Archive for the ‘Mosquito Control’ Category

Insecticide Resistant Mosquito!?

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Insecticide Resistant Mosquito!?

A hybrid mosquito found in Mali has developed a resistance to the insecticide used in anti-malaria bed nets. Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) are a form of personal protection that has been shown to reduce malaria illness, severe disease, and death due to malaria in endemic regions. According to the CDC, ‘In community-wide trials in several African settings, ITNs have been shown to reduce the death of children under 5 from all causes by about 20%.’

Gregory Lanzaro, a medical entomologist at University of California Davis, says he and his team are calling the hybrid mosquito a “super” mosquito as it can withstand exposure to the insecticides used to treat bed nets. The super mosquito is a result of the interbreeding of two species of malaria mosquito.

Lanzaro believes that their study discloses evidence that the introduction of insecticides into the environment of malaria-carrying mosquitoes altered their evolutionary relationship and broke down the “reproductive isolation that separates them.”

“What we provide in this new paper is an example of one unusual mechanism that has promoted the rapid evolution of insecticide resistance in one of the major malaria mosquito species,” Lanzaro asserts. In their study, Prof. Lanzaro illustrates how the hybrid emerged. A type of gene-swapping or “adaptive introgression” transpired at around the same time usage of insecticide-treated bed nets increased.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. Symptoms of the disease range from fever and chills to flu-like illness. Left untreated victims may develop severe complications and die. According to the CDC, in 2010 an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 660,000 people died, most (91%) in the African Region.

The Plasmodium parasite enters the human bloodstream through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once inside the body, the parasite multiplies in the liver, infects red blood cells and disrupts blood supply to vital organs.

Lanzaro was not surprised to find resistance in malaria infected mosquitoes. “Recently,” he adds, “it has reached a level at some localities in Africa where it is resulting in the failure of the nets to provide meaningful control, and it is my opinion that this will increase.

Mosquito Control

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Mosquitoes are known to transmit many potentially fatal diseases to both humans and mammals, such as horses.  Some of the most common and well-known diseases include West Nile Virus, malaria, dengue fever and equine encephalitis (EEE). In Africa, more than 700,000 children die each year from malaria.

West Nile virus is a common concern among Americans – and rightfully so. West Nile virus has continued to spread across the country since the first reported incidence in 1999. The worst year for the mosquito-borne disease was 2002, which saw nearly 3,000 severe cases and 284 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, experts are predicting that the outbreak in 2012 might become the deadliest ever. As of September 18, there have been 3,142 cases and 134 deaths reported to the CDC this year. Texas has remained the epicenter, accounting for forty percent of the nation’s West Nile virus cases.

Mosquitoes are considered one of summer’s most dangerous pests, but they also thrive in the fall. In fact, mosquitoes will remain active until temperatures drop below 60 degrees, so people are currently still at an increased risk of contracting West Nile virus.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?

What should I do if I suspect that I have West Nile virus?Dr. Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA, says that in most cases, symptoms of West Nile virus are so slight they go by unnoticed or feel like summer flu. However, in extreme cases, it can be a potentially life-threatening infection with a high fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma.

If you start experiencing symptoms of West Nile virus, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.

How can I prevent West Nile virus?

There are a number of precautions that people can take to protect their home and family from mosquitoes and minimize the potential of contracting West Nile virus. The NPMA recommends the following tips:

  • Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home by replacing all standing water at least once a week. This includes birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, baby pools and other objects where water collects. Mosquitoes on need about ½ inch of water to breed.
  • Screen windows, doors, and other openings with mesh. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
    • Use mesh that is 18X18 strands per inch, or finer.
    • Seal around all screen edges; and keep doors and windows shut to prevent entry of most mosquito species.
  • Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin whenever outdoors. Check product labels for information on age restrictions to make sure they are safe for your toddler or infant.

If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, consider contacting a pest management company. They can help reduce exposure to mosquitoes and decrease the risks for mosquito-borne illnesses by inspecting properties for mosquito breeding sites and treating to control mosquitoes. In addition, they can suggest corrective actions, and provide basic information, current news and references to other sources.

