How Mosquitoes and Ticks Spread Disease


Mosquitoes and ticks probably affect your camping and picnic plans during their most active seasons. These pests have also influenced world events and altered the course of human history by spreading deadly diseases to millions of humans. These diseases are spread by unique biological traits shared by mosquitoes and ticks.

What Is Vector-Borne Transmission?

Vector-borne diseases are those that are transmitted by an organism (the vector) from one animal to another. Certain species of arthropod insects, including mosquitoes and ticks, are common vectors. These insects have evolved to consume and process blood to survive. They can metabolize blood but not certain viruses that may be present in their host animals. This makes mosquitoes and ticks high-risk disease vectors.

Other sources of vector-borne transmission include certain parasites, bacteria, and other viruses.

Vector-Borne Transmission, Past, and Present

These diseases have played an outsized role in human history. Lice brought Napoleon to a halt in Russia and contributed to the spread of the Black Death. Today, mosquitoes cause the most destruction. In 2021, more than 627,000 people died of malaria, a disease spread primarily by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also spread dengue, a viral infection that results in fever. According to WHO, more than 3.9 billion people are at risk of contracting the disease.

Ticks are a threatening vector too. In the US, roughly 20,000 to 30,000 people contract Lyme disease per year. The disease is widespread across North America, and the tick population can be up to 50% infected with Lyme, depending on where you live.

Related Topic: Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?

How Are Mosquito-Borne Diseases Spread?

Mosquitoes spread disease by biting. Every annoying mosquito bite expels a small amount of mosquito saliva and exposes the victim to the viral load present in the mosquito from previous bites.

Disease spread is more likely in areas with higher mosquito populations. Environmental factors impact mosquito populations, which rely on warm, humid climates. Climate change has affected where mosquitoes live, with warming global temperatures expanding their territory and exposing more communities to the risk.

Today, the West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the US, followed by rising cases of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus.

How Do Ticks Spread Disease?

Like mosquitoes, ticks spread disease by injecting a small amount of saliva into their victims whenever they bite. Tick saliva includes a numbing chemical that can make it hard to feel their bite. Ticks can stay attached and feed for several days, which is why it’s important to inspect exposed skin and wear the right clothing when spending time in tick habitats.

So, how do ticks get Lyme disease in the first place? Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is common in woodland mammals like deer and mice and can be found in livestock as well. Ticks, like mosquitoes, aren’t the source of diseases, but they’re exceptionally dangerous vectors, due to their mobility and growing habitats.

Keeping Your Family Away from Mosquitoes and Ticks

By following basic precautions to prevent mosquito and tick bites, as well as having your property treated for biting insects, you can greatly reduce the risk of contracting insect-borne diseases. Trust Mosquito Joe to bring your family additional peace of mind before your next backyard barbecue. Call 1-855-275-2563 or request a quote today!

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How to Get Rid of Allergens and Pests in Your Home



If you suffer from allergies, you are probably aware of the most common allergens circulating inside your home. Well, there are countless other allergens in and around your home that could be causing or worsening your allergies. Common allergens like dust, mold, pollen, dirt, pet dander, pests, stinging insects, mildew, and bacteria can be found almost anywhere in your home. But did you know that seemingly harmless fixtures, features, and habits could also be contributing to the buildup of allergens in your home, making your allergies that much worse?

Although it may take some time and effort on your part, you can reduce the presence of allergens and pests in your home and yard. With some additional effort, you can even minimize the chances of them returning once you’ve gotten rid of them. Here’s are some ways you can start creating an allergy-free home:

Clean Weekly

Regularly cleaning your home is, perhaps, the easiest way to get rid of allergens and pests. If there is mold, bacteria, mildew, pests, dirt, and debris in your house, cleaning your home will ensure they don’t stick around for long. To keep your home free of allergens, try to do the following tasks each week:

  • Wiping down surfaces, including cabinets and counters.
  • Dusting, including ceiling fans, blinds, and furniture.
  • Vacuuming and sweeping.
  • Mopping.
  • Washing your bedding.
  • Doing your laundry.
  • Cleaning bathroom fixtures, including the toilet and sinks.
  • Cleaning frequently used kitchen appliances, such as your stovetop.

Depending on your home and lifestyle, you may need to take care of some of these chores more frequently, and others less. You may also need to add other chores to your list.

