When is DIY a Horrible Idea?

When you are in the pest control industry, sometimes you find yourself searching for odd things on the internet. My browser history is full of things like “How much blood can a mosquito consume in one meal?” or “How many times do a mosquito’s wings beat per second?” This week as I was doing some online research, I came across an article about DIY insect repellents that included things such as vinegar, active yeast and detergent. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of DIY projects for the house, and the aforementioned products are harmless, but it did bring up a great question. Should pest control be something that gets added to your “things to do” list around the house? The short answer is – No! It’s definitely one you should leave to the professionals. Here are a few reasons why:

  • What you buy in the store will not have the same active ingredients most pest control experts will use. At Mosquito Joe, all of the barrier spray chemicals we use are synthetic forms of pyrethrins called pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are used in numerous commercial products that consumers use to control insects such as household pest insecticides, pet shampoos and sprays, and even lice shampoos applied directly to the scalp, so while it is family friendly you definitely won’t find the product at your home improvement store.
  • Even if you do track the product down, you won’t know how to apply it effectively. Mosquito Joe technicians have product application knowledge learned through their formal training that the average consumer doesn’t, and they will use that knowledge to effectively treat your property with the proper amount of chemicals and the correct application techniques.
  • There’s so many better things to do with your time! While all of these rules pertain to all pest control, for this one we’re speaking about mosquito control in particular. When our trained technicians treat your property, they’ll have your yard treated in about 20-30 minutes, and after another 30 minutes of dry time, you’re back outside enjoying your yard. Trying to get rid of mosquitoes, fleas and ticks yourself could be a very time consuming endeavor to try to do yourself. Let us handle the hard work, you handle the outside fun. Spend that time finishing your indoor chores so that when we’re done you’ll have no excuse to stay inside!

With Mosquito Joe you get a 100% satisfaction guarantee and the ease of mind of trained technicians. Couple that with how flexible scheduling the service is (you don’t need to be home!) and there is no reason you should chance DIY mosquito control. Whether it’s hanging yeast from a bottle or spraying product yourself, don’t be tempted to try to bring pest control under the DIY umbrella. We’ve got you covered. Call your local Mosquito Joe and make sure the spring of 2016 will be swat-free.

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Zika Virus Update

You have likely heard several news stories recently about the Zika Virus, a mosquito-borne illness spreading rapidly through South and Latin America.  Within the past couple of days alone, it’s been on NBC News, CNN, and The New York Times to name a few. Usually, the disease causes headaches, fever, rash, and joint pain, although most people never exhibit any symptoms whatsoever.

So why all the headlines?  Zika Virus has gotten the most attention in Brazil where over 1.5 million cases have been reported.  The virus has been linked to microephaly, a condition that causes miscarriages and severe defects in infants.  In Brazil alone, over 3,500 microephaly cases have been found.  Although it hasn’t been proven that Zika Virus causes microephaly, the numbers of infant deaths and deformities has spiked since Zika was found in Brazil last May.  The first case of Zika Virus directly linking it to microephaly was reported in Hawaii this month.  The CDC confirmed that the baby was infected previously and most likely contracted the virus from the mother while she was living in Brazil last year.

Zika is currently active in over 14 countries in the Western hemisphere including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama, Brazil, and Haiti.  Within the last year, 12 cases have been reported in the U.S., although all were foreign travelers and did not contract the virus here.  The Center for Disease Control has issued a travel alert for individuals traveling to and from these countries.  Pregnant women are also urged to delay travel to affected countries if possible.  If not, the CDC has published an extensive list of tips to prevent mosquito bites.

While Zika Virus cases in the U.S. are few and far between at the moment, CDC officials warn that the virus could spread extremely rapidly if and when it hits here.  The mosquito species known for carrying the virus (Aedes and Asian Tiger) have a wide range of habitats that extend from the subtropical regions of Florida and Georgia, to the midwest, and as far north as New York.

While there is no treatment or vaccine for Zika, those with symptoms are urged to go to the hospital immediately.  Even as I type this, a company called Oxitec is developing a genetically modified mosquito designed to combat diseases such as Zika Virus and dengue fever.  These self-limiting mosquitoes (whose offspring do not survive) have proven extremely successful in test locations so far.  Wild mosquito larvae dropped 82% in one neighborhood over an eight-month period!  Due to the recent spike in Zika Virus cases, Oxitec has expanded its testing to an area of over 60,000 people in São Paulo, Brazil and hopes to open a laboratory capable of protecting many more.

Stories like this, while scary and sometimes heartbreaking, are why we at Mosquito Joe do what we do.  The importance of mosquito control is often underestimated, but you should remember that these tiny insects are the deadliest animals in the world, carrying diseases that cause severe illness and death.  Check out the CDC page on the Zika Virus for more information and advice.  The more we know about mosquito-borne illnesses, the more we can do to advocate for mosquito control and beat the bloodsuckers once and for all!

