The link between the Asian Tiger mosquito and West Nile Virus

Asian tiger on leaf

The Asian tiger mosquito is a known vector of West Nile virus, Dengue and Yellow Fever.

Along with being an aggressive day feeding mosquito, the Asian Tiger mosquito is also a known vector of West Nile Virus and is a vector of Dengue and Yellow fever as well. This mosquito, which made its appearance here in North America by hitching a ride within a shipment of tires bound for Texas from Asia in 1985, is definitely foe rather than friend. West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness that  is primarily spread through infected mosquitoes. West Nile virus infection affects humans, horses and other domestic animals. The first case of West Nile in South Carolina was reported in 2002.

With West Nile cases, symptoms generally appear within 3-14 days after the onset of infection. Symptoms include fever, headache and body aches. Although in some cases people won’t have any symptoms at all. West Nile Virus can move into becoming West Nile Encephalitis in one out of 150 people infected with West Nile Virus. This is a dangerous, neuroinvasive disease that causes inflammation of the area that surrounds the brain as well as the spinal cord. Signs that West Nile Encephalitis is present include stiffness of the neck, severe headaches, confusion, tremors, seizures, paralysis, coma and in some cases death.

Asian Tiger Mosquito Columbia SC

Fortunately, South Carolina has been testing for West Nile since 1999 which includes detection in birds, mosquitoes, mammals and humans.  At this point  the only cure for West Nile is time. The medical professionals focus on relieving the patient of  the symptoms while their body tries to fight the illness. This means that the best measure against West Nile is prevention.

Since the Asian Tiger mosquito, or Aedes albopictus , as well as forty-three other mosquito species are known to transmit the West Nile virus, it is in your best interests to avoid mosquitoes. Avoidance begins with controlling and preventing mosquitoes within your property. Exercising mosquito safe practices such as avoiding overgrowth and keeping your lawn and shrubbery trimmed and cleaned out is one way to discourage mosquitoes that like to harbor in the cool, damp, shady surroundings of an unkempt yard. Examining your property and around your house frequently for any sign of standing water and keep these turned over. Throw away or tip over any object that can pool water. Keep your gutters clean. Change the water in your bird bath, animal watering containers, and horse troughs frequently to avoid them becoming a nursery for new mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Having a licensed mosquito control professional treat your yard and property to kill and prevent mosquitoes as well.

Mosquito Squad of Columbia fights the bite with our safe and effective barrier spray programs designed to take the worry out of mosquito control and prevention. Our spray is applied on a regular schedule throughout the season to keep the mosquitoes and the dangers they pose to us, our family and our pets away all season long too. Contact us to learn more about our mosquito control programs and all of our other pest control programs as well. We also treat for fire ants, fleas, ticks, spiders and flies. Call us today to get started on your season long protection • (803) 345 – 7575 • email: columbia@mosquitosquad.com

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The Recent Floods Will Undoubtedly Result in More Columbia SC Mosquitoes

mosquito control Columbia SCAs we have discussed at length, standing water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. However, our particular situation is quite different and presents many challenges. With the recent catastrophic flooding in and around Columbia SC, standing water will remain a problem for the foreseeable future. Add to the amount of standing and stagnated water, the timing will also present challenges as the mosquitoes are much more active and aggressive as they scramble to feed in time to lay their eggs before the temperatures get too low.

Asian Tiger Mosquito Columbia SCAccording to a recent Jacksonville, NC news article, “…expect the worst of the mosquitoes to be next week when all of the eggs laid this week become adults of a wide range of species, one of which is the largest in the United States”. With the recent copious amounts of precipitation we’ve experienced, it seems that following the “5 T’s” may not be enough within itself. The application of our microencapsulated barrier spray solution has a delayed release and is less susceptible to becoming diluted by water than other mosquito control companies in Columbia SC.

mosquito control Columbia SCNow that the vast swath of flood waters have receded or evaporated, it’s prime time for heavy mosquito activity. By being proactive rather than reactive, you can ensure that your yard does not become a mosquito breeding ground. Nip the problem in the bud by having Mosquito Squad of Columbia perform our highly effective barrier application on your yard today! In doing so, you, your family, and your pets are much less likely to come into contact with annoying, biting, mosquitoes that could potentially be carrying a mosquito-borne illness or disease.

