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 pest control sprays 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. The aforementioned products are harmless, but this did bring up a great question. Should pest control be something that gets added to your “things to do” list around the house? Is do-it-yourself mosquito control or really any DIY pest control a good idea? The short answer is — No! It’s definitely something you should leave to the professionals. There are a few reasons why. Let’s take a closer look.

Risks of Using Unproven Chemicals and Sprays

When you schedule a professional barrier spray application, you are assured of several things. First, the chemicals used are legal in your state. Second, they will be applied in a way that most effectively addresses the specific pests you are dealing with. Did you know that there are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes and some are better targeted by certain chemicals than others? No single pesticide or DIY pest control formula is effective against all mosquitoes. A local pest control expert will know the specific species you’re battling and how best to control them. Third, you can trust that a pro will apply the correct amount of treatment to kill pests effectively without harming the local environment.

Remember, effective pest control makes use of substances that can be toxic to pests. Therefore, it must be done carefully, with experience, knowledge and skill, to ensure that only the targeted pests are affected. All too often, when DIY pest control fails to deliver relief from pests, people get desperate and seek out illegal sources for potentially harmful do-it-yourself extermination. It’s important to note that these compounds are regulated to protect you, your family, your pets, and the environment. Working outside of such parameters could easily do serious damage.

Lack of Knowledge of Pests’ Biology and Behavior

Effective pest control is about far more than just dumping a bunch of treatment on your property. The proper treatment must be chosen to address your environment and to meet your needs for the specific pests you’re battling. Furthermore, the timing, location, and method of application are critical to success. For example, did you know that the pupal stage of fleas is impervious to the same chemicals that kill adults and eggs? Or that mosquitoes can go dormant in winter? Spraying do-it-yourself mosquito spray at the wrong time or in the wrong place can threaten your property and pets without ever affecting your intended target.

Pest control professionals recognize insect habitats and the telltale signs of nests and eggs, so they can concentrate their efforts where they will produce the best results. Some pest control solutions are designed to exploit the insects’ natural behavior. Effectively applying them requires both training and experience. Too many do-it-yourself mosquito sprays spread toxics with little rhyme or reason, and limited results. This can also harm beneficial insects and the environment.

Incomplete Coverage and Unreliable Results

DIY pest control can not only be ineffective, but it can also actually worsen your pest problems. Most likely your property has predator bugs that kill and eat the biting pests you want to eliminate. You could end up killing the predators, allowing the fast-breeding pests to survive, which can lead to a population boom. A pest-control professional will know what to apply, where, and how much to effectively eliminate pests without eliminating all the beneficial predators, too.

DIY home pest control can also present a problem when it comes to resistance – similar to the overuse of antibiotics. Insects, just like bacteria, are fast to reproduce with exceptional adaptation and survival mechanisms. This means they can eventually develop a resistance to the compounds used to control them. Just as the overuse of antibiotics can lead to highly resistant infections, indiscriminate use of do-it-yourself extermination can cause local pests to become more resistant to your DIY pest control methods.

Why Professional Pest Control Is the Best Choice

Mosquito Joe® pest control service professionals undergo extensive training to identify and target specific pests in your community with the most effective methods available. We do so swiftly and efficiently without the wasteful use of ineffective substances. Unlike DIY pest control efforts, our work is supervised by certified entomologists – real bug nerds. This ensures we always use the best pest control practices and have the most up-to-date information to alleviate your pest problem.

Professional pest control offers the following benefits compared to DIY pest control:

  • It’s cost-effective based on better long-term results.
  • It’s efficient at eliminating problem pests.
  • It targets the specific pest in your area, based on your unique conditions.
  • It’s environmentally conscious.

The Advantages of Working with Mosquito Joe

Our professional pest control services are available in locations across the country. We study the specific pests that inhabit areas where you live so we can tailor our pest control efforts to the problems you face.

Unlike DIY pest control efforts, all our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and our Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee. So, you can count on us to do the job right the first time. Request a quote online today! We’re not only studying bugs; we’re also making the outdoors fun again!


Heartworm Disease Awareness Month

As the weather gets more conducive for outdoor activities, it means more barbecues, relaxing by the pool, and enjoying the fresh air! Unfortunately, it also means more interactions with mosquitoes and other biting pests that pose a threat to our family members, two-legged and four-legged alike. One of the fatal diseases pests can spread is heartworm disease. Sadly, this disease affects thousands of pets each year. April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, designed to raise awareness about the deadly threat that heartworm disease represents for our beloved pets.

