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Archive for the ‘Interesting News Articles & Publications’ Category

The first human case of West Nile Virus for the DC region this season, was reported by Maryland health officials this past Friday, August 10th, 2012. A Central Marylander adult has been infected and is the state’s first confirmed case of the disease for this year. West Nile Virus has also been detected in a pool of mosquitoes collected in Montgomery County.

“West Nile Virus continues to threaten the health of Maryland residents,” said DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. “These findings remind us that there are basic actions we can all take to reduce our risk of getting infected.”

This is the first reported case of West Nile Virus in the Washington DC metropolitan area. West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. In order to eliminate mosquitoes and reduce the risk of West Nile Virus infection, Mosquito Squad recommends the five following tips:

  1. Tip – Reduce standing water to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, including those underneath and around downspouts, in plant saucers and dog bowls.
  2. Toss – Excess grass, leaves, piles, fire wood.
  3. Turn – Turn over larger items like children’s sandboxes, wagons or plastic toys.
  4. Remove Tarp – If tarps stretched over firewood piles, boats or sports equipment aren’t taut, they’re holding water.
  5. Treat – Utilize a mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard, such as Mosquito Squad. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray.

Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington, DC, offers mosquito and tick control services for both residential and commercial clients inside the Beltway in the great DC region.  To find out more information about our barrier spray services and how you can “fight the bite” in your own backyard, please visit our website here.

 

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Unfortunately, experts are saying that 2012 will likely see a rise in Lyme Disease and other Tick-Borne infections.

The culprit? Yes the tick, but it actually goes back further in the ecosystem: the acorn. Due to an over-abundance of acorn crop in 2010, we witnessed a boom in the white-footed mice population, which are the key host for deer ticks. Since these mice stash the acorns for food during winter and begin breeding earlier in years when they are well-nourished, that surge combined with the two-year lifecycle of the deer ticks, has created the perfect storm for a summer that could be a “bumper crop of infected tick nymphs” looking to bite large mammals, humans included.

“Acorns and Mice Driving Unusual Lyme Disease Risks” by Maryn McKenna of Wired.com

…The prediction, which is based on earlier work by Ostfeld and colleagues (including these papers in 2006, 2005 and 2001) relies on the key role that white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) play in perpetuating Lyme disease. That species, he said, appears to be the most competent reservoir for Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial cause of Lyme. Mice sustain the infection without cost to themselves, are frequently bitten by tick larvae, and groom off or otherwise kill the larvae at lesser rates than other small mammals that are bitten — allowing the larvae to drop off naturally and complete their transformation into tick nymphs that transmit infection in their second year of life.

Mice also can survive in much smaller areas than the larger animals, chiefly deer, that are usually blamed for perpetuating Lyme, Ostfeld pointed out. In sampling of “forest fragments” sliced up by development in three northeastern states, his team has not found a parcel in which mice did not thrive. Larger parcels with more balanced ecosystems, with natural mouse predators and larger mammals, actually tend to have lower Lyme density, he said.

Because of the yearlong gaps between bumper crops of acorns, mice, and then ticks, the reliable but irregular masting phenomenon could be used as an early-warning signal for Lyme exposure risks, Ostfeld pointed out. Oak trees mast roughly every three to five years, “and when you are in a mast year, you always know it,” he said.

For more information on Lyme Disease and prevention, be sure to visit our website here.

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With the warm weather, in fact one of the warmest winters the US has experienced in many years, the bugs are expected to come out in full-force earlier this spring. Here in Washington DC, this winter is on track to being one of the top ten warmest winters ever recorded, and many insects are emerging from hibernation early. That means over the next few weeks we’ll see insects like stink bugs, beetles, ants, wasps and termites out instead of in late April, when pests typically appear.

In some places, the onslaught has already begun: “We’re seeing insects out there that we don’t usually see this time of year,” says Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association, who listed such annoyances as stink bugs and box elder bugs.

“Several states have even reported tick sightings, which is especially worrisome as people head outdoors to enjoy the weather and are unprepared for tick encounters,” she says.

Also, mosquitoes are expected to be in abundance this year due not only to a mild winter, but also tropical storms last year.

To find out more, be sure to read this USA Today article “Warm weather breeds early bug bonanza” by Doyle Rice from Feb. 22, 2012. And to battle the bug problem in your own backyard, be sure to contact Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington, DC to find out how you can “take back your backyard” and enjoy your outdoor living space.

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