You can also contact your municipality or township to see if your community has a mosquito management program in place. Only a concerted community-wide effort can properly manage these pests and reduce the risks associated with them.

What is the forecast for mosquito-borne illnesses in the future?

Unfortunately, we do not have a crystal ball to predict future outbreaks of pest-related illnesses. But, what we do know is that mosquitoes have been on this planet for millions of years and they will continue to thrive during the warmer months.


Great Shots from PCT’s Photo Contest

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Slideshow: Noteworthy 2013 Photo Contest Entries

Included in the February issue is the winning photo and finalist photos from PCT’s annual photo contest. PCT’s additional online coverage includes other noteworthy photos from the 2013 contest.

Click HERE to view

Camp Bug Busters Jan 2014!

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

People and pests head indoors for the winter

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

People and pests head indoors for the winter.

Editor’s note – Although this article is written for homeowners, this information may help pest control professionals to identify these occasional pests in the home. Fall is a great time to be proactive in pest management and to pest proof homes. See this publication for information on proactive pest management.

Sharon Dowdy, news editor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.As temperatures begin to drop, people head indoors. Unfortunately, insects like to stay warm, too, and often choose our homes as refuge. “We are getting cold snaps at night, and it triggers insects to find some place to come inside for the winter,” said Dan Suiter, a University of Georgia Extension entomologist. “They are just reacting to external conditions.”Caulk and sprayTo help keep pests from picking your home as a winter retreat, Suiter says inspect your home for openings that insects use as entryways. Seal any cracks and crevices with caulk, or fill them with steel wool.As an extra precaution, spray an insecticide around the perimeter or your home, especially to those areas on the structure where they might enter.“It’s not a bad idea to do some spot applications of insecticides. This way when the insects encounter those deposits they will be exposed to the insecticides and be killed,” Suiter said.


Photo credit – Asian lady beetle, W. Louis Tedders, Jr. USDA ARS SE Fruit and Tree Nut Laboratory, Byron GA and Beneficial Insectry, Oak Run, CAPhoto credit – Asian lady beetle, W. Louis Tedders, Jr. USDA ARS SE Fruit and Tree Nut Laboratory, Byron GA and Beneficial Insectry, Oak Run, CA

Lady beetles

Multicolored Asian lady beetles are the most common unwelcome house guests this time of year. In the summer months, these beetles are a welcome sight in gardens as they eat aphids, a pest of many vegetable plants and ornamental plants.

“They are great for biological control, but in the fall they start coming indoors and it’s a different story,” Suiter said.

Smokybrown Cockroaches

Smokybrown cockroachSmokybrown cockroach, Daniel R. Suiter, UGA Entomology,

Probably the most unpopular pests of homeowners is often found scurrying across kitchen floors at night – the smokybrown cockroach. Just one cockroach egg capsule holds about 15 to 18 eggs and a female lays one per week in her six-month life.

“There are peak populations this time of year. It came from Japan, and it’s been here a long time,” Suiter said. “It’s really desiccation susceptible, so it’s especially in areas where relative humidity is very high.”

Suiter said many urban pests are indicators of more severe problems.

“Usually, it’s a moisture problem. If you have a lot (of pests) in your attic, you probably have a leak,” he said.

Brown marmorated stink bugBrown marmorated stink bug, David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ,

Stink bugs

Brown marmorated stink bugs also like to overwinter indoors. Native to Asia, this stink bug was first spotted in Georgia in 2010. It can be found on a wide range of host plants.

“It’s a major, major nuisance pest in the Northeast and it’s headed south,” he said. “We see them in Georgia, we just haven’t seen the numbers they have seen in the North.”

Box elder bugBox elder bug, William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International,

Boxelder bugs and carpet beetles

Another indoor pest, the boxelder bug, can be found on maple trees, too. Ironically, when you kill boxelder bugs, you will likely end up with a secondary pest – carpet beetles, Suiter said.

