Archive for the ‘Mosquito Control’ Category

A New Approach to Beating the Zika Virus

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

When you’re trying to find the answer to a problem it makes sense to explore every avenue possible. The more directions you come from and the more exploration into different answers you employ, the faster you’re likely to discover the answer. So, it makes sense for our scientists to approach beating the Zika virus from every angle. Thankfully, some scientists at Penn Vet are studying the Zika virus from a whole new direction, looking at how the mosquitos are infected with the virus in the first place.

Since we catch the Zika virus from mosquitos doesn’t it make sense to look at how they are infected with it? According to experts, the mosquito’s immune system is incredibly strong. Within minutes of being exposed to a threatening pathogen the mosquito’s immune response goes on red alert. This makes sense, as their anti-viral defenses are heavily influenced by the many many bacteria that regulate their stomachs and ability to digest food. Experts argue that we need to understand the immune response of the mosquito before we can explore how we can escape the clutches of the Zika virus. Since their immune response is already so strong, it’s possible that creating a genetically altered mosquito that is completely immune to the disease could be achieved in the near future. If mosquitos can’t catch it, then neither can we.

What other possible approached to solving this Zika virus epidemic do you think could prove beneficial?

The Four Kinds of People Mosquitos Love

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Do you ever feel like mosquitos seem to seek you out more than other people? Well, you may actually be correct. There are four things that can make you much more of a mosquito magnet than other people. Unfortunately, not all of these conditions are possible to change, so you may just be stuck spraying insect repellent all over you every time you go outside.

Scientists already knew that mosquitos are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale, but you might not have known that pregnant women produce a hell of a lot more, which means they also attract way more mosquitos. This is even more dangerous with the recent Zika virus outbreak, which is a particular threat to pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. Another thing that can make you a mosquito magnet is exercise. Mosquitos love lactic acid, which your muscles produce in very large quantities when you strain them during exercise. Mosquitos will also flock towards people with a higher temperature, meaning you should stay away from drinks that will raise it. Alcohol in particular will make your temperature go up, meaning mosquitos will flock towards your warm body. For some reason blood type can also affect how much mosquitos are attracted to you. If you have type O blood, you have an 83% chance of getting bitten by a mosquito…or many mosquitos.

How much of a mosquito magnet are you? Do you have any tips for repelling mosquitos?

First Zika Virus Death

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The first Zika-related death occurred in Harris County Hospital in Texas. A woman that had traveled to El Salvador while pregnant recently gave birth to a baby diagnosed with microcephaly caused by the Zika virus a few weeks ago. She never experienced any symptoms and didn’t realize she had contracted the virus until her child was born with the birth defect, demonstrating how this virus that can go unnoticed until it affects a newborn can be. This is the first infant to die from the virus-induced birth defects.

Officials warn that we can expect to see many more Zika-related infant deaths as well as stillbirths in the near future. Efforts to combat the spread of the disease have been stepped up in response to the recent death. Seven women have already lost pregnancies due to the Zika virus in the United States, and you can bet that number is also going to go up. With local transmission finally occurring in Florida, things aren’t looking too good for Americans at the moment. It seems we won’t get off too lightly when it comes to this virus after all.

What are your predictions for the spread of the Zika virus in the U.S.?

Another Common Species of Mosquito is Found to Spread the Zika Virus

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Since the ZIka virus began rapidly spreading last year scientists have only cited the mosquito species Aedes aegypti as the culprit behind the transmission of the virus to humans. However, a recent study found that another common species has also been doing its part to spread this nasty virus. Brazilian scientists collected hundreds of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitos and found that a large number of them were carrying the Zika virus. However, other studies performed on the species suggest that while these mosquitos can carry the virus, they are probably not as likely to spread the disease. Something in their biology makes them less effective at transmitting the virus to humans through their bite. They also exhibit more normal mosquito behavior such as feeding outside in the evening as opposed to during the day like the Aedes aegypti, making it easier for us to avoid them. This new finding does complicate their efforts to control this epidemic, as most of the work done to find ways to fight this disease have focused solely on the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It looks like there’s a new wrench in this already complicated situation.

Why do you think scientists haven’t found out about this other mosquito species until now?

