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Malaria Resistant Mosquitoes: Can It Work?

Scientists at Johns Hopkins are hoping so. Malaria is an awful disease. It kills about a half a million people a year, mostly children. While most cases are in African regions, the CDC reports approximately 1,700 cases exist in the United States every year.

Malaria Research Continues with Malaria Resistant Mosquitoes

Strange ideas have been thought of before, like apps that track mosquitoes listening to their buzz or killer mosquitoes that hunt down infected ones. And while they may not have worked, the scientist community presses on.

This leads us to the latest idea: mosquito resistant mosquitoes. They are genetically engineering mosquitoes by removing the gene that helps malaria survive within the mosquito.

Researchers have been able to demonstrate that with the removal of this gene, the parasite that causes malaria could not survive within the mosquito long enough to cause harm to humans. Unfortunately, at this point, the modified mosquitoes appear to feed less, lay fewer eggs, and develop more slowly than their counterparts. So at this point they are not likely to take over the species.

But the work is not over. “A major problem with malaria control is that it is a disease of the poor developing world and requires active compliance and participation by the endemic population,” says George Dimopoulos, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The efforts to change the mosquitoes – instead of trying to conquer the disease by efforts of the people where resources are scarce, could be the solution the world is looking for.

At Mosquito Squad of South Shore, we hope that children will soon be able to live a life free of the fear of malaria. We believe that with each crazy idea we become a step closer. We also believe it’s important to stop the growth of the mosquito population here at home. Our barrier treatment will do just that by eliminating 85-90% of the mosquitoes in your yard. Call us today to schedule your first mosquito spray and your first step towards a life free of mosquitoes.

Traveling to Brazil? Be Sure You Get Vaccinated

Vacation season is upon us. Are you aware of the vaccinations required and risks from mosquito-borne diseases where you are going?

Since the beginning of 2017, Yellow Fever has killed 237 people in Brazil. It seems that the sudden outbreak has traveled to areas that do not normally see Yellow fever. It’s affecting the edges of Sao Paulo, Rio, and Ilha Grande, all popular tourist spots.

Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the C.D.C., says that “This is not the time to go into an outbreak area unprotected.” Dr. Edward Ryan, director of Global Infectious Disease at Mass General does not know why the mosquitoes that carry yellow fever have moved from their usual spot up in the forest canopy down to these unexpected locations. This move, however, now creates concern that these mosquitoes could infect the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito. This mosquito already carries Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. They live close to the ground and feed on humans during the day – thriving in urban areas. If they become infected they create an even greater risk for humans.

There is no cure for yellow fever only treatment of the symptoms and it kills 20-50% of those infected. Initial symptoms include fever, chills, headache, backache and muscle aches and the fever can go on to damage the liver and create thinning of the blood. Vaccination is the best protection against Yellow Fever. It must be administered at least 10 days before you travel.

Unfortunately, at the moment there is a shortage of the vaccine in the United States. The company that produces it, Sanofi Pasteur, is working to upgrade their facilities for higher production. Also, a limited supply of a similar vaccine is being imported from Europe, however at this point, if you plan to travel to Brazil you will need to plan ahead. Safety precautions against the transmission of the disease are really a must at this time. Drs. Cetron and Ryan are optimistic that the fever will die down with the changing of the seasons, but they still say that vigilance is protection is a must.

Mosquito Squad of the South Shore urges you to continue to monitor these conditions through the CDC and follow all its advisements when traveling to countries known to carry disease. Your protection and health are important to us. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to give us a call. (508) 536-4855

Massachusetts Archery Season for Deer Hunters May Be Expanding

The Patriot Ledger recently reported that state wildlife officials are considering adding two weeks to the beginning of archery season for hunting deer next year. What’s the purpose of this you might wonder? Well according to Mass.gov there is a definite overpopulation of whitetail deer in part of the state. While in some parts of Massachusetts there are 10-15 deer per square mile, in others there can be up to 80. The overpopulation is mostly caused by a lack of what used to be deer predators. Cougars, mountain lions, and wolves just don’t exist in areas where humans have taken over their habitat. And yet the deer actually thrive just at the edge of civilization. In suburban areas where there is likely less firearm hunting, whitetail deer love to feed on the vegetation right in our own backyards.

Why is deer overpopulation a problem?

There are several problems actually. First, the habitat simply can’t support too many deer. If 10-15 is ideal than 8 times as many throws off the balance for the sake of other animals as well as vegetation. They destroy lawns and landscaping which creates a financial burden on individuals and they cause accidents on our roadways. In deer vs. car accidents usually, everyone loses.

Secondly, the biggest problem is the rising instances of Lyme disease in the North East reaching epidemic levels. Lyme disease can devastate someone’s life and is a huge burden on the healthcare system. Lyme is transmitted by the ticks that live on these deer and it only stands to reason that more deer means more deer ticks.

Lengthening Bow Season

State officials have been holding hearings to discuss the additional hunting days throughout the beginning of March. At the moment they are only considering wildlife management zones 10-14, as they consider zones 1-9 to have manageable deer populations. Scientific research seems to support the idea that a reduction in the amount of deer will lead to a reduction in the amount of tick and tick-borne illness. The longer hunting season could be a cost-free solution for the state. Also since deer meat is an excellent food source, possibly healthier than red meat, there is value in the renewable resource.

At this point the extension does not appear to affect us at the South Shore, however on Middleborough.com, based on their published agenda, it does appear that this was discussed at the last meeting of the Board of Selectmen. This appears to be an idea in progress and at Mosquito Squad of the South Shore we are following it for you. All steps taken that may have a positive effect on the eradication of Lyme disease is important to us because the health of our families is important to us.

UPDATE 3/22/18: At Monday night’s Middleboro Board of Selectman meeting, the extension of archery season for deer-hunting was unanimously approved, so it will begin two-weeks earlier than in previous years – lasting 8 weeks total.

