What Are the Signs of SFTS?

east Asian tick extermination
Image courtesy of Borislav Dopudja CC by-S.A. 3.0

There are have been reports that the East Asian tick has spread to the United States. This tick is one of the only known carriers of the deadly SFTS virus. This virus was first discovered in China in 2009. Each year there are more people that contract it. While there are no known cases of the virus in the United States, scientists are worried that it could spread now that the East Asian tick has established itself here.

What Are the Symptoms of the STFS Virus?

The SFTS virus starts out with a fever. The patient may also experience nausea and diarrhea. The virus can affect the liver making the enzyme levels off. It can also lower both the platelet and white blood cell count, which can make people more vulnerable to complications. Some people will suffer multiple organ failure as a result. The mortality rate is currently about twelve percent, but it was higher when the disease was first discovered. Early identification of the disease seems to increase the chances of survival. Treatment is focused on treating and managing the symptoms since it is a viral illness.

Is the STFS in the Manassas Area?

The STFS virus has not been identified in the United States. The East Asian tick has only been found in New Jersey at this point, but it is expected to spread across the United States as it is an extremely invasive species. Officials worry that the SRTS virus will be able to spread quickly once the East Asian tick is firmly established throughout the United States.

Should I Be Worried About Other Ticks?

Scientists have predicted a very active tick season in the Virginia area this year. This means that you should take care to protect yourself and your family from the ticks that are already in Virginia and that can make you sick by spreading tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. You should always wear insect repellent with DEET in it if you are going into an area that has a lot of ticks. You should check yourself, your family members and your pets for ticks regularly. You can give your pets a tick preventative. You can also treat your yard for ticks to decrease the chances of being bitten. If you do find a tick, you should remove it with tweezers and dispose of it properly. This will help reduce the chances of you contracting an illness and stop the tick from biting anyone else.

A Guide to Mosquitoes

guide to mosquito controlMosquitoes have been plaguing people throughout all known time. Not only do they cause itchy bites that can be annoying, there are responsible for spreading a number of serious illnesses. The threat is so serious and ongoing that most communities and countries have extensive mosquito control programs which help to combat the outbreaks. There are still outbreaks each year in countries across the world of illnesses like Yellow fever and dengue fever. In order to combat mosquitoes, it is important to understand mosquitoes.  

The Lifecycle of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. After the eggs hatch, the mosquitoes are larvae and they spend time in the water until they become pupae and then hatch from that stage. At this point, the mosquitoes are adults and will begin flying around. The male mosquitoes feed on nectar, while the female mosquitoes need a blood meal so that they lay their eggs. Mosquitoes can lay up to two hundred eggs at a time.

Prevent Mosquitoes

Once you understand that the lifecycle of mosquitoes is so dependent on water, you can see that there are steps you can take to help prevent mosquitoes. One of the most important things you can do is to address any standing water that may collect in your yard in old buckets, hole sin stumps or in rocks. Mosquitoes only need a capful of water in order to breed and go through the different stages. If you can address the standing water, you will help to prevent mosquitoes.

You can also keep your lawn short and your bushes trimmed back. This will help the ground to dry out more quickly. It also helps by providing fewer places for the mosquitos to find harborage. Another option is to have a mosquito control treatment applied to your yard every three weeks. This will kill adult mosquitoes and prevent new ones from coming in your yard.

Why and How to Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes will carry a number of different illnesses. The West Nile virus and St. Louise encephalitis are issues in the United States. The Zika virus may spread north and become an issue as well. In addition to preventing mosquitoes in your yard, you should protect yourself when you are out and about. Wearing mosquito repellent is key to doing this. This option is safe for infants as young as two months. If you have a younger baby, you can use mosquito netting or keep the baby indoors.

What Are Mosquito Control Programs?

What Are Mosquito Control Programs
Image courtesy of John Tann CC by 2.0

Mosquitoes are an issue throughout the world. They spread a number of serious illnesses. There are different strategies that people take to protect themselves from mosquitoes including use mosquito repellent, and mosquito netting. They may use candles and bug lights. However, the mosquito problem is so serious that many countries and government enact mosquito control programs to keep the mosquito population at bay.

How Do Mosquito Control Programs Work?

The programs work because an insecticide is spread throughout the area, especially in areas where mosquitoes are prone such as swampy areas. The insecticide needs to be applied on a regular basis to be effective. The insecticide will kill the adult mosquitoes. They may also address the areas where they breed, but they may have a harder time since they care covering such large spread areas.

Can I Have a Mosquito Control Program for My Yard?

