Monthly Archives: June 2012

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week!

This week was National Mosquito Control Awareness Week and we wanted to put all the tips we gave you this week in one convenient spot! So here they are:

1. TIP. Reduce standing water to eliminate mosquito threats, including those in children’s sandboxes, wagons or plastic toys; underneath and around downspouts, in plant saucers and dog bowls. Other hot spots include tarps, gutters, and flat roofs.

2. TOSS. Remove excess grass, leaves, firewood and clippings from yards.

3. TURN. Turn over larger yard items that could hold water like children’s portable sandboxes or plastic toys.

4. REMOVE TARPS. If tarps stretched over firewood piles, boats or sports equipment and grills aren’t taut, they’re holding water.

5. TREAT. Utilize a mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body. Mosquito Squad’s eliminates up to 90% of the mosquitoes and ticks on a property.

These are all hot spots for mosquitoes to breed in your yard, keep an eye out for these and follow the tips provided so you can TAKE BACK YOUR YARD!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja…Mosquitoes

Photo by svintuss

The battle against malaria and dengue fever is changing with genetically modified mosquitoes.

Researchers at University of California Irvine have taken an antibody phenomena found in mice and discovered a way to put it in mosquitoes.  This modification of the immune system protein, Re12, has created a new breed of mosquitoes, one with the ability to delete the malaria parasite. The modified mosquitoes  release the antibodies that attack the malaria parasite and effectively deletes it, thereby stopping the spread of it to humans.

With more than 40% of the world’s population living in areas susceptible to contracting malaria and 300 – 500 million cases of malaria each year, this could be a real game changer.

These scientist’s have created the first genetically modified mosquito that could potentially work in the wild, “real life” situation, without damaging the mosquitoes themselves.  These modifications are also able to be passed down from generation to generation.  They used this model on the Anopheles stephensi mosquito but they say that the same thing will work on several different mosquito types that carry the Plasmodium falciparum parasite.

There’s also been some research by Anthony James, a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at UCI on genetically modified mosquitoes in regards to dengue fever prevention.  James added a virus into the mosquitoes that made the dengue strain last for less periods of time within the mosquitoes themselves, therefore limiting the risk of infection.  James was also a part of the research on modified mosquitoes for malaria prevention.

The concerns that are had with introducing these mutant mosquitoes into the population is whether or not they will be able to breed enough to take over the current mosquito population.  There also needs to be assurance that releasing these modified mosquitoes would be completely safe and fail proof.  More research is definitely needed, but the prospects seem great.

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Mosquito Squad of Southwest Michigan on ABC 57

Owner Ken Wuerfel talks about ticks on ABC 57 June 13, 2012.

Check it out!

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Mosquito Repelling Sound App?

There’s been a lot of buzz around the apps that claim to keep mosquitoes away, so I did some research to see what they were all about.

The first thing I did was look in the Apple App store and see what was offered. A lot of apps popped up, some free, most $0.99. I was almost overwhelmed at the amount of options of apps that all offered the same end result, just different ways of achieving it. Many apps advertised several different wave frequencies that produce an ultrasonic/infrasonic sound not audible to the human ear but supposedly effective in keeping mosquitoes away from you and your family. They offered anywhere from two to ten different frequencies and some even had the added bonus of playing your own music while allowing the mosquito app to emit its mosquito repelling noise. Of course all of the reviews listed on each app were praising the results of these cheap and supposedly effective technology based repellents.

So, after through scrolling through all these apps, I looked online for some other reviews to see if the acclamation continued. Unfortunately, it did not. Every page of commentary I came across had several reviews knocking these apps down a peg or two. Many users said these apps were a scam, a waste of money and useless. Several even mentioned how the mosquitoes seemed to be more attracted to their phone when the app was on!

Then I looked at what some of the experts had to say about these Smartphone apps. They all seemed skeptical because of the lack of scientific research supporting the theory that ultrasonic sounds would keep mosquitoes away. There just isn’t any science behind these apps.

The biggest problem I found in why these apps aren’t working is because of the technique they are using to try to repel mosquitoes. Some experts mentioned that mosquitoes, like other small insects hear by using scents and chemicals in the air. After researching this further I found that mosquitoes do in fact hear. They have very sensitive hearing that picks up low frequencies. However they have active hearing, meaning they can decide what they listen for. What mosquitoes choose to listen for are wing beating patterns of opposite sex mosquitoes, it’s purely for mating. What mosquitoes are attracted to are the scents and chemicals in the air and thermal energy being given off by us humans. So really these apps using low frequencies are only attracting mosquitoes thinking it’s a possible mate and the high frequency apps aren’t affecting the mosquito patterns at all.

In short, I wouldn’t waste my time with any of the apps offered, despite their claims of “force field” like results; the results just aren’t there because the science isn’t there.

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