Tag Archives: climate

Spring Is Just Around The Corner

 

Call Mosquito Squad for a love filled spring. Love should be in the air not Mosquitoes.
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Planning on becoming a vegetarian?

The Lone Star Tick

The Lone Star Tick

Well you might have to if you get bit by the Lone Star Tick.

The Lone Star Tick is causing allergies to the sugar alpha-gal commonly found in red meat, marshmallows and gel-capped vitamins.  Allergic reactions have vary from hives to anaphylactic shock.  The difference between this allergy and other food allergies is that the reaction takes up to several hours to occur, hours after you’ve consumed the sugar.  That is because it takes time for your system to digest the food to then expose the alpha-gal into your system.

The Lone Star tick is commonly found in Texas and other nearby states but they also reside in Michigan so we do need to take precautions.  However, just like deer ticks and Lyme Disease, not every one who gets bit by the Lone Star tick acquires this alpha-gal allergy.  But if you get bit by a tick and then experience any allergic reactions to anything containing the sugar alpha-gal please let your doctor know immediately.  In the meantime here are our Mosquito Squad’s 6 C’s to help protect you and your family from ticks.

C #1: Clear Out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.

C #2: Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.

C #3: Choose Plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your favorite nursery to determine the best plant choices.

C #4: Check Hiding Places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls, and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.

C #5: Care for family Pets. Fully pet your animals daily, this will help you find any ticks that have landed on them before they detach in your home. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne diseases and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your vet about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, read and follow the directions.

C #6: Call the Pros. Mosquito Squad utilizes both the barrier spray that can kill live ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminateing hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.

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Cell Phones Help in the Fight Against Malaria

216 million people worldwide get infected with malaria.  655,000 people die from the disease.  90% of those deaths are in Africa.  Malaria is spread via the bites of mosquitoes infected with a parasite and early symptoms are flu like and include fever, nausea, and aches.  If left untreated it can be fatal.  Since 2000, death rates have dropped by a 1/3 in Africa thanks to better prevention and control programs, but the region remains a hot spot.

Malaria is still a pressing issue for a lot of countries, particularly in Africa.  That is what prompted Harvard researchers to track the spread of malaria in Kenya.  However, not how you might expect.  They used cell phone data (calls and messages) from 14.8 million cell phones.  Using cell phone records from June 2008 through June 2009 they tracked the timing and origin of calls and texts, all users remained anonymous.  Each call and text was fed through one of 11,920 cell towers in 692 Kenyan settlements.  The individual’s location was then logged.  People were ascribed a home area based on their most often used cell tower.  Then each journey within the country could be tracked as cell phone users moved to different cell tower ranges.   This built a picture of how they were traveling between towers on a weekly or monthly basis.

Using this data researchers created detailed maps of travel to and from malaria hot spots and made predictions about how human travel has affected the transmission of the disease.  Human travel is an integral piece of the malaria puzzle.  Mosquitoes fly approximately 1/2 a mile in their lifetime.  People travel much further. Not only is it possible for mosquitoes to hitch rides in travelers belongings, but people themselves help the spread of the parasite.  Aysmptomatic travelers could carry the parasite over a hundred miles. Now humans do not infect other humans directly.  An infected human may arrive to a new area and be bitten by a malaria-free mosquito. The human infects that mosquito.  The mosquito, now infected bites another person, and the cycle continues.

These findings help better understand how human travel patterns can spread disease and lead to improved public health efforts to curb the mosquito-borne infection.  The disease travel map points out exact areas for concentrating malaria control efforts and suggests places where stopping malaria won’t have a big impact.  Regional routes around Lake Victoria are major disease corridors for malaria. Towns along the routes are not spots for transmitting malaria to the rest of the country.

Researchers stated, “Mapping the routes of parasite dispersal by human carriers will allow for additional targeted control by identifying the regions where imported infections originate and where they may contribute substantially to transmission.”  It is important to know where these hot spots are because with tight budgets it’s impossible to screen and treat everyone.  Phones could be tools for targeting resources with practical applications.

With this information, governments could focus efforts on areas that were likely to both contribute and receive the highest number of infections. New control efforts could include boosting surveillance in these places, improving communication about the risk of travel to these areas, and perhaps sending text messages to travelers if they are visiting a high risk region. “As mobile phone data sets becomes increasingly available and representative of entire populations, we anticipate that studies like the one we present here will become common for understanding a range of different infectious diseases,” Buckee, et al.

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