You can contact a professional to come in and take care of your yard for you. They can apply a treatment to your yard on a regular basis. The treatments can eliminate the mosquitoes around your yard. They can also address areas where they breed with a larvicide or by emptying any areas that may have standing water. You can also take care of your yard to remove anything that may gather water like old tires. Keeping your lawn short and trimming back your bushes will also help with the mosquito population in your yard.

Will Treating the Mosquitoes in My Yard Make a Difference?

Treating the mosquitoes in your yard can help with the overall mosquito population. Sometimes neighborhoods, and homeowner’s associations will work together to help control the mosquito population in the neighborhood. It can make a difference to eliminate areas where they may be breeding over a wider area. The mosquito treatments are considered safe for people, and there are organic options that do not have a big effect on the environment.

How Else Can I Protect Myself from Mosquitoes?

If you are outside of your yard, you will need to make sure to protect yourself from mosquitoes. There are a number of different ways to protect yourself. Be sure to wear mosquito repellent and to reapply it throughout the day. Wearing light colored clothing is also helpful. If you are traveling to another country where mosquitoes are a known issue, you may need to take extra precautions and have mosquito netting that you can sleep under.

5 Commonly Asked Questions About Ticks

tick control
Image Courtesy of Fairfax County via Flickr CC by ND 2.0

Ticks can spread serious illnesses. They can make you and your family quite sick. People can get ticks when they spend time outside. They are more common in wooded areas, but they can also be found in the suburbs and in the city in parks or yards. They will feed on animals that run through the yard and they can put your family at risk.

How Do I Remove a Tick?

The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it with tweezers and to pull straight back to remove it. You do not want to twist as this may leave the head embedded in the skin. You can also use a tick key to remove the tick. You should never try to remove it by burning it, or applying gasoline, rubbing alcohol or Vaseline to it, as this may cause it to regurgitate and increase the chance of being infected.

How Do I Tell that a Tick Has Attached to Me?

Tick bites are painless, at least while the tick is attached. It is possible to have a tick attach and detach without you realizing that you have a tick. It is important to check yourself after you are in an area that has a lot of ticks. You need to check under your arms, along your hairline, in your ears, behind your knees and between your legs for ticks.

What Do I Do Once I’ve Removed the Tick?

Once you remove the tick you should put it on a cotton ball that has alcohol on it and seal it in a zipper bag. You can dispose of it this way. You should not just let it go because it can attach to someone else. You should not crush it with your hand or fingers because you may end up contracting the illness.

How Soon Will Tick Symptoms Appear?

Tick-borne illnesses can have symptoms start about three days after the bite, but they can take up to thirty days to appear. Many of the symptoms are similar with the start of a fever, and aches and pains. Some illnesses will have a rash, but the rash does not always present. The doctor can run tests to confirm the type of illnesses and determine the correct course of treatment. Most illnesses need to be treated with antibiotics or they will continue to get worse and can have serious complications that can even be fatal.

Do Ticks Detach by Themselves?

Once ticks have finished feeding, they will detach and then wander around until they are ready to feed again. This means that they may live in your home and be waiting until they are ready to feed again. If you see a tick in your home you need to take care of it right away by having the exterminators at Mosquito Tek treat your yard with an effective commercial strength tick control treatment that will completely eliminate ticks around your home.

Where Can Fleas Live in My Home?

flea and tick control

When you notice that your pet has fleas, you may be worried about how to get rid of the fleas. Fleas may not stay on your pet. They will hop off in search of other hosts. This means that they can spread throughout your home. Considering that a single flea can lay more than fifty eggs a day and that those eggs will fall off your pet, you do have reason to worry about fleas living in your bed and in other areas of the home.

Unfortunately, fleas can live in a bed. They may also live in your sofa or in your carpet. They are most likely infesting your pet’s bed as well. It will take a series of specific steps to deal with fleas that have decided to make your home theirs. You may already have treated your pet, which is the first step. These steps will help you rid your home of fleas.

Wash Your Bedding: Gather up your bedding and wash it in hot water and then dry it on high heat. In order to deal with it effectively, it is best to wash everything all at once, and you may need to go to a laundry mat. To avoid spreading fleas to your car or other people, double bag your items and throw the bags away after you are at the laundry mat.

Vacuum Your Furniture: Vacuuming your bed and your furniture can help clear up any fleas because it will vacuum up the adults and the eggs. After vacuuming, you will need to talk the vacuum bag out to the trash. If you have a bag less vacuum, empty it into a trash bag outside and immediately dispose of it.

Vacuum Your Carpets: Flea eggs will drop off your pet, and a large portion land in the carpet. Fortunately, they are not sticky and a vacuuming carefully can pick up a lot of them. You should vacuum on a daily basis until your home is flea free.