We consider South Shore residents to be a part of our family. That’s why we are here to help on the homefront. Call us today and let’s discuss how we can protect you from ticks and mosquitoes at home with our barrier treatment and tick tube systems. We have the plan that will work best for your family. (508) 536-4855

Fairhaven Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus: What You Need to Know

The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services begins testing mosquitoes in July for West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, another mosquito-borne disease, to alert the public when the diseases are in their area. You can view up-to-date mosquito testing results at mosquitoresults.com.

West Nile Virus Mosquitoes

A mosquito tested positive for West Nile virus in Fairhaven on July 6th and since that story broke another tested positive in Abington. What does a positive West Nile Virus mosquito mean for you?

West Nile Virus is a disease that is spread to humans and birds by the bite of an infected mosquito. While most people never experience a symptom, it can be dangerous and even deadly. While it doesn’t get a ton of news coverage, West Nile Virus remains an annual threat through most of the United States. Read more about the symptoms of West Nile Virus to determine if you may have transmitted the disease.

West Nile Virus Arrives Early

West Nile Virus is typically found in mosquitoes before human cases pop up. The MDPH mosquito testing allows local and state municipalities to get involved with mosquito control should numbers become unusually high. South Coast Today reports that Fairhaven does treat catch basins with mosquito larvicide and offers help for homeowners who need it. Usually, it is the end of July or early August before West Nile Virus arrives on the scene, but the Fairhaven mosquito tested positive during the first week of July, meaning it is a bit early this year. Early positive results, typically mean it will be a longer West Nile virus season.

What do you need to do?

Keep an eye on mosquitoresults.com for up-to-date testing information in your area. If you are near any areas where positive WNV test results occur, take extra precautions when going outdoors. Use repellent, cover your skin, and be aware of the symptoms of West Nile Virus.

For care-free outdoor living at home, alert the Mosquito Squad of Fall River and the South Shore. We’ll be happy to help you enjoy the rest of the season with 85-90% fewer mosquitoes on your property. Call today. 508-536-4855

Review the CDC’s West Nile Virus page for even more information.

A Smartphone App for Global (and Local) Mosquito Control Efforts…Is There Nothing a Phone Can’t Do?

With a ridiculously wet spring, the Southeastern Massachusetts mosquito problem is out of control. Making it a perfect year to find out there is a smartphone application for mosquito control! Well, the app won’t rid you of mosquitoes, but it is intended to help with local mosquito control as well as global mosquito control efforts by collecting data and helping you identify mosquito breeds and their habitats.

Mosquito Habitat Mapper

The Mosquito Mapper App was created by NASA to give users the ability to identify mosquito types and their breeding sites. It also helps the user eliminate the breeding sites.

NASA satellites cannot detect mosquitoes, but they can monitor environmental changes that assist mosquito population growth. With the data entered by app users, they can research environmental conditions that cause mosquito outbreaks. The information gleaned can help early preparation for potential mosquito-borne disease outbreaks and provide knowledge for other research to battle mosquito-borne diseases.

How Does it Work?

Download the app and follow the prompts to observe the environment around you. You will be asked to observe, take pictures, and even count mosquito larvae found in breeding sites. You can also note when breeding sites have been eliminated, i.e., you dumped out a bucket of standing water.

Becoming a contributor to the worldwide battle against deadly mosquito-borne diseases is a great opportunity to help. Imagine if NASA can collect enough knowledge, discover patterns, and be able to prevent mosquito outbreaks and mosquito-borne pandemics? You’re using your phone all the time anyway, might as well put it to use. Take your kids outside, have them help you observe, we can all play a role in Southeastern Massachusetts mosquito control.

Lower the mosquitoes in your yard by up to 90% with our mosquito control barrier treatment, call Mosquito Squad of the South Shore today! 508-536-4855

Did Tick-Borne Powassan Recently Kill Two Barnstable Men?

Early reports this spring indicated that the rare but often deadly tick-born Powassan virus could be on the rise this year. We recently shared with you the harrowing story of a Cape Cod man who nearly succumbed to Powassan in 2014. With only five cases of Powassan reported statewide last year, it seemed alarming to hear of two Cape Cod men dying from the disease this year.

No Positive Test Results for Powassan in Barnstable County

The report of Powassan fatalities this year in Barnstable was false. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that multiple people with central nervous system disease have been tested for Powassan, “At this time there have been no positive laboratory results, and therefore no confirmed or probable cases of Powassan reported in 2017 in Massachusetts.” While the news of a Falmouth and a Sandwich man dying from Powassan this year turned out to be false, we urge you not to let your guard down. While Powassan is rare, it does carry with it a 10-15% mortality rate, and there is no treatment or cure.

Tick Tests Positive for Powassan

We continue to urge you to get your ticks tested at tickreport.com. The cost for Barnstable County residents will only be $15 once you enter your zip code. As of June 20th, 2017 tickreport.com reports one tick in the state of Massachusetts has tested positive for Powassan virus this year.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Powassan?

Falmouth Mass Tick ControlWhen you are out hiking, camping, and enjoying the gorgeous Massachusetts outdoors, follow tick safety procedures before you go, and upon your return. For at home protection, call Mosquito Squad of the South Shore to eliminate up to 90% of ticks from your yard. With our most popular tick control package, including tick treatment and tick tubes, we can eliminate this year’s adult ticks and interrupt the growth of the tick population to lower next year’s tick numbers. The fewer ticks, the lower the risk for tick disease. Call today for a free estimate (508) 536-4855

Rain, Rain Go Away – You’re Making the Mosquitoes Come Out and Bite!

Despite its obvious benefits to our crops and lawns, rain can be a pain. From Plymouth to Sagamore and Mattapoisett we’ve had record rainfall since April, with no end in sight. As most of us have experienced lately, it ruins weekend plans for backyard barbecues, trips to the shore and cancels t-ball games. But, did you know that rain can have a lasting residual effect on our ability to enjoy the great outdoors in Southeastern Massachusetts?