Additionally, do your best to stay on top of daily chores, like doing the dishes or spot cleaning, to make your weekly “deep cleans” that much easier.

Don’t neglect chores that need to be done less frequently, such as cleaning your carpets or taking care of your yard. They may not need to be done often, but they do need to be taken care of regularly if you want to get rid of any allergens that have accumulated in your home.

Address Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) can have significant effects on your health, including your allergies. Poor IAQ contains common allergens — such as pet dander, dust, mold, pollen, dust mites, and bacteria — that can exacerbate your allergy symptoms.

Not only is removing allergens from your home a major component of ensuring you have high-quality air, but it can also go a long way in relieving your allergies.

Replace HVAC Filters

Before anything else, replace the filters in your HVAC system. The filters catch allergens and other particles, preventing them from recirculating back into your home. Over time, those particles build up and make it more difficult to filter out allergens.

Though it depends on the type of filter you have in your home, it’s best to change them once every month to month-and-a-half if you have allergies. With frequent filter changes, your HVAC system can work as efficiently as possible and help lessen your allergy symptoms.

In addition, consider having your HVAC system and air ducts cleaned periodically. Particles and debris can build up in the rest of the system, making it work less efficiently overall. Cleaning your system and ducts will remove those allergens and prevent them from reentering your home.

Install a Whole-House Filtration System

A whole-house filtration system works in conjunction with your HVAC system to filter your home’s air. Before entering your HVAC system, air first goes through the whole-house filter. Air is then filtered for a second time through your HVAC system.

Whole-house filters are usually outfitted with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. HEPA filters are rated to remove at least 99.97% of particles from the air. The air that goes through your HVAC system will already be fairly clean, and your second filter can catch any straggling particles left in the air.

Try a Dehumidifier

As the name suggests, a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, offering you more control over the humidity in your home. If your home has high humidity, it may be the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Certain pests, like earwigs and cockroaches, thrive in humid conditions.

Dehumidifiers bring in and cool down warm air. The air contracts as it cools, leaving behind condensation. The condensation drips into a collection tank, allowing the cool, dry air to re-circulate through your home. In addition to making a less hospitable environment for allergens, dry and cool air is also more comfortable to breathe.

As far as dehumidifiers go, you have two options: a portable dehumidifier or a whole-house dehumidifier. If only one room in your home is a problem (such as your bathroom), a portable dehumidifier may be enough. If your entire home is humid or you live in a humid area, a whole-house dehumidifier is a better choice.

Ventilate the Bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in your home for allergens and poor air quality. They’re warm and full of moisture — in other words, a paradise for mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Proper ventilation is key to keeping the air clean in your bathroom. A dehumidifier (even a portable one) can do wonders for your bathroom. You should also install a reliable exhaust fan if you don’t already have one. An exhaust fan will expel air from your bathroom, making way for fresh air to come in.

It’s especially important to ventilate the bathroom when you’re doing anything to increase the humidity or temperature of the room, such as taking a shower or bath. Simply opening a window or leaving the door open significantly improves both ventilation and your IAQ.

Keep Pests and Allergens from Coming Inside

In addition to removing allergens from your home, you can take steps to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Many allergens, pests, and air pollutants originate outdoors, and if you don’t protect your home, it’s all too easy for them to make their way inside.

Deter Bugs

If you haven’t taken steps to clean up your yard, you may be inadvertently attracting bugs to your home. Not only does this increase the chance of allergies, but it can also have more serious health consequences. Certain pests carry dangerous diseases that can have lasting health impacts.

  • Many common outdoor features can attract bugs:
  • Standing water, such as a pond or birdbath, can attract mosquitos.
  • Trash, dirty grills and other food odors can attract flies and ants.
  • Piles of wood can attract termites.
  • Overgrown or untended areas of your yard can attract ticks and fleas.
  • Outdoor lighting can attract many different pests, including moths, stink bugs, and earwigs.
  • Plants in your garden can also attract a variety of pests (and give off allergy-inducing pollen).

Luckily, there are several changes you can make to discourage pests from visiting your yard:

  • Keep your yard, garden, and patio clean.
  • Use lighting that deters bugs, such as yellow or orange light.
  • Encourage pest predators to come to your yard, including birds and bats.
  • Plant pest-repellent plants and herbs in your garden.
  • Use essential oils to deter certain pests, including mosquitos and ticks.
  • Place bug traps around your yard.
  • Use a patio fan to keep air moving in areas where you relax in your yard.
  • Mow your lawn.
  • Install a fire feature, such as a fire pit or tiki torches.
  • Create a dry mulch barrier in your yard.