What Is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal affliction. Infected animals can suffer from acute lung disease, cardiac failure, severe organ damage, or die if the disease is left untreated. The most common victims are dogs, cats, ferrets, wolves, coyotes, and foxes. This disease is caused by parasitic worms called Dirofilaria immitis, otherwise known as heartworms.

While dogs, cats, and ferrets are all vulnerable to heartworm disease, it is far more common in dogs and ferrets than in cats. In part, this is due to heartworms reproducing more rapidly in dogs. However, while successful heartworm disease treatments exist for dogs, no treatment is available for cats or ferrets. One study indicates that one-third of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease die or are euthanized soon after diagnosis. Therefore, it’s essential to protect your pets from this deadly disease.

How Do Pets Get Heartworm Disease?

Pets can get heartworms after being bitten by infected mosquitoes.

Heartworms can live in the major organs of an animal’s body, such as the heart, lungs, and connected blood vessels. Adult female heartworms living in an animal host produce microscopic baby worms that circulate throughout the infected animal’s bloodstream. When the host gets bitten by a bloodsucking mosquito, the insect picks up these tiny worms with the animal’s blood. When that pest bites another susceptible pet or wild animal, they deposit the infective worms into the animal’s bloodstream.

Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states, but the highest number of reported cases are in the southeast, especially in Gulf Coast areas. Warmer climates make transmission from mosquitoes much easier, and the number of wildlife carriers in the area is also a contributing factor.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

Not all infected dogs and cats demonstrate symptoms of heartworm disease. A blood test is the surest way to detect heartworms in your pet. Use Heartworm Disease Month as your motivation to schedule regular vet visits for your pet(s).

The most common symptoms of heartworm disease are the following:

  • A dry, persistent cough, particularly in otherwise healthy-appearing pets
  • Lethargy, poor stamina, and a reluctance to exercise
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Swollen belly due to fluid buildup in the abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing or shallow, rapid breaths
  • Frequent vomiting, sometimes with blood
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blindness
  • Seizures

If your dog or cat displays any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to take them to your vet. However, heartworms cannot be detected in your pet until the parasites are about 7 months old.

Stages of Heartworm Disease

There are four distinct stages of heartworm disease, which are as follows:

  1. A mosquito bites a pet or wild animal infected with heartworms, ingesting microfilariae, the immature larval form of Dirofilaria immitis.
  2. The heartworm microfilariae mature into infective larvae inside the mosquito.*
  3. The infected mosquito bites a healthy animal, transmitting the infective heartworm larvae.
  4. The larvae enter the animal’s bloodstream, traveling to the heart and lungs, where they mature and begin to reproduce, growing up to a foot in length.

* Heartworm microfilariae, the microscopic immature larval form, must spend time in the digestive tract of a mosquito to develop into infective larvae. An infected pet cannot pass heartworm to another animal through contact, scratches, bites, or grooming. Mosquitoes are essential to the spread of heartworm disease.

Mature heartworms can live in dogs for five to seven years and in cats for two or three years. (Yuck!) But this long lifespan means that every mosquito season, your pet can develop an increasing number of heartworms, worsening the severity of the heartworm disease and its symptoms.

How To Prevent Heartworm Disease in Dogs?

While Heartworm Disease Awareness Month is dedicated to raising pet owners’ awareness of the disease, prevention is the main purpose. Heartworm disease in dogs and cats can be prevented, so it’s essential to check your pet(s) regularly for symptoms and schedule periodic checkups with your vet.

The best way to deal with the threat of heartworm disease is the regular use of preventative medications prescribed by your vet. Various effective formulas are available in once-monthly chewable form, once-monthly topical applications, and once- or twice-yearly injections.

Effective prevention consists of following your veterinarian’s recommendation and having a proactive plan in place. The American Heartworm Society recommends starting puppies and kittens on a preventative medication as early as the label allows, typically at 8 weeks old. Ferrets should weigh at least two pounds before starting the medication. Experts also recommend that pets aged 7 months and older be tested for heartworms every 12 months. Although cats are less likely to contract heartworms as they are atypical hosts, it is important to provide cats with preventative treatment and test them regularly for early detection.

Additional Protection Against Heartworm Disease

Another component of heartworm disease prevention is effective mosquito control around your property. Remember that mosquitoes are essential to the transmission of heartworm disease. Mosquito Joe®’s barrier-treatment sprays, misting systems, and mosquito traps  provide an added layer of defense and protection against mosquitoes that transmit heartworm disease. With a regular schedule of our barrier treatments, especially during the peak mosquito season, you can protect your family and pets from mosquitoes and the health risks they pose.

