California Drought Could Cause Higher Cases of West Nile

Last week in California, public officials warned that the drought that has 93% of the state in “severe drought” status could cause higher cases of West Nile in the state this year. That may sound odd since mosquitoes depend on water to breed and thrive, but it’s actually birds that could contribute to the increase of the virus this year. That comes on the heels of preliminary numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January that showed California was still the leader (and by quite a bit) of West Nile cases with 538.

In parts of Southern California, mosquitoes haven’t gone into hibernation. The state has been stuck in a persistent drought, which has tricked mosquitoes into thinking it’s still summer and there’s been no rain fall to flush them out of storm drains, so you’ve got a lot of mosquitoes.  Since they’re breeding at high rates, the trap counts are showing mosquito counts at where they would typically be in June or July.

An estimated 70 to 80 percent of people who contract the West Nile virus show no symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in five people who are infected will develop a rash, plus other symptoms like headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting or rash. Less than 1 percent of people infected with the virus will develop a serious neurologic illness, like encephalitis or meningitis, according to the CDC.

If you’re in California, there are some easy precautions you can start taking to make sure you lessen the risk of mosquitoes breeding in your yard.

  • Mosquitos breed in standing water so regularly empty ponds, bird baths, fountains, plant pots, buckets, barrels, tarps, kid toys, pet water dishes or anywhere else that water may gather.
  • Clean out gutters and examine them for damage that would cause water to collect.
  • Drill holes in tire swings, trash cans or recycle bins so water drains out.
  • Keep swimming pools clean, properly circulated and filtered. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
  • Cut grass and shrubs short, as adult mosquitoes gather to rest in shady, cool areas. Keep your yard weed-free and avoid overgrown vegetation.

And if you’re interested in the Mosquito Joe opportunity, we’d love to hear from you. You could be the neighborhood hero keeping Californians enjoying that perfect weather and staying safe and itch free.

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Making Waves in 2015: Our Second Annual Franchisee Convention

For the second annual Mosquito Joe convention, we decided to channel our inner surfer with the theme Making Waves in 2015. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to kick off the year sinceappropriate way to kick off the year since we’ve experienced such tremendous growth and will serve so many new areas and customers in 2015. When we met last year we had opened 15 territories. This past year we had 39 territories open in 22 states and we are poised to have over 100 territories open this season. What an amazing number of families we’ll be able to give a mosquito-free yard and make sure outside is fun again!

We had such a great weekend sharing ideasWe had such a great weekend sharing ideas, learning new tricks, and of course having some fun. CEO Kevin Wilson kicked off the weekend with a State of MoJo Address to get everyone ready for all the amazing things to come in 2015. Keynote speaker Gerry Layo of Sales Coach International had us laughing while teaching us how harding work and “owning it!” can lead to more sales. We were also treated to a presentation by Greg Majewski of Mosquito Joe of Southeast Michigan on Marketing with a Purpose. One of our favorite parts of the convention was our dinner and awards ceremony, where we relaxed over some good food and great company and recognized franchisees who stood out in 2014. We are happy to congratulate our winners:

The territory that generated the highest amount
Mo’Money Award ~ The territory that generated the highest amount of revenue in their second season. Congratulations to Kurt & Melissa Godwin of Mosquito Joe of Baltimore.

Smooth Operator Award the franchisee that recruited.
Smooth Operator Award ~ the franchisee that recruited the most new customers in a single territory. Congratulations to Hilaire Tolsma and Greg Majewski (pictured) of Mosquito Joe of Southeast Michigan.

Wingspan Award the franchisee with the highest dollar.
Wingspan Award ~ the franchisee with the highest dollar volume as an entity. Congratulations to Kurt & Melissa Godwin of Mosquito Joe of Baltimore and Mosquito Joe of Annapolis.

Best Buzz Award ~ the franchisee with the highest Net Promoter Score.
Best Buzz Award ~ the franchisee with the highest Net Promoter Score. Congratulations to Jeff & Melissa Holmes of Mosquito Joe of the Tri-State (KY-OH-WV) Area.

Most MoJo Award ~ the franchisee that showed the most passion.
Most MoJo Award ~ the franchisee that showed the most passion, positivity, and overall enthusiasm over the past year. Congratulations to Chris & Shelby Cookman of Mosquito Joe of Macon.

We say this all the time, but it is worth repeating – our franchisees are the reason this is such an amazing company. Thank you again to all of our franchisees who attended the convention and made it so special. Thanks to all the vendors that made the trip to put a face with the companies the franchisees work with every day, and a special thanks to all of our sponsors. Mosquito Joe has some exciting things in store for 2015, so be sure to stay tuned for more blog posts!

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Real Housewives and Vector Borne Disease?

I will admit I am a huge Real Housewives fan. I know, I know it isn’t exactly Emmy award winning stuff, but after a long day of juggling work, a toddler and an active duty military husband who is often away, sometimes it is oh so nice to get caught up in the (ridiculous) world of these ladies. It is completely mindless TV and certainly has never intersected with my job or blogging about mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Until now, that is.

This week on her blog the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Foster opened up about her struggle with Lyme disease and news articles started popping up all over my Twitter and Facebook feed. I was so shocked to read about the incredible journey she’s been on; first trying to get diagnosed and then her battle with this terrible disease all brought on by a tick bite. But more importantly than that, I was really inspired by her bringing this to light and sharing a personal story. Very little is known about Lyme disease and there is no vaccine or cure.

Lyme disease is transmitted by the deer tick and in 60-80 percent of cases, a rash resembling a bull’s eye appears and expands around or near the site of the bite. The early stage of Lyme disease can include symptoms such as chills and fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and/or joint pain. If Lyme disease is unrecognized or untreated in the early stage, more severe symptoms may occur. As the disease progresses, severe fatigue, a stiff aching neck, and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, or facial paralysis can occur. The most severe symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months or years after the tick bite. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints, and heart and central nervous system problems such as what Yolanda Foster describes in this interview.

Just last week I was blogging about the new tick borne virus out of Kansas and here I am talking about ticks again. It may seem like the problem is growing rapidly, but really it is our awareness that’s growing, thanks to people like Yolanda who talk about their health journey and advocate for vaccines and cures. It is also something to keep in mind because spring will be here before we know it. As I said just last week, if you’re someone who spends a great deal of time or works outdoors, it is important to keep yourself covered during prime tick season. If you have questions about tick control for your yard for the 2015 season,  just give us a call.

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