Rain is the primary cause of the standing water that allows mosquitoes to breed and multiply quickly. While we have many marshlands and cranberry bogs in the area that feed the mosquito population, the standing water in our yards is usually a bigger source for their growth. Without wildlife such as frogs and fish in your child’s rain-filled sand bucket, a great deal more mosquito larvae and pupae make it to adulthood.

It is imperative, especially after days and weeks of frequent rain to keep vigilant in following the T’s of mosquito control.

Don’t forget these most often over-looked standing water sources during your post-rain yard check:

  • Clogged gutters
  • Corrugated downspouts
  • Tires
  • Tarps
  • Pool covers and unopened pools
  • Leaf litter under decks and porches

Please take the time to check your yard after the rain. Dump and clear any standing water. Tell your neighbors, tell your friends and get your family involved to help us all enjoy our yards with fewer annoying and dangerous mosquitoes.

At Mosquito Squad of the South Shore, we are happy to be your best choice for mosquito control treatment with our most popular barrier spray eliminating 80-90% of mosquitoes on your property. Call today 508-536-4855

And don’t forget to refer your friends!

Father's Day, Graduations, and Mosquitoes, Oh My!

As Memorial Day is upon us, we can’t help but begin thinking about the next occasion to celebrate. With Southeastern Massachusetts summers being shorter than we’d like them to be, any reason to get everyone to come over and get outside is a good one! When you’re out in the backyard this Memorial Day weekend, pay attention to your battle with mosquitoes and ticks. Was it non-existent? Was it a slight annoyance? Or did the mosquitoes drive you into the house? Did you find a tick on the dog or the kids later?

How To Control Mosquitoes for a Backyard Party

Mosquito Squad of the South Shore has a mosquito and tick solution for your next backyard party. Our special event treatment eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes and adult ticks for the duration of your party. Our specially trained technicians will cover every bit of your party space, paying close attention to areas where mosquitoes and ticks spend the most time. We even cover the entire lawn, to keep ticks and mosquitoes far away from your most enjoyed outdoor spaces.

Father’s Day is only a few weeks out, are you prepared to make sure the backyard grilling, yard games, and other activities are enjoyed without the annoyance or danger of mosquitoes and ticks? Your Dad would love to know you, he and the entire family have a lower risk for tick bites and mosquito bites while celebrating. Call us now to schedule your Father’s Day event treatment. 508-536-4855

Mosquito Control for Every Outdoor Occasion

Don’t forget; we treat for any summer backyard or outdoor party venue event. From weddings to graduation parties, to birthday parties and right up to back-to-school parties, we can keep your entire summer’s worth of events enjoyable. When you call to schedule for Father’s Day, schedule your entire season of parties all at once, and we’ll make sure you’re covered.

And if you spend every weekend outdoors all summer long with weekend yard games, barbecues, swimming, horseback riding and exploring the woods, sign up for the season. We offer our mosquito and tick barrier treatment for the full season, automatically spraying every 2-3 weeks to keep your property mosquito-free all summer. If you’re a seasonal member, you can simply inform our team of your summer’s special events, and we’ll arrange your schedule to ensure peak effectiveness is reached for your event. 508-536-4855

Did a Tick Bite You? Get Your Plymouth Tick Tested, Each Time & Every Time

No matter how many times it happens, no one gets used to or appreciates the moment when they have to safely remove a tick from themselves, their child, or their pet. A necessary part of living in Massachusetts, a beautiful state that happens to be enjoyed by a large population of deer and deer ticks as well. While you may love the moment when you get to destroy the little bugger, you may want to reconsider your deer tick disposal methods.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Laboratory of Medical Zoology will test your tick for common pathogens associated with the species. We often suggest saving the tick in a baggy with the date on it, and in the case you become ill, you can send it in and learn within 3 days of the lab receiving it, if your illness could be related to a tick bite.

Every Plymouth Deer Tick Should Be Tested for Tick-Borne Disease

However, we have reconsidered our stance. With the newly available public tick-borne disease data provided by UMass, we can learn our local risk level based on the results of ticks sent in for testing. Testing your tick provides more data for everyone in our area, the more ticks tested, the more accurate the results are when measuring risk for tick-borne diseases.

For instance:

Since testing began in 2006, 77 ticks from Plymouth zip codes have been tested for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (the group of bacteria that cause Lyme disease). 22 of the 77 deer ticks tested positive. It would be a stretch to say that if a tick bites you in Plymouth, Mass you have a 28.57% chance of getting Lyme, as the data pool is too small to be very accurate. Imagine if every tick found was tested. We’d have a much truer sense of our local risk for Lyme disease.

When we check the results in other South Shore cities, we see a large spectrum of results and number of ticks tested:

  • Middleborough: 8 ticks tested, 2 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato to, 25% positive.
  • Taunton: 10 ticks tested, 0 positive for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 0% positive.
  • Wareham: 7 ticks tested, 2 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 28.57% positive.
  • Mattapoisett: 13 ticks tested, 2 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 15.38% positive.
  • Rochester: 37 ticks tested, 8 positives for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 21.62% positive.

We urge all of the South Shore to send every tick you find into tickreport.com for testing. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows us through their surveillance of Lyme disease cases that Plymouth County is number two on the list for Massachusetts counties with the most confirmed cases of Lyme in 2014. With help from you and UMass Amherst tick testing, we can learn local risks down to the zip code for Lyme as well as rare tick-borne diseases such as Powassan, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

Regardless of your exact risk, it is clear that Lyme disease remains at epidemic levels in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Avoiding tick bites is the number one way to prevent Lyme disease. Lower your risks at home with tick control treatment from Mosquito Squad of the South Shore. With 85-90% reduction in ticks on your property, you can enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle without worry. Call today for a free quote. (508) 536-4855

Family Planning for Deer? How Complex is Finding the Solution for Lyme Disease Control?