Schedule a Flea Treatment: A professional flea treatment will get rid of any remaining fleas that may be in your home. The treatments are more effective than flea powders and are not as messy. You can also have a preventive applied to your yard.

If you are primarily being bitten in your bed, and you do not notice that your pet scratching more often, you may have a problem other than fleas. Bed bugs are becoming much more common. Check to see if you have blood stains in your sheets or that your bites appear in a row. If you see these signs, you may have bed bugs, and you should schedule a bed bug inspection and treatment for that instead. Bed bugs are very difficult to treat on your own. They are also difficult to spot and nocturnal. A flea exterminator is trained on how to find them and treat them effectively.

Asian Tiger Mosquitoes in Virginia

asian tiger mosquito

The Virginia Department of Health has reported that the Asian Tiger Mosquito is the type of mosquito that causes the most bites in the state of Virginia. This mosquito originated in Asia, but has spread to many other countries. It is a mosquito that tends to live where humans are instead of marshy areas, which may be one of the reasons why so many people are bitten by this type of mosquito.

What Does the Asian Tiger Mosquito Look Like?

The Asian Tiger mosquito is striped and looks similar to a tiger. It is dark with white stripes. Although it can be difficult to identify a mosquito when it is biting you, if you capture the mosquito and examine it closely you will be able to identify it.

Where Does the Asian Tiger Mosquito Breed?

This species of mosquito can breed in just one tablespoon of water. It is different from other mosquitoes because it is considered a container breeder. It will not breed if there is soil found in the water. Instead it looks for containers that contain water like old jugs or buckets. It may breed in a rock pool or a hole that is in a large rock.

What Diseases Does the Asian Tiger Mosquito Carry?

This mosquito carries West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and La Crosse encephalitis in the Virginia area. However, it is also a known carrier of dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya. If these viruses spread to the United States, this mosquito can spread it rapidly because of the way it hunts.

How Does the Asian Tiger Mosquito Behave?

The mosquito tends to rest in foliage and then hunt when a victim comes close to them. They do not spend a lot of time in flight, but spend their time in shady, cool areas. The mosquitoes are active all day long, and so you may be bitten at any time during the day, while other mosquitoes tend to be more active at dawn and at dusk. A mosquito control program may be effective for your yard since it will treat the foliage in your yard where this type of mosquito likes to spend most of its time.

When trying to protect yourself from being bitten by the Asian Tiger mosquito, the CDC recommends you use a mosquito repellent with DEET. Although it’s best to have a professional mosquito control company eliminate the area surrounding your home, using a repellent will add a second layer of protection against being bitten.

 

How Can I Tell if I Have a Tick?

tick exterminationTicks are small and many people do not realize that they have bitten by a tick until they begin to have symptoms of a tick-borne disease such as the bull’s eye rash or a fever and a headache. The shorter the time the tick is attached to you, the lower your chances of contracting an illness. This means it is important to check for ticks regularly.

Can I Feel a Tick Bite?

Generally, you will not feel the tick attach to you and bite you. While it is attached, you will not be able to tell that it is there. However, after the tick detaches it might itch. It may also be red.

Will I See a Tick?

You can see a tick when it is attached to you. However, seed ticks can be difficult to spot since they are very small. Seed ticks tend to bite in the spring, and it is important to pay close attention when looking for ticks during that time. A tick can look like a mole or a freckle, but on closer examination it will have legs.

How Do I Check for Ticks?

It is a good idea to check for ticks on a regular basis. You can start by checking under your arms, around your waist, between your legs, inside your belly button and the back of your knees. Ticks also like to hide in the ears and around the hairline. You should have someone check that area for you. After you are in an area that is prone to ticks, you should also check your clothing to make sure there are not ticks crawling on you looking for a place to attach.

What Do I Do If Find a Tick?

If you find a tick on you, you will need to remove it. You should never smother it in oil or lotion or burn it, since this can cause it to regurgitate into you and increase the chance of getting a disease. Simply take a pair of tweezers and pull straight back until the entire tick detaches. Do not leave the head in your skin. Be sure to take note if you begin to feel sick within the next month and mention to your doctor that you were bitten by a tick.

Although most dangerous ticks are those who a carrying a disease, you might want to read about which ticks are the most dangerous overall.

Do Fleas Live on People?

flea close upFlea bites can be quite easy, and when you spot them on your pet, you may be worried about all of the work that you will need to do to get rid of the fleas. You may be worried about needing to clean and treat your pets and your home. The most common flea to affect your pets is the cat flea. If you have any flea bites, you may also be wondering if you need to treat yourself or your family for fleas.

While cat fleas do feed on humans, they do not live on them. After feeding they will jump off of you to look for a new victim. This means you do not need to worry about treating yourself or family members when you begin dealing with a flea infestation. Clearing up the infestation on your pets and in your home will solve the flea problem.