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Fulfill Your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions with Mosquito Joe!

Aside from fireworks, champagne, and Auld Lang Syne, the one thing that accompanies every New Year’s Eve celebration is the dreaded question…Have any resolutions this year?  Maybe you’re still holding strong to yours, maybe you never made any to begin with, or maybe you’ve already decided yours are more suited for 2017 instead.  Regardless of what state your resolutions are in, data shows that they are most likely fitness-related.  A 2015 survey from Nielsen ranked “staying fit and healthy” (37%) and “losing weight” (32%) as the top two resolutions last year.  Interestingly though, 76% of those people didn’t follow any sort of weight loss or diet program to do so.

Well, no need to fear.  If your resolution is to jump on the health bandwagon and shed some of those holiday pounds, send in an application to be a Mosquito Joe technician!  Forget the gym – Mosquito Joe provides everything you need to get fit and stay in shape all year round.  Our technicians are constantly on the move, spending hours walking customers’ properties with heavy packs (up to 60 pounds), loading and unloading supplies from the van, and doing it all with a smile!

Don’t believe me?  Maybe some experienced members of our team can convince you…

Kurt Godwin – Owner of Mosquito Joe of Baltimore/Annapolis

“One thing I’ve always told my technicians is that they don’t have to workout outside of spraying.  Whenever I spray, I always tell my wife that it’s a much better workout than can be obtained at any gym.  One of my techs told me he had been having back issues.  But after spraying, his back got so strong that he no longer had pain.”

Another franchisee recommended some additional exercises for technicians to complete while they work.

Scott Johnson – Owner of Mosquito Joe of North Oakland County

“Besides the obvious fitness perk of burning calories from walking, if you’re driven enough, you can work to tone and shape your body by making a few simple changes to how you service a property.  With the pack on your back, you can do a few squats and lunges at each stop before and after treatment.  Work your upper and lower body together by filling the pack on the ground and lifting it up and down a few times before putting it on.  You can even do some curls when the pack isn’t as full to build up your arms.  Just a bit of creativity, and you can easily shed those winter sedentary pounds!”

The most recent member to join our Corporate team mentioned some other health perks to being a technician that you might not expect.

Valerie Sanetrik – Franchise Business Coach (former Mosquito Joe technician)

“There are a lot of physical benefits to being a technician.  Spraying in the middle of the summer heat causes more sweat and more fat burning.  All properties are different, so walking any sort of incline with the additional weight of the pack tones your legs.  The pack can also encourage good posture if worn correctly.  Constant movement throughout the day leads to much more standing than sitting.  And believe it or not, the arm that is constantly operating the spray hose gets a good workout too. Just be sure to even out the other arm at some point!”

Of course we realize being a Mosquito Joe technician isn’t in everyone’s future, but we can dream, right?  Whatever your New Year’s resolution is this year, we hope it comes true!  Be sure to check back on our blog every week for new content, and follow us on Facebook as we gear up for another year of battling mosquitoes across the country.  Contact your local Mosquito Joe for a free quote or questions about service.

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Can Winter Put an End to Mosquitoes?

Last week in Virginia Beach, we had record temperatures in the seventies and even eighties, which was hardly what you’d think of as holiday weather in December. But, this week we woke up to 25 degrees and snow flurries! Talk about a swing on the thermometer! If the weather has gotten cold in your area, you might crossed mosquitoes off the list for now, but that shouldn’t be the case. Even during winter months and cold temperatures, female mosquitoes are around. Sorry to disappoint, but mosquitoes have been on this planet for millions of years; a few snow storms aren’t going to send them packing!

That said, they do go into a state called diapause. During diapause, mosquitoes shut down their development and basically hibernate until spring comes. That’s right, they don’t die – they just stop…and wait… Pest Control Technology wrote an article on the four seasons and how insects respond, so if the creepiness of insect hibernation interests you, definitely check it out. Mosquito eggs are even more resilient. The eggs have been known to stand up to many harsh weather and environment situations and survive through them. While it is very common for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs on or near standing water, they can survive desert situations, freezing temperatures, and other forces of nature such as thunderstorms. Keep in mind that once a mosquito egg hatches, it becomes an adult (adult = biting) in 4-7 days, so this process is a quick once the life cycle begins.

So, what can you do this winter to make sure you aren’t supplying a breeding ground for hatching in the spring? Make sure your yards are clear of anything that can catch rainwater or melting snow. Yes, be cautious of the snow! Melting snow turns into water and mosquitoes breed in water. These can include something as simple as a child’s toy, a shovel laying on the ground, flowerpots or a swing. Keep these empty and you can avoid an overabundance of mosquito eggs.  And of course, go ahead and get on the schedule for the first spray of the season in 2016 with your local Mosquito Joe. We’ll make sure you spend your time doing the things you love instead of swatting this spring and summer.

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