Controlling Lyme disease is a complex problem with no easy solution. There are many available options, all with plenty of support and opposition, but there is no unanimous and obvious choice. From controlling deer populations to controlling mouse populations, researchers are busy trying to find the right solution for every area affected. With exploding deer populations in suburban areas, relaxing of hunting regulations are not effective for some of the most hard-hit Lyme infected Massachusetts towns where hunting is not possible.

Increased Deer Hunting

There is a great deal of conflict in the idea of controlling Lyme disease by eliminating large portions of the deer population through increased deer hunting. According to Miles O’Brien in the PBS story, “deer were hunted nearly to extinction a century ago…” but with legal protections and “regulated harvests,” the deer population nationwide has increased dramatically. He cites there are more than 30 million deer in the United States.

The overpopulation has created a situation where deer are thriving in suburban areas looking for food and coming right up to homes. O’Brien says that 10 deer per square mile is a density of deer that could help reduce Lyme disease rates, but places like the Blue Hills Reservation outside of Boston in Milton, Massachusetts has approximately 85 deer per square mile. With such a large number of hosts for ticks, the area is suffering from a Lyme disease epidemic.

Many people are avidly against hunting the deer and are eager for a better solution.

Decrease Mouse Populations

White-footed mice are the reservoir host for ticks, responsible for infecting the ticks with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Targeting mice could essentially limit the spread of Lyme dramatically, but the practicality of that method has been called into question by experts working on the solution. At Mosquito Squad of the South Shore, we use these white-footed mice to target the ticks themselves. Providing treated nesting materials in tick tubes, the mice build their dens with it which eliminates the ticks that are living with and feeding on the mice.

Deer Birth Control?

Yes, we are serious. The National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, are trying birth control for deer. They tranquilize the deer and then surgically sterilize them. With the benefit of wide-spread social support, deer birth control could be the long-term solution to Lyme disease.

The Humane Society is also joining the birth control effort with a birth control vaccine that lasts for approximately 22-months. This method is labor intensive and will require continuous constant effort. What’s the one big downfall? The birth control method takes approximately 5 – 10 years before its effects on the deer population is felt. So while it could be the long-term solution, it will require the sacrifice of immediate results.

While the experts work on short and long-term solutions to controlling Lyme disease, you can protect yourself and your family with tick control from Mosquito Squad of the South Shore today. With our Intensive Tick Treatment program, you can reduce ticks on your property by 85-90%. Call today for a free quote: 508-536-4855

Lyme Disease is Confusing & Rampant in Southeastern, Massachusetts

Lyme Disease in South Shore Lyme Disease in the South Shore of Massachusetts is at epidemic proportions and expected to be significantly worse this summer. With that being said, we are always staying on top of the latest discoveries in Lyme disease symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

The difficult diagnosis has been one of the biggest struggles for patients who are ill without having or noticing the infamous bulls-eye rash. With a variety of other symptoms, all of which could be attributed to other conditions and the unique combinations of these symptoms in every case, diagnosing Lyme has not improved much in recent years.

The CDC has recently released a handy chart of reported Lyme disease cases by symptoms. While the CDC thinks the actual number of cases is about 10x higher than those reported, this chart shows the variety of symptoms in those cases diagnosed, giving us a glimpse into the reasons why so many other cases may have gone undiagnosed.

With 71% of reported cases showing the stereotypical bulls-eye rash, it is not surprising to hear reports of those who do not notice or have a rash struggle to get a proper diagnosis. But with increased education of populations in high-risk areas such as Lakeville, Middleborough, Plymouth and the rest of Southeastern Massachusetts we can help people be aware of the possibilities when symptoms develop. We particularly like the comprehensive list of Lyme symptoms and other helpful resources provided by Lymedisease.org.

In the meantime, prevention is the best medicine. Following the CDC’s Lyme prevention checklist, following Mosquito Squad of South Shore’s 6Cs of tick control for your yard and signing up for our Intensive Tick Control program to lower ticks on your property by 85-90%. Call now for a free quote 508-536-4855

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Detected In Middleborough: Are Your Horses Safe?

CBS Boston reports that EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) has been detected in a mosquito in Middleborough, Massachusetts, as of July 15th. The Public Health Department states that there have been no human cases as of yet this year and were none last year, so they do not consider any elevated risk at this point. However because there is a potential for fatality in humans, precautions such as insect repellant and limited outdoor time should be taken. You can continue to follow risk levels on the Health and Human services’ website.

Horses Face the Biggest Threat from EEE

The horse population is generally the main victim of EEE, a mosquito-borne illness. The death rate among those that contract EEE is 75-90%. Visible symptoms can include fever, depression, loss of appetite, weakness, lack of coordination caused by a central nervous system disorder, irritability and aggressiveness, blindness, and abnormal sensitivity to light and sound. The horses that do survive are likely to show permanent brain damage.

The good news is that there is a vaccine for EEE in horses. The Department of Animal Science from the University of Connecticut suggests vaccination at least once a year. They go on to further suggest possible vaccination every six months if near the coast, where mosquitoes are more prevalent and live for a longer period of time. They also suggest fans in your horse buildings, covering your horses with fly sheets, removing standing and stagnant water, keeping gutters along outbuildings and barns clear, avoiding rides or turning your horses out at dawn or dusk when mosquito activity is higher, and avoid turning on lights in or near stables after dusk. Because the outcome of EEE for your precious animals is most likely bleak, prevention is absolutely paramount.

EEE Can Affect Humans Too

The truth being that human contraction of EEE is rare does not change the severity of it. In reference to humans the CDC calls Eastern Equine Encephalitis “the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33% mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors”.