Bad Guy Bugs – The Northern House Mosquito

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

When you are covered in mosquito bites after a long day outside under the hot summer sun do you ever wonder which species of mosquito bit you? Was your answer no? Well, don’t worry. You’re among the majority. Most people tend to lump all mosquitos together into one group when they’re thinking about avoiding their bite while outside. But, if you catch one of the diseases they carry, you might then want to know which species bit you. Specific mosquito species carry different illnesses. Not all mosquitos are created equal.

The Northern house mosquito has a rounded abdomen and is a dull brown color. These guys are pretty flexible when it comes to what they’ll eat. They don’t generally discriminate, happy to munch on humans, mammals, and birds. It’s the birds that they catch West Nile virus from before they pass it on to us. They tend to lay their eggs in small ditches and shallow ruts containing dirty water.

West Nile virus is now endemic throughout the lower 48 states, and has caused the deaths of over 1,700 people in the U.S. Most people that catch the virus don’t experience any symptoms at all, but it can cause flu-like symptoms.

DO you know anyone that has caught West Nile virus? What are you doing to protect yourself from mosquitos this summer?

Bad Guy Bugs – The Northern House Mosquito

Monday, July 11th, 2016

When you are covered in mosquito bites after a long day outside under the hot summer sun do you ever wonder which species of mosquito bit you? Was your answer no? Well, don’t worry. You’re among the majority. Most people tend to lump all mosquitos together into one group when they’re thinking about avoiding their bite while outside. But, if you catch one of the diseases they carry, you might then want to know which species bit you. Specific mosquito species carry different illnesses. Not all mosquitos are created equal.

The Northern house mosquito has a rounded abdomen and is a dull brown color. These guys are pretty flexible when it comes to what they’ll eat. They don’t generally discriminate, happy to munch on humans, mammals, and birds. It’s the birds that they catch West Nile virus from before they pass it on to us. They tend to lay their eggs in small ditches and shallow ruts containing dirty water.

West Nile virus is now endemic throughout the lower 48 states, and has caused the deaths of over 1,700 people in the U.S. Most people that catch the virus don’t experience any symptoms at all, but it can cause flu-like symptoms.

DO you know anyone that has caught West Nile virus? What are you doing to protect yourself from mosquitos this summer?

PREVENT PESTS FROM RUINING OUTDOOR SUMMER FUN

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Atlnata Pest Control

Bug Busters offers tips on how to avoid summer pests at backyard barbecues

Some of the best summer memories are made while spending time with family and friends at backyard barbecues and celebrations. However, an invasion of pesky pests such as mosquitoes, ants, flies and stinging insects can quickly put a damper on outdoor activities. Bug Busters reminds homeowners to take steps before and during outdoor events to prevent pests from ruining the fun.

“Not only are pests an immense nuisance when you’re trying to relax and enjoy a day outdoors, but some also pose health threats to you and your guests, making prevention even more important,“ said Court Parker, COO at Bug Busters.

Ants and houseflies can contaminate food, while stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. Mosquitoes are carriers of the potentially fatal West Nile virus, as well as other illnesses that are becoming more prevalent across the U.S., such as the Chikungunya virus and Zika virus

Bug Busters is committed to the protection of public health, food and property from common household pests, offers the following tips for preventing pests at summer picnics, barbecues and other outdoor events:

  • Before the party, check all window screens and screen doors and repair any holes. As guests come in and out of your house, make sure the doors close behind them.
  • Remove or drain any sources of standing water in your yard that could serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including birdbaths and garden ponds.
  • The majority of mosquito species are most active at dusk and dawn, so if you are planning an event before sunset, make sure there is plenty of insect repellant on hand containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET or Picaridin. Placing citronella candles on decks and patios can also help to minimize the presence of mosquitoes during an event.
  • Stinging insects, especially yellow jackets, are attracted to sugars and proteins. Provide clear plastic cups for your guests, as aluminum cans and plastic bottles are convenient hiding places for stinging insects.
  • Keep all food and beverages in sealed coolers and containers to avoid contamination from ants and flies, and keep garbage cans sealed and away from guests.
  • Immediately clean up any spills or crumbs from tables and other surfaces, and bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal.

“Taking these simple steps can make all the difference in preventing unwanted guests from crashing your summertime event,” added Parker.

