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Category: Sarasota Pest Control

The 9 Things Mosquitoes Hate – And You’ll Love

Things Mosquitoes HateYes, we sometimes jokingly refer to them as the ‘state bird.’ But even before there was the threat of the Zika virus spreading throughout the sunshine state, mosquitoes have been one of our least favorite Florida residents.

And unlike the snowbirds, they don’t have a season, although they do tend to be more active during the rainy summers.

Chances are you’ve been woken up a few mornings by low-flying mosquito control planes, or driven through a late night cloud of DEET in more rural areas, as state and county officials try to combat the nasty little biters the way they have for the past 50 years. But those aren’t the only solutions to the problem. Here are 9 ways you can combat mosquito bites without harmful chemicals.

9 Ways to Combat Mosquitoes Naturally

  1. DRYNESS: The first, and possibly most obvious way to win the war on mosquitoes is by keeping it dry. As we mentioned, the rainy season is the most populous mosquito weather. That’s because the momma mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water. They dry out, then hatch once the water returns. So avoiding any areas of standing water on your property, from pet dishes, to birdbaths, to those bright blue tarps is essential to cutting down the mosquito population.
  2. SMOKE: There’s a reason torches are so popular for background get-togethers in Florida – and it’s not because of their more tropical look. Whether dipped in citronella or just generating an ashen atmosphere, smoke is a natural repellent for mosquitoes. Of course, some citronella is better than none, but even just placing a burning paper egg carton on the edge of your barbeque grill is a great way to keep the biters at bay.

Clothing

  1. LOOSE-FITTING Clothes: Believe it or not, just covering up with long sleeves is not enough. In fact, if your outfit is too tight, it might make you more appealing to hungry momma mosquitoes. Wearing clothing that is more loose fitting or even baggy not only makes it harder for mosquitoes to find your exposed skin, but it also keeps you cooler – and harder for the heat–driven insects to gravitate towards. We don’t, however, recommend wearing those pants that fall off your rear…😜
  2. LIGHT COLORED Clothes: In the same vein, darker colors are more visible to mosquitoes and mark you as a more tasty treat to their insect eyes. Lighter, pale colors blend into the background in the biter’s sight. Darker colors can not only appear warmer to mosquitoes, but the contrast also makes you stand out more, potentially drawing them in.
  3. FAN: Believe it or not, a good stiff breeze – whether natural or generated by a good fan – also helps keep mosquitoes away. You might recall from your school biology class that we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide for plants. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide, which the wind from a decent fan disperses and dilutes. Plus, mosquitoes are weak fliers, so the breeze keeps them from getting close enough to bite you.

Flavors

  1. OIL OF LEMON EUCALYPTUS: When New Mexico State University looked for alternative ways to fight the spread of the Zika virus, they found that certain essential oils and plants naturally repelled mosquitoes. Most of us already know that Citronella works well, but cedar and garlic also have varying rates of effectiveness. The top two most effective were lemon eucalyptus oils and
  2. CITRUS: Citrus plants, as well as their crushed leaves and extracts made from them, naturally repel mosquitoes. Oranges, lemons, lavender, basil and catnip naturally produce oils that repel mosquitoes and are generally pleasant to the nose – unless you’re of the feline persuasion. The odor that mosquitoes most hate though is one you might not have heard of: Lantana. Their bitter citrusy smell is one that mosquitoes tend to avoid unless they’re really hungry. And they only cost a few dollars per home.
  3. BEER: Unfortunately, we aren’t about to tell you that drinking alcoholic spirits will repel mosquitoes. In fact, it’s the opposite. There’s something about the chemical reaction when the body processes alcohol, especially beer, that exudes a sweet smell in your sweat that attracts the hungry insects.
  4. PICARIDIN: We’re guessing you aren’t that familiar with this last one, at least by its proper name. But you may have heard of “Fisherman’s Formula.” Picaridin is a synthetic compound developed from the piperine plant – the same place we get table pepper. Unlike DEET, it doesn’t kill mosquitoes, but makes the user practically invisible to hungry mosquitoes. And if you’re planning a woodland hike, it chases off chiggers, too!

Of course, there’s another solution to preventing mosquitoes that we’ve found very effective. Our exclusive No Bite Zones technology not only keeps mosquitoes from biting you, it turns the hungry momma mosquitoes – and their offspring – into vegans, who don’t even feed on mammals. And unlike the dangerous chemicals you might find elsewhere, GardenPaqs from Good News Pest Solutions are safe for your family, your pets, and in this case, the mosquitoes, leaving them free to do their job as pollinators. Contact us today for more details!