Protect Your Pets, Your Family, Your Business

Mosquito Squad of the South Shore wants to help keep you protected from all Middleborough mosquito-borne illness. First, we urge you to take precaution by following the 5 Ts of mosquito protection and rid your yard, farm, or stables of anything that can promote mosquito breeding. Second… call us. Our traditional barrier spray will eliminate 85-90% of all mosquitoes on your property or our automated misting system will create continuous protection all season long; a great solution for horse stables. We work hard to create a plan that works for your individual needs. Whether your horses are an economic investment or a beloved family pet, we want to help you keep them safe from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. Our services always include our 100% satisfaction guarantee! Call or email us today. [email protected] (508) 536-4855 or complete the short form below.

Lakeville Mosquito Control Efforts Interrupted by No Spray Requests

In early spring, Plymouth County Mosquito Control District began spraying for mosquitoes and applying larvicide to combat the spread of dangerous mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, Triple E, and West Nile Virus. The idea is to get mosquitoes early in the season and early in development for better season long results. But this year hundreds of acres in Lakeville and thousands across the state will not be treated due to a no-spray request from the Mass Audobon.

Lakeville’s Cedar Swamp Not Receiving Mosquito Control Treatment

CBS Boston reports that Mass Audobon, a non-profit land preservation organization has requested thousands of acres be exempt from spraying. While many residents and horse farmers in Lakeville think more spraying is needed, not less, there is nothing the residents can do about it. Requests for exemption from mosquito treatment can be made by private landholders for a variety of valid reason. The Mass Audobon sites the impact the spray can have on bees and other wildlife as part of their reasoning.

The Department of Public Health is concerned about Triple E in particular, as it is such a deadly mosquito-borne disease, but says even with the no-spray requests that mosquito control efforts are still useful. Lakeville residents remain concerned because the 900 acre Cedar Swamp owned by Mass Audobon is a fruitful mosquito breeding ground.

When the risks for Triple E and West Nile Virus are at high levels, the Mass Audobon will let the spraying take place. The last time DPH enforced a high threat level was in 2012. Residents voice their preference for making public health the bigger priority in this case.

If you live near the Lakeville Cedar Swamp and are concerned about the lack of effectiveness from the efforts of the Plymouth County Mosquito Control District, call Mosquito Squad of the South Shore. Our traditional barrier spray can eliminate up to 90% of mosquitoes in your yard. We also offer a natural mosquito spray if you have a need for a more natural mosquito control solution. (508) 536-4855

West Nile Virus is a Yearly Threat in the South Shore of Massachusetts

Despite all of the news related to Zika Virus, West Nile Virus (WNV) is still a yearly threat to be aware of in the South Shore of Massachusetts. In 2015, there were 9 confirmed cases of WNV in Massachusetts, 6 cases became serious and 2 lead to death. While WNV is rare, it can be very dangerous and even deadly to everyone in the South Shore from Plymouth to Kingston to Scituate.

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus (WNV) is mainly transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, but can be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants and from mother to baby. The mosquitoes become infected with West Nile from biting infected birds.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is asymptomatic in about 80% of infected individuals. The 20% who become ill can experience flu-like symptoms such as a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or rash. Fatigue and weakness can last for months, but most people with these mild symptoms recover completely.

Less than 1% of WNV cases become severely ill with a neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. With the inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissue, these WNV patients can experience headaches, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis. Elderly individuals and people with certain medical conditions such as kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension or those who have had an organ transplant are at higher risk for serious neurological WNV illness. Severe WNV disease can take several weeks to a month to recover while some neurological health effects can become permanent. About 10% of those who develop severe neurological WNV illness will die.

Treatment for West Nile Virus

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile Virus. Treatment should focus on relieving symptoms while those who experience severe neurological illness often need to be hospitalized. If you suspect you have West Nile Virus it is vital to see a doctor for proper care.

Prevention is the best way to avoid West Nile Virus in the South Shore. Avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is the best method of WNV prevention. Mosquito Squad of the South Shore offers a variety of mosquito control methods for your property. Our best-selling mosquito barrier spray will eliminate 85-90% of the mosquitoes on your property, and we’ll come back and spray every 2-3 weeks for the season. Call today for mosquito control in Plymouth, Kingston, Scituate and the rest of the South Shore Mass area. (508) 536-4855

Mosquito-Borne EEE: A Serious Danger to Humans and Horses in Plymouth, Mattapoisett and All of South Shore Massachusetts

From 2004 to 2013, Massachusetts was the #1 state for cases of a rare mosquito-borne illness called Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), commonly called “Triple E.” According to the CDC, Massachusetts reported 24 confirmed cases of EEE in humans during the period; the next highest state was Florida with 14 cases.

What is EEE?

Spread to humans and horses by the bite of an infected mosquito; EEE is a rare but deadly disease. Most people infected with the EEE virus never experience symptoms of illness. Those who do become ill can become severely ill with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain.) Severe cases of EEE begin with sudden onset high fever, headache, chills and vomiting. It can further progress to disorientation, seizures or coma. Approximately 33% of EEE cases lead to death, and most survivors experience severe brain damage. There is no specific treatment, cure or vaccine. However, it is vital to see your doctor who can help treat the symptoms and monitor your condition.

EEE in Horses

Horses can be infected by EEE from the bite of an infected mosquito. Triple E in horses is much more dangerous than in humans with the virus being fatal in 90% of cases that move to neurological illness. Symptoms of EEE in horses vary but can include depression, fever, listlessness progressing to neurological symptoms such as circling, head pressing, stumbling, coma and death. If you suspect EEE in your horse you need to get an emergency veterinarian visit immediately. The progression of EEE in horses is very fast, most deaths from EEE in horses happen within 48-72 hours of onset of illness.

The Good News for Horses

There is a vaccine for EEE in horses. The American Association of Equine Practitioners has the EEE vaccination list on their core list of vaccinations all horses should get. The list also includes vaccines for Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, rabies and tetanus. Annual vaccinations for EEE should be done in spring before mosquito season. Work with your veterinarian to make sure your horses are getting the vaccinations at the time that is right for them.