For more information on summer pests, please visit www.BugBustersusa.com or 1-800-210-6262

 

The Itchier the Bite, the More Likely You Will Get Infected with a Mosquito-Borne Illness

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Those itchy mosquito bites are bad enough, but now we also have to deal with the worry that we might catch one of a host of horrible mosquito-borne illnesses. And the news only gets worse. New research suggests that the worse a person’s reaction is to a mosquito bite, the more likely they are to catch a disease from an infected mosquito.

Scientists recently performed an experiment on mice testing this theory where they let the mosquito that carries yellow fever, Aedes aegypti, to bite one set of mice and then injected them with the Semliki Forest virus. With the second group of mice the researches only injected them with the virus, and didn’t also let mosquitos bite them. They found that the immune cells designed to help us resist diseases would then rush to the site of the bite, and then would actually help the virus spread and replicate rather than hinder it. Thanks a lot immune system!

This means that mosquito bites actually help these viruses to spread and infect us. And the worse our reaction to the bite, the more inflamed the bite is, the more immune cells rush to that spot and help the virus spread throughout our body. The mosquito-borne viruses such as yellow fever, dengue, and the Zika virus have evolved to use the mosquito bites that spread them to enhance their chance of surviving and thriving in the host body.

However, on the other hand, this new information about the way these viruses spread could also help us figure out how to better combat them. Lowering the number of mosquitos around to bite unsuspecting humans is the obvious answer to eliminating these diseases. We already have many insect repellents that can help us prevent mosquito bites. Our only challenge is in getting people to use them and us them correctly. By stopping the mosquitos from biting us, we would stop people from getting infected by these viruses.

This recent study now suggests that treating them with simple anti-inflammatory drugs may also serve to decrease the chances of a human catching one of these diseases. If it is our immune response that is helping the viruses thrive in our bodies, then by treating the symptoms such as itchiness and inflammation with simple over-the-counter medications such as anti-inflammatory creams we can lessen our bodies immune response and thereby also decrease the help these viruses get from that immune response that increases their ability to spread and thrive in our bodies.

What do you think of this new discovery? Will you start using medicine to decrease the risk of catching these diseases?

Beneficial Garden Insect Warriors

Friday, June 24th, 2016

When it comes to our home gardens, we often feel like it’s us against the insect world. We are lone warriors fighting a battle against a well-trained military force of insect pests. What you may not know is that there is help out there, although it comes from what may seem an unlikely place. Some of those insects that you may spot in your garden are actually on your side, willing to join forces with you to fight against the insect pests that seek to destroy your precious plants. These insect predators are only too happy to act as loyal guardians of your garden.

Who can resist smiling at the sight of the bright, happy colors of the red and black ladybug? They bring back cherished memories from childhood of catching them and watching as they trustingly meandered across the palm of our hand. You might be surprised then to discover that these seemingly sweet bugs are voracious predators of plant-eating insect pests such as aphids. Ladybugs will lay hundreds of eggs near the colonies of these insect pests, which are immediately devoured by the larvae after they hatch.

The praying mantis is an insect predator that every gardener should have in their arsenal. These bugs will gobble up just about any insect they find in their vicinity. Unfortunately, this indiscriminate palate also means they will also eat beneficial insects as well as the insects destroying your garden. If you see these guys in your garden, you’ll want to take note of where they hang out and what kind of insects they’re eating in order to decide whether they are being helpful getting rid of the pests or harmful by eating other beneficial insects.

Do you have ladybugs or praying mantises in your garden? Do you think they are helpful insects to have around?

Yet Another Disease Spread by Mosquitos

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Those insatiable mosquitos have done it once again. They’ve added yet another disease to the growing list of illnesses they can infect us humans with when they choose to make a meal out of our sweet blood. In recent years the Ross River virus has become more and more of a problem for Australian citizens. Around 4,000 Aussies are infected with the mosquito-borne illness every year.

Thankfully, the Ross River virus is not fatal, but its symptoms can put you out of commission for a good few weeks. People infected with the virus experience flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, chills, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. The symptoms tend to surface around a week after you are infected and, although most people recover within two weeks, some symptoms such as fatigue and muscle and joint pain can last for months. The only protection we have so far is to prevent mosquitos from infecting us in the first place using insect repellent. Outbreaks generally occur when there are higher levels of humidity than normal, and mosquitos actually catch the disease from animals, which they then spread to humans.

Have you ever heard of the Ross River virus? Do you know anyone that has caught it, and what was their experience like?