life. Whether in your own backyard or while enjoying hiking, biking and walking trails, parks, dog parks and campgrounds it’s important to be prepared for tick encounters.

  • Wear light-colored clothing. Light colors make ticks easier to spot.
  • Tuck your pants inside your socks. This will create a physical barrier against ticks.
  • Use insect repellent. Chemicals that repel other insects are somewhat effective against ticks, although a heavier concentration of DEET — between 30% and 40% —may be needed, to really keep them away. Permethrin is a stronger chemical that kills ticks as well as repels them. Products containing permethrin should be sprayed on clothes, not on the skin.
  • When hiking, biking or just walking the dog, stay in the middle of the path (or fairway). Ticks can’t fly or jump, so they can only get on you if you come into contact with the kind of environment they live in: moist, often shady, wooded areas, with leaves, low-lying plants, and shrubs.
  • The Sun is your friend. Ticks don’t do well in dry, open areas. Lawn furniture and playground equipment should be set back from the edge of wooded, shady areas. If you’re picnicking, pick a spot on well-tended lawn or open ground.
  • Inspect yourself and your children (and your pets), especially the legs and groin. Ticks usually get picked up on the lower legs and then climb upward in search of a meal. The likelihood of contracting tick-borne diseases decreases if a tick is removed immediately, and there’s no risk if it’s still crawling around. The shower is a good place to conduct a tick check. Feel for any new bumps on soaped-up skin.
  • Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)
  • Remove tick friendly conditions in your yard by eliminating tall grass and weeds, trimming shrubs and low branches, as well as raking and removing leaves. Thin out thick vegetation, let the sun in. Ticks love moist shady areas. Avoid over-watering to discourage tick infestations.
  • Prevent ticks on animals by using tick control products to prevent family pets from bringing ticks onto the property and into the home. Tick collars, sprays, shampoos, or topical medications should be used regularly to protect your animals and your family from ticks. Consult your veterinarian and be sure to use these products according to the package instructions.
  • Consider using a chemical control agent in your yard. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert, and even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks.
  • Hehow-to-safely-remove-a-tickre’s how to remove a tick: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html

 

Here’s more information on ticks and the diseased they carry.

http://www.corkyspest.com/ticks/tick-identification.html

http://www.cdc.gov/features/stopticks/

Living with Bugs? Don’t look under the bed!

Aside from pets, family members, or short or long term guests, many of us often go weeks without seeing another living thing in our homes. But appearances can be deceiving. We are, in fact, surrounded by arthropods—insects, spiders, mites, centipedes, and other animals with hard external skeletons and jointed legs. They are the most successful animals on the planet, and the walls of our homes, that Arthropods color flyshield us from the elements, are no barriers to them. In fact, these creatures are incredibly adaptable, so the habitats we create for ourselves quickly become their habitats.

Through all of human history, insects and their relatives (collectively known as arthropods) have been our constant companions. We compete with them for food, use them as resources, and – whether we like it or not – share our homes with them.

In the first systematic census of its kind, a team of entomologists, working under the program, Arthropods of our Homes , combed through 50 American houses for every arthropod they could find, and discovered a startling amount of diversity. Each home had between 3graph of insects in home2 and 211 species, belonging to between 24 and 128 families. These bugs are our closest creaturely neighbors, and we barely register the existence of most of them.

In this study the most commonly found arthropods were flies, spiders, beetles, ants and book lice.  Of course, seasonality, climate and physical environment (rural, urban or city) make a difference in the number and type of these creatures that turn up in our homes, but the fact is they are there.  More studies are now taking place throughout the U.S. and in other countries to see just what we are really living with.

“I hope this doesn’t put fear in people’s minds that they’re being overrun or that they live in unclean homes,” says Matthew Bertone from North Carolina State University, who led the study. “People have been living with these animals for centuries. This is just something that is.”

Learn more about Arthropods: http://robdunnlab.com/projects/arthropods-of-our-homes/learn-more-about-your-arthropods/

Arthropods of the great indoors: https://peerj.com/articles/1582/

Arthropods Invade Our Homes: http://ijpr.org/post/arthropods-invade-our-homes#stream/0

Need help getting rid of unwanted pests?  We have the  Power!  http://www.corkyspest.com/

 

Know the Facts. Mosquito Season’s Coming Early This Year.

Every year new facts and control techniques for insect pests are circulated among the masses.  This year with the mosquito borne Zika virus and West Nile virus being in the news, stories, testimonials and cheap, homemade solutions touting successful control and eradication, of these pests, will be circulating like mad. making insect repellents

The reality is that there will probably always be homemade remedies for the control of insects and other pests. While we can never say that there is no merit in them, they are seldom if ever as good as their advertisers say they will be.

This much you should know. Eating garlic, installing electronic ultrasonic gadgets, performing voodoo, planting special shrubs, putting sheets of fabric softener in your pockets, wearing citronella wrist bands and sprinkling various concoctions from the refrigerator or the medicine cabinet around the yard are not viable solutions for mosquito problems, despite what appears on the web or what neighbors and friends might think.