At Mosquito Squad of South Shore we offer additional prevention and peace of mind with a variety of mosquito control services. For your yard, our traditional barrier spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes. For your barn or stables, a mosquito control misting system can offer continuous protection all season long with daily sprays for a more than 90% reduction in mosquitoes. Call today to find out the right mosquito control method for you. 508-536-4855

Lyme Disease in South Shore Massachusetts: What is Chronic Lyme?

There are few people in Massachusetts who don’t know someone who has been affected by Lyme Disease. Typical cases of Lyme Disease are successfully treated with antibiotics, and the patient goes on to live a normal productive life. This is the case more and more now that Lyme Disease has gotten more news coverage and people have become more aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease.

What may be confusing to many is that the cases of Lyme Disease brought to light by celebrities in the news seem to be much worse than what we report as the typical case of Lyme Disease illness. While the statistics are up for debate, lymedisease.org reports anywhere from 10-39% of patients experience symptoms of what is known as Chronic Lyme Disease or Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). These cases usually occur when a patient was not treated, not treated properly, not treated early, or undertreated.

The Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease

Patients with chronic Lyme disease are quite often debilitated. They are often unable to work and experience a quality of life reported as worse than most other chronic illnesses. Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease can include lingering fatigue, pain, and joint or muscle aches. Chronic Lyme can cause negative health effects in the brain, nervous system, muscles, joints, heart, circulatory system, digestion, reproductive system and skin. Symptoms can come and go for months.

Treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease

The CDC reports treating chronic Lyme with prolonged antibiotics, but that studies show antibiotics didn’t speed up recovery versus patients using placebos. Chronic Lyme usually resolves on its own, but it can take months to recuperate fully.

Dangerous of Chronic Lyme

Chronic Lyme disease can have detrimental effects on a person’s life. They can lose their job, become disabled and suffer tremendously. There are only a few cases of death related to Lyme Disease, and they are attributed to a condition called Lyme Carditis. Approximately 1% of Lyme cases result in Lyme Carditis, a potentially life-threatening symptom that occurs when Lyme bacteria enters the tissue of the heart. Lyme Carditis requires antibiotics, sometimes intravenously if the case is severe enough. Lymedisease.org reports 23 known cases where Lyme carditis has lead to sudden death, making it a very rare condition.

Public Lyme Disease education is one of the best ways to lower the incidents of chronic Lyme disease. It is vital to know the symptoms of Lyme, how to check for ticks and what to do if you become ill from a tick bite. At Mosquito Squad of the South Shore, we know preventing tick bites by lowering the number of ticks in your yard is another great way to lower your risk for Lyme Disease. Our 100% satisfaction guaranteed tick treatment can lower the number of ticks on your property by 85-90%. Call today to sign up for the season. 508-536-4855

The Deer Tick Strikes Again: Anaplasmosis in Southeastern Mass

Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis…if it sounds scary, it’s because it can be if not treated. HGA or simply Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne illness spread by the black-legged or “deer tick”, that occurs mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest. We have become very aware of how prevalent these ticks have become here in Massachusetts over the last few years. With the growth of deer tick populations, we have also seen an increase in incidences of Anaplasmosis. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health there was an 84% rise in Anaplasmosis cases between 2013 and 2014 in Massachusetts.

What Makes Anaplasmosis Dangerous

Often people are unaware they have been bitten by a tick, so noticing symptoms and checking your body and clothing after spending time outdoors is very helpful. Typically within two weeks of a tick bite symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, chills, cough, nausea, confusion, and malaise can occur. Symptoms vary and not every infected person will get every symptom. You may be wondering if a rash is also a symptom, but with Anaplasmosis, it is very rare. If a rash were to develop it would be best to be tested for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as well.

Anaplasmosis infects the white blood cells which can make it even more dangerous for individuals with a compromised immune system. Adding to the potential danger is the difficulty diagnosing Anaplasmosis due to the varying symptoms. Most cases are treated with antibiotics and though Anaplasmosis can be fatal if not treated correctly, according to the CDC the estimated case fatality rate is less than 1%.

New Discoveries About Anaplasmosis

Researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine are studying the protein makeup of Anaplasmosis as well as the antibodies the humans and animals produce against it. Their research is believed to be the track that could lead towards a vaccine. Until then we believe, at Mosquito Squad of the South Shore, that it is best to focus on prevention. We remind you to keep your yard safe by following the 6C’s of tick protection and call us to schedule your barrier spray and tick tube installation. We can eliminate 85-90% of the ticks in your yard while slowing the growth of future tick population. Call today. 508-536-4855 Our services are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee!

Lyme Disease in South Shore, Where Does It Come From?

What can be better than a quiet spring morning spent with nature? You and your coffee, on the deck in your comfy chaise, listening to the birds chirp and watching bumble bees move from flower to flower. Suddenly there’s a rustle at the back of your yard and a beautiful doe steps out from the trees. It sounds so relaxing doesn’t it? I hate to ruin this lovely scenario, but that female deer could very well be covered with ticks and now she’s brought them into your yard. With 3,816 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease and another 3,646 probable cases in 2014, there is no doubt that we have hit epidemic levels in Massachusetts. Lyme disease is spread by these deer ticks that hitched a ride out of the woods.

The Life Cycle of a Deer Tick

Understanding the tick life cycle just a little helps to understand when you are at risk the most. Adult female ticks lay eggs in spring that will hatch into larvae in summer. The larvae will look for their first blood meal. It is with each blood meal that they are able to move on to the next life stage and it is with this first blood meal that ticks may become infected with disease. The larvae take their meals mostly from small birds and rodents. When the larvae become nymphs in the spring they will look for larger hosts such as deer, dogs, and humans. Nymphs will take their second blood meal and become adults in late summer or fall and then the adult female will look for its final meal allowing her to lay her eggs. It is from the nymph through adult life stage that we are at risk of catching Lyme disease from these deer ticks and while risk is greatest late spring to summer, it is not impossible through the winter if the conditions are suitable for the ticks to survive.