You won’t be able to keep your yard entirely free of pests and insects, but you can reduce their presence in your yard by making it less hospitable to them.

Apply Pest Treatment

Even with the above changes, it’s far more difficult to control the allergens in your yard than the ones in your home — especially pests. Not only are there different types of pests that come from different sources, but they can be difficult to spot in your yard. It’s far easier to prevent these pests from taking over your yard than it is to exterminate them after they’ve built a nest.

A pest control treatment is one of the only ways to keep allergy-inducing pests away from your home. The type of treatment you need depends on what pests are responsible for your allergies. For instance, if you have allergic reactions to mosquito bites or insect stings, it’s best to look into a mosquito and stinging insect treatments. You should also consider which pests are most common in your area.

Be Mindful of Pets

Your pets can also bring allergens into your home if they go in and out of your house. After spending time outside, your pet could easily carry in pests (such as fleas and ticks), as well as pollen, dirt, and dust. In addition to being bad for your allergies, this can be equally harmful to your pet’s health.

  • Doing the following can help protect both you and your pet’s health:
  • Inspect your pet for pests when they come inside after being outdoors.
  • Brush your pet to remove any debris from their fur before they come inside.
  • Wash your pet’s bedding regularly.
  • Put your pet’s food away when they aren’t eating.
  • Give your pet any preventative and pest-deterring medicine as prescribed by your vet.
  • Avoid letting your pet outdoors at dawn and dusk, when pests and bugs are most active.
  • Bathe and groom your pet thoroughly and regularly.

Again, there’s no way to keep your home and yard entirely free of potential allergens and pests. However, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to keeping your house allergy-free, so you can find relief from your symptoms and live comfortably in your own home.

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What Diseases Do Mosquitoes Carry

Is there anything worse than the red, swollen, itchy welt left behind by mosquitoes? It turns out, there is. Those bites can be made worse because mosquitoes can transmit a variety of diseases. Some of them you’ve heard of before, but others aren’t as well-known. So, what diseases do mosquitoes carry? Keep reading to find out.

The Mosquito Bite Transmission Process

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, you should learn how mosquito-borne diseases are transmitted. Mosquitoes have long, skinny mouths. The tip is pointy and sharp, and the mosquito uses it to pierce your flesh. After breaking the skin, the mosquito sucks your blood. They’re literally the vampires of the insect world.

However, mosquitoes can only digest fresh, liquid blood. Their saliva produces an anticoagulant to keep its victim’s blood from clotting. Yes, it’s like something out of a science fiction movie! Unfortunately, the saliva can also contain bacteria, parasites, or viruses. And if an infected mosquito bites you, it may transmit the disease into your bloodstream.

Mosquito Diseases Everyone Should Know About

Although most mosquito bites produce an itchy histamine reaction, some also cause serious illness. Symptoms can appear a few days or even weeks after infection. Here are some mosquito diseases to keep on your radar:

  • West Nile Virus

Perhaps the most famous mosquito virus, West Nile causes a range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. If you’re lucky, you won’t experience any symptoms. However, some people end up with constant vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, and fever. And in the worst cases, patients end up with meningitis or brain infections.

  • Zika Virus

Zika virus is mild in most cases, but it can be devastating for pregnant women. The virus may cause serious birth defects, such as a small head or brain damage. Pregnant women should avoid mosquito bites in regions where Zika is present for this very reason.

  • Malaria

Malaria is a widespread disease in many parts of the world. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not caused by a virus, but rather a parasite. Malaria can cause a high fever, headache, and vomiting. Luckily, there are anti-malaria drugs available.

  • Dengue

The dengue fever causes a range of strange and frightening symptoms, like easy bruising, bleeding gums, and rashes. Some people may get a deadly hemorrhagic fever.

  • Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya is common in Africa, India, and Asia. However, infected mosquitoes have migrated to other regions in recent years. Those infected often experience swollen joints, muscle pain, and rash. Although it’s not usually deadly, you may have noticeable symptoms for several months.