 

Extreme Bugs: The Orchid Mantis

Extreme Bugs The Orchid MantisIt’s been a while, but we’re finally back with one of our fun fan favorites – Extreme Bugs! This time around, we’re taking a look at one of the most unique members of the insect community – the beautiful but deadly Orchid Mantis.

Hymenopus coronatus uses cryptic mimicry to draw in its prey – other insects – by taking on the appearance of a beautiful flower – or so we thought. Recent studies show that the insects the Mantis consumes aren’t fooled by their predator’s resemblance to flowers, but simply to its brightly colored and petal shaped body.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. As you can see from our title picture, the Orchid Mantis sports a brightly colored pink and white body, and that body is flattened, making it look more like a flower than its brown, angular Praying Mantis cousins. And while the Orchid Mantis is the first known animal to be a true flower mimic, all isn’t as it seems. Although the Mantis takes its name from the orchid flower, in fact, it doesn’t look like an orchid any more than just any generic flower.

For years, naturalists believed that the Mantis was drawing its victims by camouflaging itself among flowers. But it turns out those were assumptions made based on limited facts, the Mantis’ being very rare in nature. And while we think it looks like a specific flower, the bugs it attracts just like the pretty colors that, to their limited brains, appear as food sources, as opposed to their doom.

The Mantis’ aggressive mimicry is not unknown to the insect world – Bolas spiders mimic the mating pheromones of female moths to draw horny male moths to their death and the female Photorus firefly mimics the flash pattern of other species of fireflies to bring in male suitors for dinner. Basically, males ‘in the mood’ are easily distracted by sparkling lights and pleasant smells, leaving them confused and nearly helpless. Uh, male insects, that is…

The Orchid Mantis, however, doesn’t discriminate on what they will feed on, enjoying a variety of flying insects of all genders, using their flowery colors and sensory exploitation to attract houseflies, bees, blue bottle flies – even in some cases butterflies! And their flower-like appearance protects them from birds and other natural predators.

Orchid Mantis, just one more example of the wonder of God’s creation and another interesting chapter in our exploration of Extreme Bugs!

Romantic Rats Ruin Parisian Parks

Rats in ParisMost folks like to do something special for New Year’s Eve – shoot off some fireworks, drop in at Disney, maybe even brave the crowd in Times Square to watch the ball drop. But one prime celebration location is suffering from an ages-old infestation that the most romantic city in the world just can’t get a handle on – the Parisian rat population.

We all remember from our history classes that the nasty little rodents spread the Bubonic plague – in fact, recent examinations of history have proven that the Black Death of the 1300’s that ravaged close to half of the population of Paris was not spread by rats and other rodents, although most people still assume they were to blame. Given their history, it’s no surprise that, despite the Pixar film, most rats are still not welcome at Parisian dinner tables.

Yet, despite the city government’s pledge to completely “de-raticize” the Renaissance tourist attraction in 2014, it’s apparently more visibly infested than ever before, forcing the closing of nine popular parks in the City of Light – including the famous Parc du Champ-de-Mars, home of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, animal control officers say this is the worst the city has seen in almost 40 years.

And there’s a reason that we said a visible problem – it appears the rats are overrunning the above ground city because of a huge overpopulation below ground. Now there’s something you don’t want to hear, especially if you were planning a trip to the city’s historic catacombs. And the most popular plan of attack? To drive the rats back into the sewers – not, we’re thinking, a viable solution to stopping the spread of a disease, should that recur.

The problem is apparently, two-fold – new European regulations, meant to mirror ones in the United States, changed the way rats were poisoned, as the old ways could also lead to water contamination as well as being accidentally ingested by curious pets and children. So now the rats have to seek out the poisoned bait in enclosed boxes – a lot harder draw for the rodents who can easily find a smorgasbord fit for the Rat King in open garbage pails.

In fact, in the weeks since the new regulations took effect, not a single rat has ventured into the boxes of death – and the ready supply of food means the rats can continue to reproduce at an alarming rate. Rats can mate every 3 weeks, producing a litter of 4-5 baby rats, and those newly born babies can get pregnant themselves within 6-9 weeks.

What’s worse – even if the rats in Paris’ past (Rattus rattus) didn’t spread the Black Death, their distant Asian cousins– Rattus norvegicus – which was responsible for the Modern Plague in the 1860’s, arrived in the French capital about 200 years ago and are now the dominant species as well as known spreaders of salmonella and swamp fever.