How Do Ticks Travel

Unable to fly or jump a tick must wait and latch on to its host. This waiting is called “questing.” They rest at the end of shrubs and blades of grass, holding on with their hind legs and reaching out with their front legs – climbing on as the host brushes by. Deer ticks can detect breath, body odors, body heat, moisture and vibrations. They can also identify well-worn paths to wait for their victims. So the ticks lay in wait, along hiking paths and well travelled wooded areas, attaching themselves to their hosts and traveling to whatever the destination may be. Often, as described above, this destination will be your backyard.

Deer Ticks Carry Other Diseases As Well

The fact that deer ticks carry Lyme disease is something we have all become familiar with in Massachusetts because of the high number of cases of the disease. We know to look for the bullseye-shaped rash and the flu like symptoms and we know that if it goes untreated chronic Lyme can plague you forever. Deer ticks carry other diseases as well. Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Powassan virus are carried by the deer tick and can be fatal if not treated. If you are bitten by a tick the best thing to do is make note of the date, watch for symptoms, and contact your doctor if they occur. However at Mosquito Squad of the South Shore, we would like to help you focus on prevention. Our tick control services can eliminate 85-95% of ticks in your yard. Make an appointment today and we will use our barrier spray and tick tube system to help safeguard your family from tick-borne illness. Call today. 508-536-4855 Our services are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee!

A New Pest Is Moving Our Way: Lone Star Ticks

In Massachusetts, when you think of ticks what probably comes to mind are deer ticks and dogs ticks. According to the Angell Animal Medical Center there is now a 3rd tick to concern yourself with – the Lone Star tick. Until recently these ticks were only common in the southeast, but they are making their way north. The presence has been seen here in Massachusetts, and Dr. Catherine M. Brown, Massachusetts public health veterinarian says that “we expect continued and growing evidence of the lone star tick in Massachusetts.”

What is a Lone Star Tick?

Lone Star ticks are small, the size of a seed maybe, and brown in color. The females have a white dot in the middle of their backs, making them easy to distinguish from the dark black spot on the back of a deer tick. Lone Star ticks are different from what we have come to expect from ticks in many ways. They move very quickly, have excellent vision, they are aggressive and they actually swarm which makes them much more dangerous for our pets.

This year’s mild winter seems to have made for a surge in tick activity already. Ticks survive in colder weather than people imagine as long as they have the moisture and food host they require. With a mild winter not only are more ticks out, people and their pets are out moving amongst them more. The Boston Globe reports an increase of 125% in tick-borne illness in dogs as this same time last year.

The Danger of Lone Star Ticks in the South Shore

Lone Star ticks can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, and STARI. STARI is a rash that is not so harmful and can be treated, but it also looks very similar the rash that comes with Lyme disease so a patient may be treated as if he has Lyme. RMSF, Tularemia, and Ehrlichiosis can also be treated, but without treatment, there can be severe complications.

Ticks do not only live in rural wooded areas. They are in our parks and yards. To avoid ticks and tick-borne diseases, prevention is your best option. Mosquito Squad of the South Shore offers tick control services which can eliminate 85-95% of the ticks in your yard. Let us tell you how our barrier spray and tick tube system works together to keep your family and pets protected. Call today. 508-536-4855

How to Properly Dispose of a Tick

Living in the deer tick capital of the United States, Massachusetts residence more than anyone need to know how to deal with ticks. This knowledge not only includes how to eliminate ticks and avoid ticks but what to do should you, unfortunately, find a tick on you, your child or your pet.

You’ve done your duty in checking for ticks after a day of outdoor activity and you found one. You followed careful instructions on how to remove a tick with pointy tweezers, but now you are stuck holding a tick in your tweezers. How should you dispose of it?

How NOT to Kill a Tick

Never, ever try to burn, shock, or smother a tick while it is still attached to you or your pet, this could lead to regurgitating into the bite, increasing chances for transmitting a tick-borne disease. Always follow the safe tick removal method before killing a tick.

Once safely removed, there is a plethora of fun and funny methods for disposing of ticks posted around the interwebs. Some of these methods might indeed work, but could be dangerous or less effective than our best advice. Never try to smash a tick, they don’t crush easily and could escape. The most popular piece of advice we hear is to burn the ticks, this most definitely will kill them, but is unnecessarily aggressive. Other methods include dropping them in dish soap, mouth wash, or the toilet. A tick won’t drown in the toilet, but if you do flush them, they won’t be back. Just make sure they go down with the water.

The Best Way to Dispose of a Tick

We often follow the close advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but in the case of tick disposal, we have a slight modification. After safely removing a tick, use packaging tape to tape it to an index card with the date on it. Hang on to the card for 6 months or so. If any symptoms should appear, you can have the tick identified and even tested for Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases for faster diagnosing. Alternatively, you can place it in a dated sealed bag or bottle with a bit of rubbing alcohol.

With the prevalence of Lyme Disease in the South Shore area and the dangers it can present, hanging on to your tick is a great way to assist your doctor or veterinarian in diagnosing illnesses.

Prevention is always the best method for avoiding ticks and tick-borne diseases. Mosquito Squad of the South Shore offers tick control services which can eliminate 85-95% of the ticks in your yard. Call today. 508-536-4855

How to Remove a Tick Safely in South Shore Mass

If you’re spending any amount of time outdoors in Scituate, Plymouth or the rest of the South Shore Massachusetts area, you hopefully are following our advice to perform tick checks on yourself, your kids and your pets. With the deer tick population being at epidemic proportions in our area, it is inevitable that you will soon, if you haven’t already, find a tick embedded in your skin.