  • La Crosse Encephalitis

Luckily, La Crosse Encephalitis is very rare. Only about 65 cases occur each year in the United States. Although you’ll most likely only experience fever or nausea, the virus can damage the nervous system.

  • Yellow Fever

Mosquitoes in Africa or Latin America often transmit yellow fever. The disease causes jaundice, which can make your skin look yellow, hence its name. Be sure to get the vaccine before traveling to high-risk countries.

  • Rift Valley Fever

Mosquitoes can transmit rift valley fever, which can infect both humans and animals. It’s most common in Africa. Symptoms include weakness, dizziness, and vision impairment.

  • Jamestown Canyon Virus

You may never know if you catch the Jamestown Canyon virus. That’s because the symptoms are the same as the common flu. But it can also affect the brain and spinal column. Although this virus can be spread throughout the United States and primarily in the upper midwest, this mosquito-borne disease is rare.

  • Snowshoe Hare Virus

If a mosquito bite causes dizziness, headaches, vomiting, or a rash, you may have snowshoe hare virus. It can also lead to serious problems, including inflammation of the brain. This virus is most common in Canada, Alaska, and eastern Asia.

Whew! That’s a long list of diseases. There’s good news, however. Many of these illnesses only affect other countries. So, what diseases do mosquitoes carry in the United States? West Nile is the most common, but there were only 958 reported cases in 2019. Zika, chikungunya, and dengue are also present. And although rare, Jamestown Canyon virus is only found in the United States.

Avoid Getting Sick in the First Place

What causes mosquito-borne diseases? Mosquito bites. If you don’t want to get sick, you need to prevent bites before they happen. These insects like to hide in tall grass, weeds, and wooded areas. They also like stagnant water. When heading outdoors, try to cover as much skin as possible. Although mosquitoes can bite through fabrics, they’re more likely to move along to find another victim.

Mosquitoes don’t like certain smells. Spraying your clothing with DEET is one way to repel these pests. However, never use it around young children. Citronella, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils also keep mosquitoes away. Even crushed up garlic will stop the appetite of a hungry mosquito.

The best way to get rid of mosquitoes for good is with regular property treatments. If you see too many mosquitoes flying around your yard, Mosquito Joe can help. We offer barrier spray mosquito treatments that last for weeks. Visit us online or call 1-855-275-2563 to keep your family protected from mosquito diseases.

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Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?

While insect bites are bad enough to deal with already, a single bite from a deer tick (also known as blacklegged ticks) can transmit Lyme disease. Any single of these blood-sucking insects can potentially carry and transmit the bacterium that causes this horrible illness. But do all ticks carry Lyme? No. Do all blacklegged/deer ticks carry Lyme? No.

Continue reading to find out when you should worry about a tick bite and when you can relax.

Do All Tick Bites Carry Lyme Disease?

Before you vow never to venture outdoors again, you need to know which ticks carry Lyme disease. Even though there are hundreds of tick species, only the blacklegged variety (deer tick) transmits the disease. These insects are always searching for a host. And both humans and animals—especially white-tailed deer and chipmunks—make for a tasty meal.

Blacklegged ticks have flat, ovular bodies. They are orange-brown in color and only reach about 1/8” in length. Their color and size, however, change throughout different points of the tick life cycle.

Understanding the Basics of Lyme Disease

A dangerous bacterium scientifically dubbed Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease in humans. You can only get this disease from ticks, and luckily, there’s no evidence that Lyme disease is contagious between humans.

This illness causes a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Infected persons often experience fever, aches, fatigue, and headaches. Problems with the heart, joints, and nervous systems are also common. In very rare cases, an infected person may die. Treatment is a 10-to-21-day course of antibiotics that is most effective when taken as soon as possible. But even after taking antibiotics, some patients continue to experience lifelong symptoms.

A bullseye-shaped rash may appear around the bite site after someone has been infected with Lyme disease. If you see this telltale sign, visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Where Do Lyme-Carrying Ticks Live?

Blacklegged ticks can be found throughout the eastern United States, but Lyme diseases is most prevalent in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia, New Hampshire, Delaware and Maine.

Ticks like to live in wooded areas, grassy environments, and, unfortunately, your yard. These insects thrive throughout the United States. The ticks that carry Lyme disease are the most active from April through September. However, a tick can bite you any time of the year, and even a deep freeze won’t eliminate them.