Still, the Parisian animal control people do believe the rats have a place in their city – just out of sight. When properly maintained, the rats work well as composting agents, devouring waste that would otherwise need to be disposed of, and their furry little bodies – they also work great as pipe cleaners. Once again proving that every living creature has its own God-given purpose. Who knew? 🐭

If you see rats in your home or on your property, give us a call. Good News Pest Solutions has been recognized as the Gulf Coast’s leading expert on keeping rats and mice out of your home and in reducing the rodent population outdoors as well. We guarantee your property for a year after treatment and, like all our solutions, employ biologically safe alternatives to harmful chemicals that protect your pets and family while eliminating the pests. Contact us today!

A Christmas Prayer for You!

Merry Christmas 2017

It’s Christmas and we love celebrating it here at Good News Pest Solutions! It’s a joy and an honor to be able to share the “Good News” with you. This is our prayer for you this holiday season! (The credit for this goes to the incomparable Bebe Winans!)

My Christmas Prayer

I pray for peace
Blessings and honor
Heaven right earth’s despair
This is my Christmas prayer

For those that grieve
God will bring comfort
Laughter will rapture there
This is my Christmas prayer

See I pray that love will rule and reign
And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world
As we learn to trust and care
This is my Christmas prayer

I pray for you, yes, I know you do
That your triumph and conquer
Poses the strength you need to bare
This is my Christmas prayer

For those in need
There would be plenty
And each other’s burdens share
Oh this is my Christmas prayer

See I pray that love will rule and reign
And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world
As we learn to trust and care
This is my Christmas prayer

So let hope fill our hearts, let’s let hope fill our hearts
Shine the light through the dark
All around the world and everywhere
I will pray this Christmas prayer, prayer

See I pray that love will rule and reign
And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world
As we learn to trust and care
This is my Christmas, this is my Christmas prayer

See I pray that love will rule and reign
And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world
As we learn to trust and care
This is my Christmas prayer
This is my Christmas prayer

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Good News Pest Solutions! We wish you the happiest of days and that the love of God fills your heart to overflowing this holiday season!

2016: The Year of the Mosquito

2016 Year of the Mosquito2016 has been an unusual year for news. From unexpected outcomes to Presidential elections to police shootings to the highest focus on resolving racial tensions than we’ve seen for the past 50 years.

But one of the biggest news stories for the Gulf Coast of Florida this year was the Zika virus and its primary source of distribution, our old friend, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The Zika virus was first discovered in 1947, in a captured monkey, by scientists studying yellow fever in the Zika Forest of Uganda. Within 4 years it had been identified in humans, but until 2007, only 14 cases had ever been documented.

In May of 2015, the virus, which had previously only been found in Africa and Asia, was confirmed to have spread to Brazil. By December, cases had popped up throughout the Caribbean.

By February of 2016, the Center for Disease Control & the World Health Organization, based on an abnormally high number of babies being born with small heads, a symptom of microcephaly, caused by Zika, declared a public health emergency for Brazil and the American continents.

With the Summer Games already scheduled to overtake Rio de Janiero and the close proximity of Brazil to our Florida coastlines, the mosquito quickly became the star of newscasts both locally and nationally.

While the mosquito, in general, has always been a known vector for various diseases, including encephalitis and West Nile virus, the rapid spread of the Zika virus pushed the general public to demand increased efforts to control mosquitoes.

When cases of the Zika virus started appearing in Florida and Texas, even the most somber minds started to worry. Scientists began searching for a vaccine to prevent Zika, but say that even in the best of situations, it would not be available until early 2018.

The symptoms of Zika include mild fever, conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes), headache, joint pain, and in most cases, a skin rash. There is no cure for Zika, but mosquito bites can be prevented by utilizing insect repellent and wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and getting rid of standing water (a mosquito breeding ground). Once infected by Zika, it can also be transmitted to sexual partners for 2-3 weeks.

Because of the chance of birth defects, pregnant women are considered particularly susceptible to Zika and should take extra precautions, and some families might want to wait before trying to get pregnant.

While governments rushed to utilize their standard practice of spraying harmful chemicals to kill mosquitoes, our Florida universities looked for other options like synthetic insecticides and sterilization.

But here at Good News Pest Solutions, we think we have the best option around. One that’s good for your family, pets, and surprisingly…the mosquitoes.

Our popular No Bite Zones technology doesn’t kill mosquitoes, which can upset the ecosystem, but instead converts the biting mosquitos into vegans, leaving them with no desire to bite you or your pets. And like all of our solutions, it’s entirely eco-friendly and safe for your whole family.

As it starts to get cooler, we’ll see fewer mosquitoes out anywhere, but as soon as temperatures start to rise, you can be sure they’ll be back. Just this week another case was reported in Texas, bringing the total cases within the United States to just under 4500, with 1100 of those pregnant women. Don’t wait until spring, take precautions to protect yourself and your family today.

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