While your initial response may be to grab hold and rip it out as fast as you can, there is definitely a risk involved if you remove a tick without proper precautions. Since Lyme disease takes 24-48 hours, removing a tick safely can mean the difference between becoming infected with Lyme disease and avoiding the transfer of bacteria from an infected tick upon removal.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pointy tweezers
  • A disinfectant such as rubbing alcohol

What You WON’T Need:

  • A match
  • A lighter
  • A lit cigarette

How to Safely Remove a Tick

We love the advice from the Tick Encounter Resource Center

Step One:

Use pointy tweezers. Standard household tweezers are not effective for removing tiny nymph ticks and increase your chances for ripping the tick upon removal.

Step Two:

Before removing the tick, disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol to avoid getting bacteria into the bite upon removal.

Step Three:

Use your pointy tweezers to grab the tick firmly and as close to your skin as possible, preferably around the tick’s head.

Step Four:

Tip the tick upright so that you can pull it out slowly & steadily upwards. If the tick’s mouthparts break off in your skin, use the tweezers to remove them separately. The tick cannot transmit disease without its body so there is no additional reason to worry if this occurs.

Step Five:

Disinfect the bite thoroughly after the tick is removed.

Next week we’re going to explore what to do with the tick once it is removed and proper tick disposal methods.

If you want to lower your risks for needing this tick removal information, call today, we can eliminate up to 85-95% of ticks on your property with our Intensive Tick Treatment program. 508-536-4855

How to Check Yourself For Ticks in South Shore Mass

With an abundance of stunning parks and hiking trails in Plymouth, Middleborough and all of the South Shore area, it does not escape us that you spend time outdoors away from your tick treated yard. It is important when you are spending time in untreated outdoor places that you check yourself for ticks when you come in. With the tick population being at noticeably high levels and the prevalence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses in our area, checking for ticks can be the difference between becoming infected or not. Deer ticks have to be latched on to their host for 24-48 hours to infect people, making regular tick checks crucial to lowering your risks. Most experts advise checking yourself for ticks every day in the spring through fall months.

I always recommend using a lint roller before you go indoors to remove ticks from the outside of your clothing as best you can. This limits the number of ticks that get in your house potentially biting you, a family member or a pet.

Start Between Your Toes

Ticks do not jump, they grab ahold when you walk by. This means that if you are checking yourself within a short time of going inside, they can usually be found on the lower half of your body. Starting your tick self-check from the floor up is a great way to start. When given time, ticks will climb up, looking for places that are dark and moist to hide (think behind the knees, near the groin and in armpits). It is best to have a system for checking so you don’t miss a spot. It is also best to go to a private area with a mirror such as a bathroom.

The Tick Self-Check

Start by peeling back the top of each sock checking your ankles, lower legs & behind your knees. As you pull your sock off, check between your toes. Undress and slowly move your way up, examining and feeling every inch of your legs. Those with leg hair need to lift leg hair and look close at the hair follicle area. As you move up, pay close attention to the inner thighs and groin area. Use a hand held mirror and look under areas where ticks could hide. Check your mid-section carefully, even inside your belly button. Checking under your breasts and inside your armpits is vital as they provide great hiding spots. If your armpits have hair, be sure to look through it carefully. Ticks can often be found behind the ears, back of the neck and in the hair. If you need help checking your head, get a partner or use your hands to feel and a hand-held mirror to look.

Dry Your Clothing on High for 10 Minutes

Clothing worn in wooded areas needs to be taken off immediately and placed in the clothes dryer on high for 10 or more minutes. Washing ticks does not kill them. Once you’ve dried the clothes you can throw them in with the rest of the laundry or wash them as normal. Never throw your hiking clothes directly in the laundry pile when you come in. Ticks could climb on you, your kids or your pets later.

If you’re interested in living a worry-free outdoor lifestyle, consider our tick control services for your home and follow our blog for the best and latest on ticks, tick control and tick-borne diseases in South Shore Massachusetts. (508) 536-4855

If you check every day you can spot bites or engorged ticks if you missed them the first time. Stay tuned next week to find out what to do if you find a tick.

True or False: The Mosquitoes That Transmit Zika Are NOT in Massachusetts?

There is more than one mosquito responsible for transmitting Zika Virus. The main culprit in the Brazil outbreak is called the Aedes Aegypti which is not found in South Shore or most of the Northeast. However, the Aedes Aegypti otherwise known as the Asian Tiger mosquito is in South Shore Mass and can transmit the Zika Virus.

Asian Tiger Mosquito

The Asian Tiger Mosquito Transmits Zika Virus

The Asian Tiger is a nasty little bugger who feeds during the daytime as well as at dawn & dusk. It is such a nuisance that we wrote an entire page about it last year.

Asian Tiger mosquitoes are recognized easily by their bold silver white scale stripes. They are noticeably active even during the hottest part of the day. They are considered highly aggressive and are not easily deterred. Asian Tiger mosquitoes are container breeders, which means they thrive successfully in suburban and urban environments as well as rural areas. They are responsible for carrying and transmitting over 30 viruses including West Nile Virus (WNV), encephalitis, Tripe E (Easter Equine Encephalitis), Chikungunya and now Zika Virus.

Could the Culex Mosquito Carry Zika Too?

Last week (March 7) PBS reported a story about a preliminary study that points to the possibility of the Culex mosquito carrying Zika Virus as well. There are several species in the Culex mosquito group, together they can be found throughout the United States.

Culex pipiens

The study not only found that Culex can be infected with Zika, but they could also “reproduce the virus in their salivary glands.” These results are preliminary and still face rigorous testing from the entomologist community. If more studies reveal the Culex mosquito to be a vector of Zika Virus, the world will have to adjust their approach to preventing the virus as current efforts have been primarily focused on the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus. The Culex pipiens is a common Massachusetts mosquito and will certainly be a factor for us if the results of this test are proven.

Until everything is known about Zika and all of its vectors and complications, we caution you to protect your family with mosquito control for prevention. Make sure you’re following the 5 T’s of mosquito control for your yard and be sure to keep up with the CDC’s latest travel guide for pregnant women.

Call today to sign up for mosquito control for your yard. (508) 536-4855

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