Risk of Contracting Lyme After a Bite

So, do all deer ticks carry Lyme disease? No, just because a tick can carry the disease doesn’t mean it does. A bite from a deer tick doesn’t always turn into a case of Lyme, but if you pull one off your body, it’s best to monitor the site for any reaction and yourself for Lyme symptoms. Symptoms can appear a few days or even several weeks after a bite. Early antibiotic treatment is vital for a fast recovery from Lyme disease, so see a doctor at the first indication of Lyme.

Here are risk factors for Lyme disease:

  • Having a tick attached to your skin for more than 36 hours
  • Exposing a lot of skin while outdoors
  • Working an outdoor job
  • Living in a heavily wooded area

While not all species carry Lyme, many other varieties do sometimes carry other diseases. After removing any tick from your body, make sure to be on the lookout for any signs of sickness. Again, not every tick will transmit disease, but any tick bite has the potential.

Preventing Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid their habitat. When you do wander outdoors, cover as much skin as possible. You should also keep your lawn manicured and remove any excess brush and fallen tree limbs.

Mosquito Joe can also put your mind at ease. Our barrier control service will prevent all types of ticks from ruining your picnic. Ticks don’t stand a chance against our team! Get in touch with us online or call 1-855-275-2563 to schedule your tick control treatment.

Is your overgrown backyard looking like a haven for ticks? The Grounds Guys, another brand in the Neighborly® family, can provide the professional landscaping and lawn care services you need.

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How Is West Nile Virus Spread?

What You Need to Know About West Nile Virus Transmission

Is West Nile virus contagious? How is this mosquito-borne disease spread? With mosquito season in full swing, you may be thinking about the risk of West Nile virus and what you can do to keep your family protected. If you are concerned about West Nile virus transmission from person to person, you will be relieved to know that the World Health Organization (WHO) reports no known human-to-human transmissions of the virus through casual contact.

Still concerned? The experts at Mosquito Joe dig a little deeper into the facts about West Nile virus transmission and the steps you can take for virus prevention.

West Nile Virus Transmission Facts

Birds are the natural hosts of West Nile virus, and the virus proliferates in nature through a lifecycle that involves transmission between birds and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes pick up the virus when they feed on an infected bird and the virus is stored in the mosquito’s salivary glands. Infected mosquitoes can then pass the virus to mammals, including humans, when they bite, injecting the host with the virus.

People most at risk for contracting West Nile are those who work outside or participate in outdoor activities. . anyone who lives in an area where West Nile virus has been identified in mosquitoes is at risk.

West Nile Virus Symptoms

According to WHO, 80% of people who become infected with the virus do not experience symptoms. However, in the worst cases, it can lead to a fatal neurological disease. Approximately 20% of infected people develop West Nile fever, which can include the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Body Aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Symptoms typically begin to show two to six days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, although it can take up to two weeks. Most people who develop symptoms will make a complete recovery, but residual fatigue and weakness can last several weeks following the infection.

West Nile Virus Prevention

Because there are no medications or vaccines to treat West Nile virus, protecting against mosquito bites is the best plan for prevention.

Here are tips for limiting unwanted encounters with mosquitoes when you or your family members are outside:

  • Apply insect repellent anytime you plan to go outside. Repellent products containing DEET and picaridin are effective and provide longer-lasting protection from bites. Insect repellents containing coconut oil compounds are effective botanical alternatives.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants.
  • Avoid going outside during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most prevalent.
  • Decrease the number of mosquitoes around your property by emptying standing water from containers and ensuring the yard does not have piles of leaves or debris.
  • Consider the professional application of yard treatments specifically designed to keep mosquitoes and other pests off your property.

Achieve an Itch-Free Yard with Mosquito Joe

A highly effective way to protect your yard from mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus is to have outdoor pest control experts like Mosquito Joe apply recurring barrier treatments to your property. Regular treatments will eliminate mosquitoes and other pests like ticks and fleas for up to three weeks at a time. Your local Mosquito Joe team has the tools and solutions to make your outdoor space fun again so you and your family can enjoy bite-free time in your yard this year.

Let our professionals perform the customized mosquito control services to fit your property’s needs. Give us a call at 1-855-275-2563 for more information or request a free quote online now.


Worried about other viruses that might make their way into your life? Consider these tips from Molly Maid for how to stop spreading germs at work. Molly Maid is a fellow member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.

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