The Stories Behind Our Favorite Fall Activities

Fall is a little bittersweet around the Mosquito Joe office. The same time of year that brings beautiful foliage, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and apple cider also brings an end to our mosquito spraying season in most locations. But instead of focusing on the negatives, we’re already looking forward to the fun (and sometimes strange) fall activities yet to come! If you’ve ever wondered where the tradition of apple bobbing came from, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re going to explore some of the fall activities we enjoy every year and dig a little bit deeper to find out why we enjoy things like dunking our heads in water to retrieve an apple with our mouths instead of grabbing a dry one out of a bowl with our hands.

Oktoberfest

OktoberfestOktoberfest is a 16 to 18 day festival that takes place every year in Munich, Germany to commemorate the Bavarian culture. A combination of a beer festival and carnival, Oktoberfest attracts millions of people every year. Interestingly enough, this festival is typically held in September instead of October. Wonder why? The first Oktoberfest was held in mid October 1810 to honor the marriage of a Bavarian royal couple. As this tradition continued throughout the years, organizers moved the festival to September to allow for better weather and enjoyment of the festivities! Last year’s event saw over 7 million visitors and just as many litres of beer served. Cheers!

 

Trick-or-Treating

Trick or treatTrick-or-treating, one of the most beloved fall traditions is a little strange if you really think about it. Going door to door in costume asking strangers for candy has a few contested origin stories. The ancient tradition of mumming was practiced at the Samhain celebration. This predecessor to Halloween was celebrated over 2,000 ago by the Celts. People would dress in costume to drive away evil spirits while gathering together to honor the dead and would perform acts in exchange for food and drink.

Samhain transformed into All Souls’ Day, a large festival with costumes, food, and treats to honor the deceased. Poorer classes would visit the homes of wealthier people and ask for treats in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of their relatives. Eventually, the promise to pray for souls was dropped and replaced with the performance of a trick or joke, hence the name trick-or-treat.

As these traditions came to the United States, the innocent “tricks” gradually devolved into vandalism, the height of which was during The Great Depression. To evade thousands of dollars in damage and unnecessary violence, communities organized a trick-or-treating program in the 1930s to keep young people focused on something else. These programs saw huge success and continue to this very day!

Bobbing for Apples

Bobbing for applesWhat is now a messy and innocent game has its roots in courtship and love from European colonists. Young girls were assigned an apple, and the amount of tries it took their male partner to bite the apple determined the success of their relationship; one try meant eternal love, two tries meant a short romance, and three tries meant nothing would ever happen. The apple was often regarded as a sign of fertility and youth as apple blossoms usually signal the beginning of spring. Eventually, this game lost its romantic undertones and became a popular game for everyone to enjoy at fall parties!

 


As is becoming tradition here, we went around to office to ask the Mosquito Joe crew about which fall activities they lovFall traditionse. Here are some of their favorites!

Watching my son play fall tee-ball – Jake

Coming from New England, we always did the typical stuff; apple picking, hot apple cider, etc. But for me, the highlight is when we carve the pumpkins! Now with kids, it’s fun to see personalities come out in their carvings. Fall ActivitiesYou can always tell who’s pumpkin is whose. My pumpkin is always scary. Dad’s is traditional and NEVER deviates. Our 8-year-old daughter does something a little different and creative, and our 5-year-old does a goofy pumpkin. – Gwen

While I am a total summer girl at heart and hate to see it end, I do love heading out to the farm and watching our four year old select the perfect pumpkin and cut it off the vine! And of course, I always scoop up a few mums to get me in an autumn state of mind.  – JulieFall Activities

I love drinking beer and supporting my favorite NFL teams – Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers! – Jodi


As you plan your fall festivities and Halloween parties, remember how important it is to continue your mosquito control sprays until the very end of the season. Ending your treatments early will give female mosquitoes a chance to not only make your yard a home but to lay more eggs before the first freeze of winter. Along with the barrier spray, Mosquito Joe technicians can treat areas of standing water that are unavoidable such as pool covers and flower pots. If the last spray and treated areas of water are completed, then you’ve completed the first step in winterizing your yard!

Don’t let mosquitoes trick you into ending service before the season ends. Contact your local Mosquito Joe for a free quote today!

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Aerial Spraying: Is it the Right Solution?

With mosquito borne illness on the rise and locally transmitted cases of Zika making headlines daily, people are naturally concerned about local vector control. In the fight against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, local governments are feeling the pressure to formulate plans to keep their residents protected, especially in areas where Zika has been detected. For this reason, as the need to reduce the mosquito population and the spread of vector borne illness intensifies, aerial spraying is something that could be making headlines in your area.

What is Aerial Spraying?

Aerial spraying is the use of airplanes to treat large areas with insecticides as safely, quickly, and efficiently as possible. These products (which may vary by area) rapidly reduce both young and adult mosquitoes and can help to reduce the number of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus and other mosquito borne illnesses.

A typical aerial-spraying program involves loading a solution of the insecticide and mineral oil in tanks. Nozzles create droplets that can get past the crowns of trees to hit the mosquitoes and areas where they live. Planes fly 100 to 300 feet above the ground.