You can also lower the mosquito population near your home by doing the following:

  • Emptying standing water sources. Tires, puddles, bird baths, and even children’s toys can be prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Cleaning gutters regularly so water doesn’t build up.
  • Cut grass and shrubs short so pests can’t hide.
  • Drilling holes in tires, swings, trash cans, and recycle bins so water drains out.
  • Repairing leaky outdoor faucets and pipes.
  • Keeping your lawn weed-free and avoiding overgrown vegetation.

Treatment of Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is treated in dogs with the use of Melarsomine dihydrochloride. This is a drug that contains arsenic and has been approved by the FDA to kill adult heartworms in dogs. It is available under the trade names Immiticide and Diroban. Heartworm disease prevention is far and away the best treatment.

To find more information on heartworms, visit the American Heartworm Society.

Help Protect My Pets from Heartworm Disease

At Mosquito Joe, we’re dedicated to keeping your family and furry friends safe from biting insects. In addition to mosquito control, our services include flea and tick control. We also provide extensive ongoing education about insects and vector-borne diseases to help you protect all of your loved ones.

To keep your outdoor spaces free from itching and swatting, trust the professionals at your local Mosquito Joe. All our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and the Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee. So you know we’ll get the job done right the first time. Request a free quote and say goodbye to biting mosquitoes and hello to the great outdoors.


The Life Cycle of Mosquitoes in Winter


Have you ever wondered what happens to mosquitoes in the winter? Well, despite the rumors, they don’t all vacation in Florida during the coldest months of the year. Since these tiny creatures are cold-blooded and most active when temperatures are around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, they become lethargic when temps drop to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At 50 degrees Fahrenheit or below, mosquitoes cannot function. So, if they’re not heading south, do mosquitoes die in the winter? Some do, but not all, which raises questions like how do mosquitoes survive the winter and where do mosquitoes go during winter? The answers depend on the complexity of the mosquito life cycle and how it adapts to winter weather.

So, why is any of this important? Well, understanding what happens to mosquitoes in winter can actually help protect you and your family from itchy mosquito bites and the diseases they transmit all year long. Sure, we have a thing for bugs, but scientists, professional pest control experts, and residents can all benefit from understanding our pesky, bloodsucking foe, the mosquito. If we’ve piqued your interest, read on to learn what happens to mosquitoes in the wintertime.

Understanding the Mosquito Life Cycle

A mosquito’s life cycle has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Every stage of the mosquito’s life is integral to providing an ongoing population of mosquitoes. Mosquito control efforts seek to break this life cycle while scientists try to exploit it to defeat these disease-carrying pests. Although the mosquito life cycle always progresses through all four stages, each stage varies greatly in length, depending upon the ambient temperatures of its surroundings.

How Temperature Affects the Life Cycle of Mosquitoes

Because mosquitoes are most active in warm weather (they like it hot), their life cycle completes most quickly in the spring and summer months. Many species move from egg to biting adult in just 14 days at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature increase of 10 degrees (to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) shortens this cycle to just 10 days. It is not just the speed of the life cycle that is affected by temperature, but also the quality and success. Higher temperatures within the mosquito’s comfort range produce more eggs that hatch into larger larvae that grow into bigger adults (yikes!). But wait! There’s more. Most discouraging, studies find that mosquitoes born and raised in warmer temperatures are also more resistant to certain insecticides. Not great news for those of us who enjoy spending summer days outdoors.

However, when the temperatures drop, many mosquito species enter a state of extreme torpor, like hibernation. This is why many people ask, “do mosquitoes die in the winter?” Although it may seem like they have disappeared forever, rumors of their death are greatly exaggerated. What happens to mosquitoes in the winter is not the end for many buzzing biters, but rather, I’ll catch up with you at the summer BBQ.

In reality, they are indulging in their version of hibernation. This mosquito “dormancy” is called diapause. Diapause enables mosquitoes and the diseases they carry to survive the winter (how did we get so lucky). Some mosquito species enter diapause as adults. The adult females mate in the fall; then, they look for animal burrows or hollow logs to survive the cold winter in a diapause state. Other species lay winter-hardy eggs that can survive freezing temperatures to hatch in the spring (more on this below).

Mosquito Eggs in Winter

As mentioned, certain mosquito species, like those in the genus Aedes, lay winter-hardy eggs that can survive sub-freezing temperatures. These winter-proof mosquito eggs do not die in winter because they have a natural antifreeze that keeps them from freezing completely. They are typically submerged under the ice, where they remain dormant for months until warmer spring weather returns. When the weather warms, it triggers the hatching, and these hungry larvae emerge ready to create havoc for man and beast.