Asian Tiger Mosquito Columbia South CarolinaTo have your yard treated today and keep your yard mosquito free for the remainder of the season, call Mosquito Squad of Columbia today at 803.345.7575, email us at columbia@mosquitosquad.com, or visit our website. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf spider? Not I, say the Columbia residents who use Mosquito Squad

Carolina wolf spider

How many eyes does a Carolina brown wolf spider have? “the better to see you with my dear”

Few insects can instill as much fear in us as a spider. While mosquitoes, ticks, fire ants and other nuisance pests can inflict pain and misery on us, it is the spider that many of us see in our nightmares. One of the creepiest spiders around is one which is commonly sighted in our yards, on our decks and even in our homes this time of year- the wolf spider. If you run into one of these spiders it is very possible you will experience more than you bargained for.

Wolf spiders are rarely seen during the day because they are nocturnal and hunt their prey in the evening. These spiders have eight eyes arranged in three rows; two of these eyes are notably large and prominent helping to distinguish a wolf spider from other spiders with a similar appearance such as the Nursery web spider. The spider’s large eyes aid in hunting and are also prone to glow in the evening when subjected to a light source. This means you’d better look twice when entering into the garage in the evening because those glowing eyes staring back at you might  just be a wolf spider!

Wolf spider

Notice the large row of eyes unique to the wolf spider.

Wolf spiders can inject venom if continually provoked. Symptoms of their bite include swelling, mild pain and itching. Australian and South American wolf spiders are capable of inflicting bites that are medically significant, but this is rare in North American wolf spiders. The venom from this species has been known to cause necrotic lesions in some, although people’s responses vary widely.  Keep in mind that most all spiders contain venom and people respond to this venom in various ways. Having a sensitivity or allergic reaction to a spider bite that is considered safe can still turn a wolf spider bite into a dangerous situation.

Wolf spiders are prolific hunters, as their namesake implies, and rely on their eyesight and speed to track down and catch their meal rather than using a web. Despite their garish appearance many homeowners believe the wolf spider to be beneficial because its diet consists of other more dangerous arachnids lurking  just like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

South Carolina is no stranger to the ways of the wolf spider. Our state spider is a behemoth known as the Carolina Wolf Spider which is the largest known Wolf Spider found in North America. Carolina wolf spiders, just like all wolf spiders are wonderful Mothers. Wolf spiders are unique among their species because the females carry their eggs along with them in a round silken egg sack attached to their abdomens. The abdomen must be held up in a raised position to keep the egg case from dragging on the ground, but they can still hunt. Also unique among spiders is their method of infant care. Immediately after the babies hatch and emerge from their protective case, they climb up their mother’s legs like a ladder where they crowd together on her back. Here they’ll stay for a few weeks until they’re large enough to hunt on their own. Wolf spider babies also have the ability to bite, just like their mom does. Take a look at this video we found on YouTube showing a momma wolf spider with a brood of infants on her back.

Spiders are a huge problem near waterfront homes and here in the Greater Columbia area, the Lake Murray waterfront and smaller lakes and rivers serve as home to many of our residents. Many of the state’s spider species also call the waterfront home.  When you have a home that is relatively close to water you will undoubtedly have a spider problem at one point or another. Bugs are abundant near water and thus the spider can have a backyard buffet of bugs to choose from.  Spiders are a territorial insect that once they set up shop, it is difficult to get rid of them without intervention.

carolina-wolf-spider

Up close and personal with the state spider of S.C., the Carolina Wolf Spider.