“If you kill them inside you can end up with carpet beetles. They feed on dead boxelder bugs and their populations can be enormous,” he said.

Sugarcane beetleSugarcane beetle, Clemson University Coop Extension Slide Series,

Sugar cane beetles

Sugar cane beetles may not come inside homes, but they will chew on the outside. They are a late summer invader that shows up in large populations and feeds on grasses. “It’s a scarab beetle, and when it emerges it’s attracted to lights on houses,” he said. “They have really strong hind legs and can chew through siding.”

Chinch bugsChinch bugs are fall pests that also feed on grasses. They are about a half-inch long and show up by the thousands. “They may not come indoors, but they like to crawl under siding,” Suiter said.

Chinch bugsChinch bugs, David Shetlar, Ohio State University,
When selecting a treatment method for these pests, Suiter warns homeowners not to purchase ultrasound devices.“They have been researched by multiple research facilities, and there’s a lot of data to show they don’t work,” he said.For more on controlling household pests, see the UGA Extension publication Management of Pest Insects In and Around the Home. This publication has information on identifying insects, preventing pest problems and other control methods. Tracking Giant Hornets That Have Killed At Least 42 People

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 Tracking Giant Hornets That Have Killed At Least 42 People

In a village on the outskirts if An Kang, China, a little girl, just 18-months-old, is dressed head-to-toe in clothing far too hot for the mild fall weather. Her mother removes one of her tiny socks and a still-gaping wound is revealed. An Asian Hornet stung the little girl there one month ago, releasing venom so potent multiple stings can cause kidney failure and death.

It was the only place her flesh was exposed, her mother explained. She gestures over the foot and up the shin, describing how swollen her daughter’s leg became. She was lucky to be stung just once, and survived. So now the girl’s parents make sure she wears socks. It is their best, and their only, defense.

An Kang is ground zero for the horrifying recent outbreak of Asian Hornet, or Giant Asian Hornet as the larger species is known, attacks on humans. Government figures put the death toll at 42 and the number of injured at 1,600. But officials at An Kang tell ABC News the actual number is much higher.

“These hornets have been killing people for some time,” said a city official who requested anonymity, “This year, just in this district more than 20 people have been killed. The number should be a lot higher than that. The number is shocking.”

The Asian Hornet, or Vespa Mandarinia, can grow to be thumb-sized. It is capable of flying at speeds of up to 25 mph and a distance of 50 miles. Their stingers carry a lethal mix of foreign protein that when mixed in the human bloodstream can cause sepsis. Without proper treatment, such as dialysis, a victim will die.

The insect’s existence in An Kang is not new. Nor is this the first time humans have been attacked. For years the Asian Hornet has lived among inhabitants here and elsewhere across East Asia. Parts of Japan in particular have been home to significant populations for years. But they have never attacked like they are attacking now.

Ren Chengan, 28, has lived on the outskirts of An Kang all his life. He remembers seeing hornets quite regularly while playing in the mountainside forest and along the riverbanks as a young boy. When he was around 8, he remembers, he was stung on the back of his head but suffered only minor swelling. Today, his family watches his young niece very carefully. Ren says it is no longer safe for children to play so freely.

During his youth, his family farmed a small piece of land. Eventually, with China’s rise, he says government officials instructed his family to stop farming and open a restaurant to cater to tourists. Ren believes the disruption in the co-existence of his family’s old way of life and the ecosystem of the forest has contributed to the outbreak in hornet attacks.

“If you didn’t bother them,” he says, “they would not bother you.”

Ren points out a hive across the river. It is high in a tree and on a mountain slope, far enough from the road so that passersby do not come close to it. It is possible to see a small swarm of hornets flying above it, but Ren is nonplussed. He guesses it contains up to a thousand of the killer insects.

There is no concrete explanation for why the hornets are attacking humans with such ferocity this year. Experts point to urban sprawl as one reason the hornet’s natural habitat has been compromised. Hives are now commonly found underground or in buildings. Left alone, the hornets typically don’t attack humans. But as humans and hornets live in increasing proximity of one another inadvertent disturbance can ignite a vicious response.