Mosquito Larvae in Winter

Winter-hardy mosquito eggs are one-way mosquitoes remain in diapause until the weather warms. But some mosquito varieties also produce winter-hardy larvae that can slow their metabolism and remain dormant for winter. Active mosquito larvae typically feed on bacteria, microorganisms, and detritus in the water they inhabit. But those in diapause fast until they awaken in spring, which means they are going to emerge hungry and ready to feed.

Mosquito Pupae in Winter

At every stage of their life cycle, mosquitoes are highly sensitive to temperature. Adult females alter the time of their egg-laying based on warming and cooling temps. Winter-hardy eggs and larvae do not develop further while in diapause. Now for some good news. Mosquito pupae cannot survive freezing temperatures, so the other stages adjust their timing to avoid pupating during winter.

Mosquito Adults in Winter

Okay, it’s true. Some (not all) mosquitoes do spend their winter in places like Florida and Arizona. For those adults evolved to survive winter in colder climates, they enter diapause and shut down their metabolism to wait out the cold. Adult females can survive for months in this state, snug in warm animal burrows or protected in hollow logs or similar shelters. This is how mosquitoes survive winter if they don’t head south or west to avoid the cold.

Once the warmer weather of spring arrives, the cold-hardy eggs hatch and dormant adults wake up to feed and breed. This is about all they do during this period. It’s all about survival and making up for lost time at this point. This is why it’s so important to take a proactive approach to mosquito control around your property before the warm weather arrives.

How To Control Mosquitoes in Winter

Although mosquitoes aren’t active in winter, mosquito control can be valuable in the colder months. Eliminating dormant eggs and larvae or killing fertilized adult females in diapause can give you a jump on controlling the biting population in spring and summer. You can see to it that your mosquitoes do not survive the winter. This is the time to begin yard care routines that will interrupt the mosquito life cycle.

Knowing where mosquitoes are likely to spend the winter months hibernating will make it easier to reduce their numbers come spring. Dormant adult female mosquitoes hide in piled leaves, animal burrows, garbage, yard debris, fallen logs, stacked firewood, and tree trunks. So, keep your yard cleaned up and freer of debris to deny them shelter or destroy the slumbering biters. Also, clear all locations on your property that collect and hold standing water. An adult female mosquito can lay 100-200 eggs in just a bottle cap of water! Empty catch trays and wheelbarrows, clear the gutters and eliminate all places where melting snow and ice collect. Continue this throughout the winter to dispose of hibernating eggs and larvae. Spring through summer, keeping these places dry prevents adults from laying their eggs there.

Mosquito Joe Controls Mosquitoes in Winter and Year Round

At Mosquito Joe, our goal is to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces without biting pests. For us, it’s not just about providing pest control services but also arming you with the knowledge that empowers you to protect yourself and your family. Prevention is a critical piece of effective pest management, so you can count on us to keep you informed about what happens to mosquitoes in winter and similar topics.

When you need us, our team of experienced pros is ready to provide the expert services that thousands of homeowners and businesses rely on. We have Mosquito Joe locations across the country. Each is staffed by experts who are knowledgeable about how to effectively deal with the specific critters in their area. Our Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and the Mosquito Joe® Satisfaction Guarantee back all our work and ensure your satisfaction. So, request a quote at the top of this page or give us a call. Let’s make the outdoors fun again!


Mosquito-Free Areas to Visit

Your next vacation is a time to escape from work, relax with family or friends, and recharge. If you arrive at your vacation destination ready for fun, it can be quite discouraging to be greeted by a barrage of mosquitoes instead. So, while you’re planning your trip, doing a little more research about possible destinations and the insects that inhabit the area can help you avoid a buggy situation.

Are There Any Places Without Mosquitoes?

Unless you’re planning on traveling to Antarctica or Iceland, you’ll likely encounter mosquitoes, especially if it’s during the summer months. However, there are some virtually mosquito-free areas where you would be less likely to encounter many of those nagging pests. In North America, the state with the least number of mosquitoes in West Virginia, you will still encounter some in the more densely wooded areas. And even the state with the least number of mosquitoes has a lot.

When it comes to determining whether your vacation spot will have lots of bugs, consider two things: temperature and humidity. The “swampier” the climate, the more likely you’ll encounter a lot of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also love standing water, so you may decide to avoid areas with swamps, ponds, or small lakes. For example, lakeside camping is going to involve bug bites. But a cruise or a water park vacation offers more controlled environments likely to be itch-free.