Mosquito Squad of Columbia offers spider control that will rid you of your spider woes. You will see immediate results.  Our treatment is applied every 21 days from April until October (and in some cases year-round) and you will never have to worry about the dangers or mess created by a spider problem.

Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to take care of your spider problems as well as problems with other bothersome bugs. We also protect your home from mosquitoes, fire ants, fleas, ticks, and flies. Our program is backed by our expertise and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia

Call us at (803) 345 –  7575 or  send us an email at columbia@mosquitosquad.com

Just one female mosquito + your backyard = one billion mosquitoes! You do the mosquito math

Blood filled female mosquito

The presence of one female mosquito can spawn a brood of over one billion mosquitoes in your backyard!

I know it may seem like a stretch, but in absolute truth one female mosquito can spawn over one billion mosquitoes in just 4 short weeks. It would be great if there were only 1 mosquito in your yard. The warm weather and abundant rainfall make our Columbia backyard conditions perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. By simple multiplication, the natural order of the mosquito population turns an army of just one female mosquito into an army of over 1 billion mosquitoes! Here is how it works…

Week One

mosquito math week 1

In order for a female mosquito to develop viable eggs to facilitate reproduction she must obtain a sufficient blood meal from a human or other mammal. This single female mosquito will then proceed to lay up to 300 eggs. Mosquitoes can lay up to three batches of eggs during their short lifetime. From here the mosquito has already perpetuated a significant amount of blood-thirsty offspring in which about half, will be other blood thirsty mosquitoes.

mosquito math week 2Week Two

Our equation now includes 150 new female mosquitoes, plus the original matriarch of the brood which brings the total to 151 female mosquitoes. This is where it really gets interesting; the 150 daughters of the original female mosquito will also lay up to 300 eggs each. This brings the total number of mosquitoes up to 45,300, of which half are female.

Week Three

mosquito math week 3This now means 22,650 female mosquitoes will once again lay up to 300 eggs each bringing the number during their egg laying period to 6,795,300. That is almost 7 million mosquitoes brought into your backyard via one female mosquito in just 3 weeks! The same strategy of half being born female will leave us with 3,397,000 females ready to do it all over again.

Week Four

mosquito math week 4The sum of all homeowner’s fear will weigh in at a whopping 1,319,250,000 mosquitoes from just one female mosquito! That’s 1 point 3 BILLION! This fact is scarier than fiction!

Mosquito eggs

Just one female mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, and can do lay up to 3 batches during her lifetime.

Fortunately, there is a way to stop this vicious cycle in your Columbia area backyard. Mosquito Squad of Columbia’s barrier spray program will eliminate mosquitoes that are present on your property and prevent more from taking up residence. By reducing the number of mosquitoes on your treated property, you can literally eliminate billions of mosquitoes. Not only will eliminating these mosquitoes offer you the freedom and peace of mind to enjoy the outdoors this season, it will also reduce the number of mosquitoes within your yard that carry disease.

mosquito math

By doing the mosquito math your will see preventing mosquitoes in your yard this season is as easy as 1,2,3.

Now is the time to schedule your season long mosquito control. Warm weather is here and the recent abundance of rain mean that in a few short weeks mosquito populations will explode in our region. We use our effective mosquito barrier control spray to eliminate mosquitoes within the treated area and prevent more from entering into the treated area (your property) for up to 21 days per application. Our easy, worry free scheduling ensures there are no gaps in service.  We will set you up on a scheduled interval to spray your yard in order to gain complete control over mosquitoes and their ability to multiply. Our service is easy, safe and highly effective.

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia is here to protect you and your family from mosquitoes all season long.

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia is here to protect you and your family from mosquitoes all season long.

Our program is backed by our expertise and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to learn more. Call us today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 • email:Columbia@MosquitoSquad.com

Mosquito Squad of Columbia explores the devastation White-Nose Syndrome is causing to our S.C. bat population

Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour at night

One bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito sized insects per hour while feeding.