Don’t get caught up in the mosquito control mania.  Don’t waste your valuable time and money.

Insect pest management is a complex science in which thousands of our brightest and most accomplished laboratory and field scientists spend their entire careers, some their entire lives. In one area of public health pest management – mosquito control – hundreds of millions ofscientist and mosquito dollars are spent each year to work on new and better ways to control mosquitoes in an effort to reduce the over one million fatalities due to malaria and other mosquito borne diseases each year. It is a massive effort and it has been going on for hundreds of years in nearly every country of the world.  If eating garlic worked, these people would have figured that out by now, saved millions of lives and made a lot of money in the process.

It is said, “Nature will always find a way” (as quoted from the Jurassic Park movie) but we can always take steps to slow her down and right now is the time to start.  Putting preventative measures in place now is important.

With unseasonably, warm weather, mosquito season may be starting early this year so, now’s the time to “Fight The Bite”!  

  • Maintain your property so that there are no standing water sources such as a neglected or out of order swimming pool, hot tub, spa, pond or fountain. Empty rain barrels, cans, buckets, jars, floyard workwer pots, old tires, toys or anything else that can hold water. Stagnant water provides the perfect breeding grounds. Well maintained water features with good water circulation discourages mosquito breeding. Moving water will effectively drown mosquito larva.
  • Reduce watering in landscaped areas. Avoid creating puddles and overly damp grassy areas. Mosquitoes will breed in less than ¼ inch of water.
  • Cut back dense foliage to open areas to the sun. This takes away resting areas, encourages moisture evaporation and improves plant health.
  • Add bacillus thuringiensis (BT) to the water in a pond, fountain or birdbath to kill larvae and aid in mosquito control. BT is a harmless natural substance that is safe for pets, fish, birds and wild life but is deadly to all kinds of larvae.
  • Stock mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) in bird baths, fountains, ornamental ponds, water gardens, unused pools, spas etc., and animal water troughs. The young fish will eat mosquito larvae as fast as they can hatch out of their eggs. Most county vector control programs provide these fish free of charge.
  • Spray the entire yard including shrubbery monthly or more often with a mixtuspraying plants and shrubsre of natural pyrethrins, BT and neem oil for mosquito control.

 

  • Install or repair screens, don’t leave unscreened windows or doors standing open.
  • Move outdoor lights away from doorways. Lights attract insects. Place yellow light bulbs in patio lamps for use during evenings and at night during summertime. Orange-yellow lights do not attract mosquitoes and other flying insects as readily as white bulbs.
  • Burn citronella candles or torches on or around the patio or other outdoor areas where activities are being performed. The more the better. Mosquitoes travel upwind at 1 1/2 to 3 mph. Place citronella in their fligcandleht path. Citronella does not kill mosquitoes but repels them when they come in contact with the smoke or vapors. It also masks human odors and the CO2 that we breathe, hiding us from the mosquitoes. Citronella candles and torches become less effective in breezy or windy conditions.
  • To protect yourself: Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn, wear light colored clothing (cover arms and legs) and use a Deet product as a repellmosquito repellant sprayent.

Your Pest Control Professionals are educated in mosquito control methods and the latest effective control products.    Let them help you keep as mosquito free as humanly possible this year.

 

Mosquito Myths: http://www.mosquitoworld.net/mosquito-myths/

 

Mosquito Control Myths: https://cameronwebb.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/busting-the-five-myths-of-mosquito-repellents/

http://insects.about.com/od/insectpests/a/mosquitocontrol_3.htm

What Zika means to those living in Southern California

In the 21st century, no place on earth is more than a day from any other place. Therefore, diseases with short incubation periods, such as Zika, have unprecedented opportunities for rapid spread through human movement. All travelers, regardless of the purpose, duration, or distance of their journey, should take steps to prevent bringing more than luggage to and from their destinations. This being said, what does the Zika outbreak in South America mean to people living in Southern California.

Southern California, being a world renowned travel destination, is prime for the introduction of diseases and viruses that infect humanity.  Currently, mosquito borne viruses are in the news because of their devastating impact on human life in tropical and subtropical regions such as Africa, Southeast Asia, South America and our closest neighbor, Mexico.  The newest concern, the Zika virus, has been documented only in a few people, here in California, who were infected while traveling outside the United States. This situation could change dramatically if the mosquitoes that harbor and spread this disease (and others), migrate here on imported goods, or on or inside people themselves.  Infection becomes a vicious circle; Mosquito to Man to Mosquito and on and on…..

Fortunately, the two mosquitos of the Aedes species, the a. aegypti and the a. alAedes Mosquitoes in Southern Californiabopictus, are not native to Southern California.  However, since 2011 they have been detected in several California counties including San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles and in others including San Diego county in 2015.

Zika is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing. It cannot be caught by being in close proximity to someone exhibiting symptoms.  It is not contagious in this manner.  Recently, it has been reported to have been transferred through sexual contact by persons who were infected while visiting or living in an area where Zika is prevalent. The incubation period of the desease is typically between 2 and 7 days before symptoms present themselves.  Infection lasts, like the common cold, 10 to 21 days (these figures vary depending on the expert cited).