Related Topic: How Mosquitoes and Ticks Spread Disease

Hot Places Without Mosquitoes

If you’re up for a little adventure, visit the tiny island of Montserrat in the Caribbean British West Indies. It’s one of few very hot spots in the world that allows you to essentially live a mosquito-free life. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why this location doesn’t have mosquitoes, since it has all their usual requirements: tropical temperatures, humidity, and plenty of water. The constant volcanic activity that the island is known for is likely a big factor.

The islands of French Polynesia also have fewer mosquitoes than most islands with similar climates. Tahiti is one of these islands and is a beautiful place to vacation. It’s known for its picturesque beaches and lavish resorts. French Polynesian vacation spots attract thousands of tourists every year.

Mosquito-Free Life Is Rare, But You Can Get Close!

Even if you travel to places with no mosquitoes (or very few), those annoying pests will be faithfully waiting for you when you finally return home—because they never take a vacation.

To make help make your backyard an infestation before it begins by contacting our experts at Mosquito Joe. We can make your yard more enjoyable all year long by spraying for mosquitoes and helping you eliminate their habitat. Request an estimate or call us at 1-855-275-2563 to get started.


Insect Egg Identification

As you walk around your property, you may spy little eggs on leaves and in your garden area. There’s a high likelihood you’re seeing insect eggs just waiting to hatch. Understanding some basic insect egg identification can help you know what types of eggs they are and when you should be concerned about their presence.

Keep reading to get a primer on insect egg identification and learn how to prevent an insect breeding ground on your property.

Related Topic: Is an All-Natural Mosquito Treatment Right for You?

Identifying Insect Eggs in the Garden: Common Culprits

There are many different types of insect eggs in the garden, ranging in color from the darker eggs of female stink bugs to white fuzzy patches of eggs from stem borers. This blog will focus on two of the most common: white and yellow insect eggs.

While some white and yellow insect eggs can produce bugs that are relatively harmless, others can lead to insects that create a dangerous situation in your garden or lawn.

White Insect Eggs on Leaves

Some of the most common insects that lay white eggs on leaves near homes and gardens include:

Whiteflies: Adult whiteflies place their tiny white eggs on the undersides of leaves in concentric patterns, from the bottom to the upper portion of a plant. These insects can produce as many as 200 to 400 eggs. Unfortunately, whiteflies can injure and kill plants by sucking the sap from the leaves, causing them to shrivel and drop prematurely. To get rid of whiteflies, vacuum them or use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Cutworms: The cutworm’s white eggs show up on grass and weed stems and in the soil surrounding plants. The eggs tend to become darker right before hatching. Cutworms often take shelter in the soil during the day and feed on plants at night. These insects can be a nuisance in the garden. They get their name from their ability to “cut off” a plant seeding by chewing through the stem. To protect your plants from cutworms, control weeds and grass with regular mowing and protect seedlings with collars made from cardboard toilet paper rolls or plastic drinking cups.

Japanese Beetles: The eggs from the Japanese beetle are oval and creamy white. They start at around 1/16″ long but double in size and become rounder before hatching. Japanese beetles are known for chewing up flowers and skeletonizing leaves, making them an enemy of your garden. Applying beneficial nematodes or milky spores can help you get rid of these beetles over time. Faster options to destroy these eggs include spraying them with neem oil or pyrethrin-based insecticide.

Yellow Insect Eggs on Leaf: Common insects that lay yellow eggs on leaves near homes and gardens include:

Aphids: Bright yellow in color, aphid eggs are often found on rose bushes, milkweeds, and other plants. These eggs can make it difficult for monarch butterflies to feed on milkweeds and flourish. Aphid-affected plants show stunted growth and puckered leaves and typically die without proper treatment. Washing plants with a forceful spray of water can dislodge aphids, while organic solutions made of horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem can get rid of the eggs.

Spider Mites: Spider mite eggs begin as translucent and turn a yellowish-cream color before hatching. The adults lay up to 200 eggs on the undersides of leaves. They can infest over 180 species of plants, stunting their growth and potentially killing them. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and landscaping plants are all susceptible to spider mites. Use a plant-safe pesticide to destroy the eggs. You can also wipe the eggs off each leaf or apply a solution of essential oils, including rosemary, spearmint, or coriander, to kill and prevent spider mite egg infestation.

Get Rid of Insect Eggs in Your Garden with Help from Mosquito Joe

Finding eggs that threaten the plants around your home or in your garden can be unsettling. Fortunately, you have options. Your local Mosquito Joe can be your first line of defense against damaging insects. Our pest control professionals are dedicated to helping you keep your property, lawn, and garden healthy. We can treat your yard with a safe and effective barrier spray that lasts for up to 30 days. Call 1-855-275-2563 or schedule an appointment online today.