As hardy and resilient as our ecosystem may seem, it is really quite delicate. One species facilitates the survival of another in a sensitive web or intermingling habitats. With this in mind, one species can experience a problem and the result can cause a domino effect that sends other species into a tailspin. One example of this is happening right here in South Carolina with a disease that has already killed millions of bats throughout Eastern North America and has now been confirmed in our state.

Bats sleeping in cave

Bats that hibernate in mines and caves are vulnerable to the WNS.

The disease is called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), and is spread from one bat to another by a fungus called Geomyces destructans. The name of the disease refers to the white fungal growth found on the noses of infected bats although it is also found on their wings and tail membrane.  While the disease is not harmful to humans, it is believed that humans are facilitating the numbers of bats becoming infected through the transport of infected gear and clothing into the bat’s habitat.

The little brown bat is a SC native

The little brown bat is a is one of the S.C. bat species that are being affected by WNS.

The Organization for Bat Conservation has reported “WNS infected bats are awaking from their winter as often as every 3-4 days as opposed to the normal time frame of every 10-20 days. This is considered the “itch and scratch” hypothesis, which means the more irritation caused by the higher rate of arousal and use of precious body fat. The fungus damages the connective tissues, muscles and skin of the bats and also disrupts their physiological functions. While bats are in winter torpor their immune system is compromised. Bat’s bodies are trying to conserve energy by lowering their physiological activity including heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and body temperature. The bats wake up dehydrated and hungry during the cold winters when there are no insects to eat. Unfortunately, about 90% of the bats affected perish due to starvation.

To date there is no cure or treatment for White-Nose Syndrome and mortality in some bat species has exceeded 98%. Some rare species of bats may face extinction from this disease. In South Carolina these species include the brown bat, little brown bat, Eastern small-footed bat, Northern long-eared bat, tricolored bat and Southeastern bat.

Blood filled female mosquito

Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance, they also carry a wide range of illness and disease,

The concerns of the debilitating and fatal effects of this disease reach far beyond the bat singularly. The bat plays a major role in maintaining and balancing our ecosystem. Bats are a primary predator of night-flying insects such as mosquitoes. One bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects per hour while feeding. An average bat will feed for 3-6 hours each night and this adds up to a large quantity of insects the bat is eliminating. Many of these insects are vectors of illness and diseases such as West Nile Virus that could potentially be spread to humans. Bats are a link in eradicating mosquito borne illnesses that would otherwise potentially cause human infections. According to an article released by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the one million little brown bats that have already died due to WNS would have eaten between 660 and 1,320 metric tons of insects in one year. This illness is posing a threat of huge losses to agriculture as well. It is estimated that insect-eating bats provide a significant pest-control service, saving the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year.

Bats are a beneficial part of South Carolina’s ecosystem and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is working closely with its partners to understand this disease and to help minimize the impact on our S.C. bats.

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia

Contact us to learn more about our safe and effective mosquito control program.

Since unfortunately we may not have as many bats to help with mosquito control this season, Mosquito Squad is even more of a great solution. We provide a comprehensive mosquito control program including our effective barrier spray. We spray your yard throughout the summer for complete protection. This effectively creates a barrier around your yard protecting you from mosquitoes. Living mosquitoes are eliminated on contact. Then our product works on a timed release to keep your yard mosquito free until our next visit.

Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to learn more (803) 345 – 7575 • Email:Columbia@MosquitoSquad.com

Mosquito Squad of Columbia introduces you to the heavyweight of biting mosquitoes; the Gallinipper

dread-versions3Sunny Florida remains a go to vacation destination for many Columbia, SC residents. The white beaches, the azure blue water and the local flavor within Florida’s cities and towns has always made it a popular place to leave all your cares behind. Floridians and those drawn to Florida already have a long list of the reasons they love the sunshine state. This summer there will be one notable addition to the list of things they aren’t so fond of  called a Gallinipper.

