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Uh-oh. . . Zika is associated with more than just birth defects. But should we be worried?

The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger Mosquito) became an international public health emergency in 2016, when a large outbreak in Brazil revealed that the virus caused a significant birth defect called microcephaly in babies born from Zika-infected pregnant women. This defect is characterized by abnormally small heads and severely damaged brains. In 2016, Zika cases hit their peak in the United States, and it became a nationally notifiable condition with a total of 5,168 symptomatic cases reported to the CDC. Thankfully, since then, cases here have dropped significantly.

While only about 20% of those infected with Zika will ever develop noticeable symptoms (muscle pain, headache, fever, joint pain, pinkeye, etc.), the main concern for the public remains to be in pregnant women. While it is no longer a threat in the United States, there are currently Zika outbreaks in many areas of the world, especially in Central and South America, Indonesia, and Middle Africa, and the CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to any of these places at all.

However, microcephaly is not the only serious health risk associated with the Zika virus. It has long been suspected that there is a link between Zika and a rare neurological disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). This is a very serious disease that occurs when one’s own immune system attacks the nerves. It starts with numbness and tingling in the extremities and can quickly spread to paralysis of the whole body, including muscles that affect breathing, if not treated early. The good news is that most people fully recover from GBS, though some have permanent damage. Very few people (between 3-5%) die from it.

Recently, Peru declared an alert over a suspected outbreak of Guillain-Barré syndrome, with 42 confirmed cases in the first four months of 2018, compared to only 22 cases in the same time period in 2016. This increase in GBS cases is suspected to be linked to the increased number of Zika virus in the area.

While researchers have strongly suspected there is some kind of link between the two diseases, it is important to note that these numbers are only correlations. According to the CDC, a definite link between Zika and GBS has yet to be found, though they are continuing to do more research. Only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection actually get GBS.

Thankfully, the chances of getting infected with the Zika virus here in Illinois (or anywhere in the continental United States) are extremely low these days. But if you are traveling internationally, especially if you or your travel companions are pregnant or possibly pregnant, please check out the CDC’s interactive map of current worldwide Zika activity to learn about precautions you should take to avoid contracting the Zika virus and any other associated illnesses.

While Zika really isn’t concern here, and thus not GBS, it doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. There are still plenty of mosquito-borne diseases we are at risk of here, especially West Nile virus, which has been confirmed in both animals and people in our state since May. Your best protection against contracting a mosquito-borne illness is avoiding mosquitos all together. Mosquito Squad’s signature barrier treatment eliminates nearly 90% of mosquitoes (and ticks!) in your yard for three weeks at a time. Call us today to get started on fighting the bite and taking back your yard at 217-919-9292. Consultation is always free!

Don't be fooled by the "official" numbers -- Lyme disease is more common than you think

When the CDC released its report in May 2018 that vector-borne diseases had more than tripled since 2004, Lyme disease accounted for over 80% of the tick-borne diseases. Between 2000-2016, Illinois had 2,529 confirmed cases of Lyme, according to TickCheck.com. While not even 3,000 cases of the most common tick-borne disease in the entire state spanning 16 years may seem like Illinois got off pretty easy, it’s important to know these numbers do not represent a definitive count of how many actual cases there were.

It is widely agreed upon and acknowledged by public health officials at local, state, and federal levels that Lyme disease is grossly underreported. The actual number of cases of Lyme disease in any given area, is estimated to be likely ten times the number of reported cases. So in our case, we’re looking at probably 25,290 cases of Lyme disease between 2000-2016.

So why such a big difference? There are many reasons, and a lot of it comes down to the choices doctors have to make when diagnosing and reporting Lyme cases, and the limited resources (including staff) that health agencies can realistically devote to follow up on those diagnoses.

Semantics and procedures make Lyme numbers murky

It’s important to understand that “under-reporting” doesn’t necessarily mean under-diagnosing. In many cases, doctors safely conclude and diagnose Lyme disease and prescribe antibiotics without a blood test, by checking for the tell-tale rash and with the occurrence of other symptoms. However, without the blood test, public health officials cannot count the case as officially “confirmed.”

In public health, a case of a given disease is either “suspected,” “probable,” or “confirmed.” There are different classifications for each of these terms depending on disease, but for Lyme disease, the medical profession has agreed that “confirmed” means that a blood sample has tested positive for the bacterial antibodies present in an affected person. A “probable” case is when a patient has the telltale bullseye rash and a history of exposure to deer ticks. A “suspected” case can involve a variety of circumstances that don’t include the rash, exposure history, or a blood test.

These differences matter because the blood test “confirmed” number is what the CDC uses to aggregate their statistics across the country to create a national picture of a given disease’s prominence. To further complicate things, there are some people who are, in fact, infected by Lyme-causing bacteria whose bodies don’t begin generating antibodies until a month or more after infection. By then a person is treated and feeling well, and isn’t going to go back to the doctor for a lab test to confirm it. Why would they bother if they’re feeling better?