Benefits of Aerial Spraying

  • Aerial spraying does not pose a health risk to humans, pets or wildlife when done correctly. During aerial spraying, a small amount of insecticide is sprayed over an area, usually about 1 ounce per acre or about the size of a football field.
  • Products that are being used are EPA registered. The EPA registration tells you that the product has demonstrated that it should not cause adverse effects on your health or the environment when used according to label instructions.
  • While it is only part of the solution for controlling mosquitoes, aerial spraying is a method that can quickly reduce the number of mosquitoes in a large area.

Challenges of Aerial Spraying

  • Weather conditions. There has to be ideal weather conditions for the planes and the product to be applied accurately. This can sometimes cause delays in treatment or directly impact its effectiveness.
  • Mass, less targeted approach. Unlike Mosquito Joe mosquito control treatments that are directly tailored to each individual property, aerial spraying is a mass approach to mosquito elimination with no room for customization. It’s a one size fits all solution.
  • The risk to beneficial insects. While the product can’t differentiate between insects that do important work and the ones that can make life difficult for us, there are ways that aerial spraying can be done to minimize the risk to beneficial insects. For example, spraying should be done during the time honeybees are inside their hives (dawn and dusk) to avoid adverse effects to the bee population.
  • Communication and timing. The general public has no control over when aerial spraying is done, and as with any situation when there is a need to get information to a large amount of people, it is hard for local agencies to get the word out about plans for spraying. Most agencies will mention it in the news and place it in the newspaper, but unfortunately that word doesn’t reach everyone. If the communication doesn’t reach you, you might not be able to prepare. While most people don’t need to do anything to prepare, for some, like beekeepers, that information could be vital.

 Alternative Options to Aerial Spraying

Regardless of whether or not aerial spraying is part of your city’s plans, there are plenty of actions you can take to help protect your family from mosquito bites:

  • Reduce standing water. Reducing sources of standing water in and around your yard can help eliminate breeding areas for mosquitoes.
  • Cover yourself. Mosquitoes feed at dawn and dusk, so if you’re going to be outdoors make sure you are in long sleeves and pants to avoid bites.
  • Professional mosquito control. Services like Mosquito Joe’s barrier spray treatments can keep your yard itch free, on your terms. These treatments are applied on a regular basis (every 2-3 weeks) and tailored to your yard, offering ongoing protection for your outdoor space.

Aerial spraying is one example of how municipalities are joining the fight against mosquito-borne illness by reducing the mosquito population. We encourage you to stay educated on what’s going on in your community and ensure you have an adequate defense plan of your own for mosquito control around your home.

More information on Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses can be found Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information on professional mosquito control options or to get a quote for a service plan for your home, check out MosquitoJoe.com.

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Let Us Do the Work This Labor Day

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to a close and back-to-school supplies have replaced barbecue paraphernalia in the grocery stores. But before you put away the grills and cover the adirondack chairs, there is one last long weekend to soak up the sunshine before you have to think about early morning bus stops and packed lunches.

Labor Day can be bittersweet; it wraps up a time of relaxation and leisure while also giving us an extra day off and time spent with loved ones (hopefully outside)! So today, we’re going to focus on the sweet – how to make the most out of outdoor plans this holiday. If you’re hosting a get together at your house this weekend, keeping guests entertained can be stressful, especially the little ones! Here are some unique ideas for backyard activities to give everyone lasting memories long into the new school year.

  • Sand Jar Art – What’s backyard bash without some arts and crafts? All you need for this activity is salt, sidewalk chalk of various colors, containers or jars of your choice, paper plates, and construction paper. This craft will keep the kids busy and give them beautiful artwork to take home that reminds them of summer. Follow the link in the title for specific instructions.
  • Lawn Twister – A new twist on an old favorite, all this lawn game requires is some spray paint and circular stencil. Simply paint the Twister circles onto the grass and play away! The paint should wash away easily with the rain or hose.Outdoor Pictionary
  • Bean Bag Ladder Toss – Label each rung of the ladder with points on a large index card in descending order. Then have players throw bean bags between the rungs for highest possible scores. Easy setup!
  • Frozen T-Shirt Race – This is a fun (and fast) way to cool off if Labor Day weekend ends up being a scorcher. Grab a bunch of t-shirts, soak them in water, and ring them out. Place wax paper between each shirt and freeze overnight. Make a game out of it by passing out the t-shirts and seeing who can unfold and put it on the fastest.
  • Outdoor Pictionary – Another new take on an old favorite, outdoor pictionary let’s families bring this classic game outdoors to enjoy on a bigger scale. You can either buy a large chalkboard to use in the backyard or build one of your own.

There are hundreds of ideas out there for backyard games and activities that the entire family can enjoy. Check out our Labor Day blog from last year for even more ideas! To ensure that your Labor Day celebration goes off without a hitch, call your local Mosquito Joe for mosquito control services. There is no bigger distraction at an outdoor party than the constant swatting that mosquitoes bring. Mosquito Joe’s barrier spray services will help your guests stay focused on winning the games rather than itching. We’ve got room on the schedule, so make sure you call now and ensure you’re a stop for the infamous yellow van!

From all of us here at Mosquito Joe, we wish you a happy Labor Day! Be sure to let us know your own ideas for backyard games and ways to spice up a summer barbecue.

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