What is a Gallinipper?

The proper name for a Gallinipper is a Psorophora ciliata. The term “gallinipper” isn’t recognized by most entomologists, but over the past century, the word, and the Gallinipper itself, entered popular legend through Southern folktales, minstrel shows and blues songs which spoke of a giant mosquito with a nasty bite according to a report from The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. This mammoth mosquito has a bite so painful it has become the stuff of legends with references of the mosquito going all the way back to 1897. It is also referred to as a monster mosquito, and a giant mosquito which are the best ways to describe this skeeter. A Gallinipper is roughly 20 times the size of a regular mosquito with an adult size comparable with that of a quarter! Physical characteristics of the Gallinipper include hairy back legs with zebra like patterns and yellow scales on the thorax of the insect.

This mosquito is feared because not only because of its enormous size but its aggressive feeding habits. Gallinippers feed day and night unlike the dusk to dawn biting mosquitoes we are accustomed to dealing with. Their bodies are strong enough to bite through clothing, and when you get bit by one of these giants it really hurts! Floridians who live in more rural, grassy areas that are prone to flooding are more likely to come in contact with  these mosquitoes than city dwellers which is good news for tourism.

Gallinipper mosquito

Meet the Gallinipper. The largest known biting mosquito of the U.S.

Psorophora ciliata is the largest known biting mosquitoes in the U.S. Even though these mosquitoes are normally seen in Florida, this year’s population prediction could make them more menacing than usual simply because of their sheer size and expected numbers. Gallinippers are floodwater mosquitoes which lay their eggs in low-lying areas with damp soil and grassy overgrowth. Tropical storms in Florida caused a record number of these mosquitoes last summer, whose eggs to lay in wait until this season. If these areas flood following a dry period, the eggs will hatch and produce very large numbers of adult mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are known to be so veracious even in their larval stage they will eat tadpoles, small aquatic prey and have even been reported to exhibit cannibalistic behavior and eat larvae of their own kind! This mosquito is not reported to carry any diseases that can be passed onto us or our pets. The only positive attribute of the Gallinipper is the fact they also feed on the larvae of other mosquitoes including the Asian tiger mosquito and other mosquitoes that are known vectors of mosquito-borne illness and disease. These mosquitoes prove the old adage that bigger is better wrong, but the silver lining is that an explosive Gallinipper population will help reduce the numbers of mosquitoes that could potentially make Floridians very sick.no-mosquito

Thankfully, here in Columbia, SC we don’t have to worry about coming into contact with this big, mean mosquito. Here on the home front we have the first line of defense in controlling and preventing mosquitoes covered. Mosquito Squad of Columbia can control and prevent mosquitoes on your property for the entire season with our safe and effective barrier spray program. It is safe, easy and it works!  Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 • email:Columbia@MosquitoSquad.com

Mosquito Squad of Columbia is dancing to the beat of the 5T’s of mosquito control and prevention this season

Warmer weather is just around the corner and that means you and your family will be spending more time outdoors. Don’t let mosquitoes show up as an uninvited guest and ruin your special time. Mosquitoes are not only bothersome; they also carry a myriad of mosquito-borne illnesses that can make you very sick. Mosquito Squad of Columbia urges you to take back control of your yard by following the 5T’s of mosquito prevention and control. What are the 5T’s you may ask? Mosquito Squad has put together a catchy little rhyme that outlines the importance of the 5 ways to effectively prevent and control mosquitoes. Following this advice will keep you from singing the blues this mosquito season.

Now that you know what you need to do, what are you waiting on? Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia today to get on the schedule for the coming mosquito season, it will be here sooner than you think. Our safe and effective barrier spray program will keep you mosquito free all season long.  Call us today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 • email:columbia@mosquitosquad.com

Along with mosquito prevention and control we also protect your home from fire ants, fleas, ticks, and flies. Our program is backed by our expertise and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.