In a statement the government said it is doing its best to save people. At the start of September, an average of 30 to 40 people suffered stings daily. By Oct. 5 that number had dropped to 12, according to government figures. The government has been allocated 2 million RMB (just over $300,000) to hospitals to treat the injured. But many hospitals were not equipped to deal with the influx.

Emergency teams led by the fire department are working nest to nest in an attempt to destroy as many as possible. The government reports that more than 4,000 nests have been destroyed. But it is harder and harder to reach the more remote, rural hives. Accompanying one unit on a response call, the team was forced to trek on foot to the site. In full protective gear they used a massive, jerry-rigged torch to set the hive aflame until it was nothing more than a smoldering, charred remain.

“The hornets that survived have no more home,” said one member of the team. “They will die.”

But there is no guarantee. This year in particular, a mild winter and several months of hot weather may be behind an increased population. The Fang family of honey bee keepers told ABC News they are seeing many more hornets than before, and they are decimating their livelihood.

Asian Hornets attack honey bees every year in a particularly violent fashion, chewing their victims’ flesh into a powerful substance that boosts the hornet’s strength. It is common for a swarm of hornets to decimate a honeybee hive with ease.

Fang says he has lost 10 bee boxes this year; far more than in previous seasons. He estimates his loss at 30,000 RMB (just under $5,000) and says it will go higher as he loses money on next year’s crop.

His neighbor shows off a wound, an angry, crater-like round hole on his arm. When asked why he doesn’t go to a safer village, where he might have relatives, he says, “Where can I go? This is my home. I have nowhere to go.”

Officials hope the attacks drop by the end of the month and cease completely by December when the hornets retreat for winter. But next spring Queen Hornets will welcome thousands of new offspring.

As the ABC News team leaves town, word comes that a school has contacted the fire department. A hive has been found on school grounds, and they need help immediately.

Press Release: Georgia Department of Public Health

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Press Release: Georgia Department of Public Health

Valdosta – The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed six mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Lowndes County last week. Fourteen mosquito pools have tested positive for a mosquito borne disease so far this year (13 – WNV, 1 – Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)). There have also been numerous cases of EEE confirmed in horses and one in a dog in South Georgia; and human cases in Clinch (EEE) and Brantley (WNV) Counties.

Public Health Officials continue to encourage everyone to guard against exposure to mosquitoes. According to Rosmarie Kelly, PhD, MPH, Public Health Entomologist, mosquito activity appears to be lower now than last year at this point; however, we won’t know for sure until all data are in for August.

Lowndes County is one of only five locations in Georgia that conducts testing on mosquito pools for mosquito borne illnesses. “Due to the testing in our area, we are able to notify the public when a mosquito sample tests positive for an illness,” says William Grow, MD, FACP, District Health Director. “However, this doesn’t mean that mosquitoes are only affecting people in that area. Mosquitoes travel everywhere and anyone is at risk of a mosquito bite.”

People are urged to take the following precautions:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or PMD. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.
  • Any containers that can collect water should be discarded or dumped daily.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk to reduce the amount of exposed skin, as weather permits.
  • Avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn, peak mosquito biting times, if possible.
  • Set up outdoor fans to keep mosquitoes from flying near you.

“While most people infected with West Nile Virus show no symptoms of the illness and pass it on their own, even healthy people have become severely ill for weeks when infected,” says Dr. Grow.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that usually develop 3 to 14 days after being infected. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

There is no vaccine for the illness nor is there a specific treatment. People with severe cases are hospitalized and receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids and respiratory treatment. The best protection is to avoid being bitten.

For more information about mosquito borne illnesses, call your local health department or visit

WNV has been reported in Georgia

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

WNV has been reported in Georgia for the first time of the year. “These cases reinforce the need for all of us to be vigilant in applying preventive measures to help control mosquito breeding” Exclaimed Chris Hutcheson, with the Center of Environmental Health. If you are concerned about west Nile virus and mosquitoes consider the Bug Busters USA mosquito control program for your family.