Regardless of “confirmed,” “suspected,” or even “probable” numbers, what matters is that there are more tick-borne diseases like Lyme and others than we think there are, and these rates are on the rise. The best way to protect yourself from contracting a tick-borne disease is by avoiding ticks all together. Mosquito Squad’s tick control method combines our already highly-effective barrier spray with tick tubes to eliminate ticks in your yard at every life stage, not just when they become adults. We guarantee nearly 90% (possibly more) reduction in ticks or your money back. Call us today at 217-919-9292 to get started on taking your yard back. We look forward to helping you fight the bite!

So how exactly do mosquito yard treatments work?

At Mosquito Squad, we highly tout our signature mosquito yard treatment (or “barrier treatment”). We were the first company to ever offer a service for homeowners that would guarantee nearly 90% elimination of mosquitoes on contact and for up to three weeks after application. We invented the service, but before that, we had to invent the actual product. It’s important to note that our barrier treatment doesn’t just work for mosquitoes — it is equally effective on other bugs, too. From ticks to gnats to Japanese beetles to even spiders, it’s a bona-fide bug beater.

Let’s talk about the service first, before we get into the science.

Our mosquito yard treatment process

First we treat any standing water and/or other potential mosquito-breeding sites in your yard with larvicide, which eliminates mosquitoes in their larval stage, the last stage of their life cycle before becoming adults. Then we follow the Ts of mosquito control (tip, toss, turn, remove tarps. . .), which we encourage everyone to do at home as well. This is key in stopping the life cycle of mosquitoes in your yard.

After that, we start the application process of our specially-developed formula. We wear backpacks and masks, and yes, we know we kind of look like Ghostbusters. Go ahead and laugh at us, but our technicians are all fully-licensed and we treat safety as a priority. (You can point and make jokes while you’re inside your house watching us, and we’ll never even know.) We start at the perimeter of you yard and work our way inward, spraying everything we can while avoiding the bee-pollinated things like flowers. This includes bushes, trees, foliage (even the undersides of leaves), wood chips, on and under decks, etc.

While we’re distributing the treatment, any adult mosquitoes in that come into contact with it are immediately knocked down. In about 30 minutes, our EPA-registered formula is dry. It’s odorless and colorless, but it leaves a residual, invisible “barrier” or “fence” against bugs. While technically it’s adhering or “sticking” to everything it was applied to, it’s not actually “sticky” — you can’t even tell it’s there. But for the next three weeks, any new mosquitoes (or other biting bugs) that come into contact with it will be eliminated.

Let’s say, for example, that you’ve got our mosquito yard treatment, but your next door neighbor doesn’t. Mosquitoes have no concept of property lines, so at times they’ll fly over from your neighbor’s yard and visit yours. When a mosquito lands on a leaf, your deck, a tree stump, or anything else with the barrier treatment, it is exposed to the insecticide in our formula and is then eliminated. (Yes, there will be a few times that a wayward mosquito flies from your neighbor’s yard and lands on a human directly — we can’t really control that, which is why we say “nearly 90% elimination.” Still. . . a +/-10% margin of error is pretty good!)

Now here comes the science

We developed our formula to be time-released through micro encapsulation. Micro encapsulation is a process in which tiny particles or droplets are surrounded by a coating to create small “capsules,” which have many useful properties. There are many different ways to do this which we won’t get into, but basically, our micro encapsulation is the same as what allows many prescriptions to be “extended release.” Our process controls the pace that the chemicals we use are released from their capsules, which makes it more effective. Compare this with a typical adulticide that a municipal mosquito control program would use, which knocks down a mosquito that comes into contact with it and that’s it. Ours hangs around for a while (three weeks, in fact) and keeps on working.

Mosquito Squad can’t give away the secret recipe to our formula, but know that all of our products are registered with the EPA, and the active ingredient common to all of our barrier sprays is a synthetic version of the chrysanthemum flower. This same ingredient is found in many household products, including products used to treat scabies and lice. Of course, nothing lasts forever and while our formula is incredibly resilient, weather conditions do slowly break it down naturally. That is why we recommend re-application of our barrier protection mosquito yard treatment after three weeks, in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.

We acknowledge that there are other outdoor pest control companies out there who also claim to have micro encapsulated, time-released formulas. But Mosquito Squad invented the industry, and invented the first formula to do this in 2005, and we continue to develop and refine ours to make it even more effective. The other guys can’t say that. Our specially developed formula is guaranteed to eliminate nearly 90% of all mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting bugs in your yard for up to three straight weeks.

So choose the originators of the service and inventors of the science and industry of mosquito yard treatments and call Mosquito Squad of Central Illinois today for the longest-lasting, most effective barrier protection on the market. Call 217-919-9292 for a free consultation and/or to sign up. Or, if it’s easier, fill out the contact form on our home page and we’ll reach out to you. No matter how we get in touch, we look forward to helping you take back your yard!

Why the SQUAD?