Treating Your Pets

The first step is treat your pets for fleas. You can give them a bath in flea shampoo and then use a flea comb to remove the rest of the fleas from their fur. This treatment will kill any adult fleas that are on your pets. In order to prevent future flea infestations or from them picking up any fleas that are currently eggs or larvae, you should start using a flea preventative, which can be a flea collar, oral medication or drops you apply to the back your pet. Your vet can help you choose the best treatment.

Treating Your Home

The next step in clearing up the flea infestation is treating your home. It is important to wash bedding and clothes where fleas like to hide. You need to vacuum carefully both the floor and the upholstery. Even with the careful cleaning, it may be difficult to get rid of fleas without a treatment. There are a number of treatments you can purchase at a store, but they can be messy and time consuming. The best option is to contact a professional who understands the life cycles of fleas, and can effectively eliminate the adult fleas and prevent them from reproducing.

Mosquito Life Cycle

mosquito exterminationMosquitoes are a resilient species that have been torturing people and other animals for as long as mankind has existed on the earth. Understanding the life cycle of a mosquito can help us understand how to prevent new mosquitoes from breeding and the best way to prevent them from developing into adults.

Eggs

Mosquitoes will lay their eggs in a wet area. This may be a swampy area or in water that has collected in pots, or even in soda bottle lids. The eggs may be laid individually, but they also laid in groups of up to 200 that float in the water connected to each other. The eggs will wait until the conditions are right to hatch. They can last through a mild winter or they may hatch with 48 hours if the conditions are right.

Larvae

The larvae live in the water. They will go through several stages of molting as larva. The mosquitoes need oxygen and will either breathe through tubes or live very close to the surface of the water. During this stage, they will feed on microorganisms. They need water that is not running, but still to grow in.

Pupa

The pupa stage is when the mosquito changes from the larva to an adult. They will do this inside of a cocoon, but they can move it through the water with a tail that remains. They may only spend two days in this phase.

Adult Mosquitoes

When the mosquitoes emerge from the cocoon, they will rest until their wings are dry. Male mosquitoes feed on nectar and will not bother people. Female mosquitoes need to feed on blood so that they can lay eggs. They will find victims by looking for heat and CO2 emissions.

Once you understand the life cycle of them mosquito, you can see that it is not enough to just kill the adult mosquitoes, since there will always be more mosquitoes that are produced. You can treat the adults by using a barrier spray that will keep mosquitoes off your property. You can also treat the larvae with a larvicide that they will feed on during this stage. This kills them and stops them from developing into adults. Another way to prevent mosquitoes is to make sure there is no standing water on your property and that you have proper drainage so that the mosquitoes do not have a place to lay their eggs.

Learn about how mosquitoes spread the West Nile Virus and the dangers it can present to you and your family

3 Ticks in Virginia and the Diseases They Cause

tickTicks are carriers of a number of diseases throughout the United States. However, ticks have different habitats and each carry different diseases. When you find a tick on you, it can be helpful to identify the type of tick, so that you can be aware of any symptoms you may develop. This can help you seek medical treatment much sooner. In Virginia, there are three types of ticks that carry diseases.

1. Blacklegged Tick

The blacklegged tick looks different at the different stages. As adults, the females have a reddish body with a black head and legs. The adult male is almost entirely brown with a lighter ring around the edge of its shell. The nymph is a light brown color. The nymph is actually the stage where it spreads the most disease.  Blacklegged Ticks will spread anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Lyme disease.

2. Lone Star Tick

The lone star tick is a unique tick. The nymphs are a light brown color and more difficult to identify. The males have a patterned back, while the females have a single white dot in its back.  The nymph and adult female will spread disease. The lone star tick carries ehrlichiosis and tularemia. Additionally, there have been cases where people develop an allergy to meat after a tick bite.

3. American Dog Tick

The American dog tick is also a common tick in Virginia. The nymph is brown. The adult male has a patterned back, while the female is mostly brown with a pattern right underneath the shell. The adult female is the one most likely to transmit diseases. The American dog tick will transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Symptoms to Watch

Many tick related illnesses have similar symptoms when they start. Most will start with a fever and a headache. There may be nausea and vomiting. Often a rash will develop which will help the doctor determine the they of disease. Lyme disease has a distinctive bull eye’s rash. Rocky Mountain spotted fever has a spotted rash that starts on the wrists and ankles. Ehrlichiosis will also have a rash. If you catch babesiosis you may jaundice. If you notice any of these symptoms after a tick bite, you should seek medical care.

Find out the 5 Ways Fleas Can Make People Sick and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you and your family.