Foreclosures Can Make Mosquito Problem Worse

Monday, April 30th, 2012 Foreclosures Can Make Mosquito Problem Worse

Homes abandoned to foreclosures have given rise to an unexpected side effect that will only get worse this summer: stagnant swimming pools and overgrown yards transforming into mosquito breeding grounds.

This year, early-season heat and rain could combine with predictions of an uptick in foreclosures to create the “buggy summer” officials dread. Already, the weather likely has allowed for an additional generation of mosquitoes to take flight, said Metro Public Health Department managers.

Metro’s pest control division – a team of two – checks known breeding areas in the winter to kill as many mosquito larvae as possible. It’s the best way to keep the population down and decrease the threat of West Nile virus, and it allows staffers to be ready to respond to called-in resident complaints, which rise along with temperatures, said Larry Cole, pest management director.

Concerns about foreclosed homes put officials in a tricky situation. When calls come during the winter, officials try to track down property owners to ask that they be mindful of eliminating standing water. But it takes time to find owners.

And, as Cole says, “those mosquitoes are not going to wait.”

So if it’s already mosquito season, Metro acts as fast as possible, dropping larvicide bricks or grains into abandoned pools. “We’re going to larvicide because it’s a health issue,” Cole said.

On his rounds last week, pest control staffer John Pico responded to resident complaints across the eastern half of Davidson County. One of the pink slips of paper he held was a note about standing water in a pool on Jacksonian Drive in Hermitage.

At the tree-shaded white ranch-style home, Pico looked over the back gate, eyeing the pool, unsure whether it held water.

He knocked on the front door – no answer – and grabbed a pole from his truck. At its end hung a simple plastic cup to dip into the water to check for larvae. He slipped through the side gate, noting that he’d already whistled: “No dog came,” he said.

Around back, Pico eyed the pool, which was full of scuzzy green water. From the dilapidated red wooden deck, he spotted another concern: a fish pond.

The water there was a brighter green but hosted only a few mosquito larvae. Pico tossed in some larvicide and moved on to the next threat: a debris-covered hot tub. Before leaving, he’d also looked at water puddled on a camper trailer and inside a tire.

Vigilance needed

Mosquitoes typically lay eggs in stagnant water – any temporary puddle could work if it remains for a week or more. Larvae emerge from eggs into the water, where larvicide can kill them. The larvicides, generally nontoxic to human touch, are used under Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

Veterans such as Pico and Cole say abandoned pools draw the most complaints from neighbors but don’t always house the most mosquitoes. Cole remembers repeat calls to Antioch for complaints about rampant mosquitoes near an abandoned home.

But the pool wasn’t the culprit.

“It was a little pie pan that was there in the sun,” Cole said. “You couldn’t even see the water because of all the larvae in there.”

In La Vergne and Murfreesboro, which have seen some of Middle Tennessee’s highest rates of foreclosure, officials typically begin their responses to nuisance property complaints by mailing maintenance notices to owners. As in Metro, officials try to avoid spending staff time and supplies on properties where they might not be repaid.

“We want to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money,” said Gary Whitaker, chief building official in Murfreesboro.

In recent years, Whitaker has been able to shift the duties of his staff away from permitting requests, which have decreased, and toward property maintenance complaints.

But officials can do only so much. In La Vergne, for example, a single codes enforcement officer handles a wide range of complaints. And longer mosquito breeding seasons can outlast the most potent larvicides, which last 90 days.

So officials depend on homeowners’ vigilance to eliminate standing water.

Pico said common-sense actions make a difference: flipping over dog bowls and other containers, pulling tarps taut and keeping pond water in motion.

Where there’s no one to tend to such things, neighbors should call to file complaints, Pico said. Experience has taught him that those are almost guaranteed, once it gets hot.

“It keeps you busy,” Pico said. “You’ve got job security.”

Mosquito Control

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Bug Busters USA Newsletter ~ WNV and Mosquitoes