Mosquito Season:

Here in Southern California Mosquito season normally starts in early March or tmosquito usa map purpleypically
when temperatures reach a constant 10°C or 50° F or more. This is when female mosquitoes feel comfortable laying eggs and the eggs can mature and hatch. Combine this with wet weather and you have the perfect conditions for masses of mosquitoes. The mosquito season reaches its peak during the hot summer months.  Depending on where you live, the start time of the mosquito season will vary.

When is mosquito season over? Again, the temperature plays an important factor. As the weather begins to cool, you’ll likely notice a decrease in the level of mosquito activity on your property. Non-hibernating mosquitoes will begin to die off as the temperature approaches the 50° F mark, while the hibernating species will start to seek winter refuge in hollow logs, abandoned animal burrows and other convenient hiding spots.

The first frost is usually a reliable sign of the end of mosquito season.

Prepare Before Mosquito Season Arrives:

Many property owners wait until they see a swarm of mosquitoes – or until they have been bitten – to begin the mosquito control process. However, by this time, infestation has probably already occurred. The actual preparation for mosquito season should begin much earlier, before the mosquitoes have had the chance to lay eggs.

Remember, as the weather warms, the mosquito breeding cycle time shortens, which ultimately results in an increase in the number of mosquitoes on your property. This means you’ll want to get started while the weather is chilly – before the temperature consistently reaches that magical 50° F.

Mosquito Prevention:  

At Home:

Maintaining your property during mosquito season helps substantially. Since mosquitoes grow and multiply in standing water, make sure there are no nearby puddles or bird water feeders to attract them. Bright-colored clothing attracts bugs, so wear neutral, light-colored clothing to avoid advertising your blood. The best insect repellents are lotions or sprays containing DEET. They’re not recommended for use on infants and toddlers. For use on children consult your physician. The EPA states that DEET is safe for adults when used as directed.

For more information, go to: http://www.corkyspest.com/mosquitoes.html

While Traveling:  What the CDC recommends.

  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
  • Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.

For more information, go to: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-south-america

Mosquitoes are in the news again and the news isn’t good!

Mosquitoes have been the bane of man’s existence for centuries, or should I say millenniums.  Not only are they annoying, buzzing around our heads, their bites itching and looking red and ugly, they carry diseases that have killed millions maybe billions over the centuries.  These tiny disease carrying, female dive bombers don’t discriminate, their targets are anything or anyone that can supply them with a blood meal so they can produce eggs.  Their life imperative is to reproduce and their ability to do so is being enhanced by the “El Nino” conditions effecting our environment.  Warmer temperatures and an increase in wet, moist environments provide the prefect breeding conditions.

“Half of the global population is at risk of a mosquito-borne disease,” says Frances Hawkes from the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich. “They have had an untold impact on human misery.”

According to the American Mosquito Control Association, there are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, and at least 176 of them can be found in the United States. The most common, and most dangerous, are the various species in the Culex, Anopheles, and Aedes genera.

The most prevalent is the Culex Mosquito, Culex pipiens, known as the northern hculex mosquitoouse mosquito. It is the main carrier of West Nile virus.

 

Two Aedes mosquitoes are also carriers of dangerous diseaseAedes albopictus, the AsianTiger mosquito, transmits Dengue fever and Eastern equine encephaiitis.

Aedes Albopictus- Asian Tiger Mosquito
Aedes Albopictus- Asian Tiger Mosquito

The Aedes aegypti, the Yellow fever mosquito, transmits Dengue, Yellow fever and now the Zika virus, which is said to cause the birth defect known as Microcephaly or small head syndrome.

Aedes Aegypti -
Aedes Aegypti –

Anopheles Mosquitoes are the carriers of the parasite that causes Malaria and transmits the parasite through their saliva when they bite. More than one

anopheles mosquitomillion deaths each year are attributed to malaria passed on by Anopheles mosquitoes.

 

The scientific world is arguing over the need for measures to eradicate the mosquito completely. Those for complete eradication or the extinction of the mosquito are opposed by those that see the benefits to nature that over half the known species provide, including pollination, as a food source for birds and bats while their young – as larvae – are consumed by fish and frogs. They argue, extinction could have an effect further up and down the food chain. Mosquitoes have also protected our rain forests by their very existence, keeping man and the destruction he causes, away from these necessary eco-environments.

While the experts argue, what can we do to protect ourselves?  The CDC recommends staying away from known mosquito infested areas and contact a pest control professional if problems are closer to home.

Pest management professionals are NOT experts in discussing the Zika virus or any other disease, nor can they speculate on its potential to spread. However, they ARE experts in mosquitoes and effective mosquito control and can help educate the public on how to avoid contact with mosquitoes, both while traveling and at home, and how to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and reducing biting mosquito populations.

For Facts about Mosquitoes:

http://www.corkyspest.com/mosquitoes/mosquito-identification.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35408835

 For Facts about the Zika Virus:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcephaly

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/10-essential-facts-about-zika-virus/

https://weather.com/health/news/facts-about-zika-virus