You’ve got a mosquito problem in your yard, and you need relief from these little suckers pronto. It’s nearly impossible to enjoy the outdoors at home anymore. So what do you do? You alert the SQUAD, that’s what!

But why should you go with Mosquito SQUAD, when you’ve got other choices? Surely, every company does the same thing — get rid of mosquitoes — so there’s hardly any difference, right?

Wrong. Here’s why you should alert the SQUAD and not one of the other guys:

We invented the industry.

That’s right — the SQUAD was here first. Before 2005, the idea of having your own private mosquito control service at home was unfathomable. But then the SQUAD created the barrier protection spray that guaranteed elimination of nearly 90% of mosquitoes (and ticks) in homeowners yards for up to 21 days at a time, and suddenly BOOM! An industry born. Our product and our service was so revolutionary that soon, copycats followed. Even the “big guys” whose names are more closely associated with termites wanted in on the game. You could say we’re trendsetters, but our products and services are anything but “trendy” — they’re a long-lasting solution to a problem that people have had since the dawn of mankind. (Mosquitoes have actually been around longer than us — 90-100 million years!) So, as the forefathers of the field, the SQUAD has some serious mosquito authority compared to the other guys.

We’re outdoor pest control specialists.

Yes, “mosquito” is in our name, but we don’t just stick with eliminating mosquitoes. While we primarily deal with mosquitoes and ticks, our barrier treatment formula also eliminates other bugs like spiders, biting midges, fleas, and more. For a couple different bugs we need to alter our formula slightly, but the result is always the same — 90% fewer biting bugs in your yard or your money back. Mosquito SQUAD is not your average Joe. Really, there’s nothing “average” about the SQUAD — we show up, we eliminate your bugs, and we keep on eliminating them for nearly 3 weeks after we’ve left your property!

Professionalism from start to finish.

We hear many stories from customers who have gone with one of our competitors in the past. Most often, the stories are about how the other guys were late for their scheduled appointment, they were sloppy in appearance, and even used foul language. With Mosquito SQUAD, we hold all of our technicians to the highest standards of professionalism. We always show up on time, clean-cut and in branded uniforms and trucks, and will treat every customer with kindness, courtesy, and respect. Our applicators are professionally trained and certified, and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Plus, whether you’re home or not when we do a

Comprehensive, thorough treatment of your property

The SQUAD doesn’t hold back. We cover a much larger area than our competitors, treating 10-20 feet beyond the perimeter of your property, thereby eliminating mosquitoes and ticks from where they reside. In addition, we treat the standing vegetation within the interior of the yard and the activity areas. Other companies simply treat the activity areas or the perimeter only. We also target and treat potential breeding areas (standing water) with larvicide to control mosquito breeding. This critical part of the treatment process is often overlooked by our competitors.

Social responsibility at home and abroad.

The SQUAD cares about our community, both on a global and local level. Globally, we are partnered with Malaria No More, a worldwide nonprofit hat is dedicated to the mission of eradicating malaria. For every treatment the SQUAD performs, we donate $1 to the organization, which helps educate communities and provide protective mosquito bed netting where malaria is most rampant, primarily in Africa. Some franchise owners even travel overseas and do “hands on” service with these communities.

On the home front, Mosquito Squad of Central Illinois is active with many chambers of commerce, sponsors local sports teams, arts, health initiatives, and more. Giving back to our community is one of our highest priorities.

The SQUAD guarantees 100% Satisfaction

We want our customers to be mosquito-free and happy. If there’s any reason you’re not, just let us know and we’ll give your yard another treatment or offer your money back — no questions asked. The SQUAD is in the business of eliminating and repelling bugs, not customers, and if we don’t get rid of enough bugs to your liking the first time, we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you stick around as a customer.

So what are you waiting for? Alert the SQUAD today! You’ve got nothing to lose except the bugs! Call us at 217-919-9292 for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you take back your yard!

Yup, you bet Mosquito Squad controls Japanese beetles!

It’s that time of year when Japanese beetles are out in full force, destroying the vegetation in your yard one tiny bite at a time. If your garden, leaves, flower petals . . . you name it are showing tiny holes and a lace-like quality, you’ve likely got Japanese beetles. Even worse, if you’ve got patches of brown in your lawn . . . their grubs are underground feeding off your grass roots.

Mosquito Squad definitely takes care of Japanese beetles! Because of their destructive nature and ever-feeding lifecycle (both above ground and below), our advanced treatment is needed, which may include more frequent treatments, and/or additional products in the treatment protocol. Every situation is different, depending on the severity.

Please call us at 217-919-9292 to discuss your situation and one of our customer service staff will be able to help assess your issue and determine the best treatment.

Take your yard back from mosquitoes, ticks, and destructive Japanese beetles with the most trusted name in outdoor pest control — Mosquito Squad.

How does weather affect mosquito activity?

If you’ve ever visited AccuWeather.com, you’ll notice that they have a “mosquito activity report” that tells you how active the mosquitoes are that day and will be on days upcoming. This is some helpful information, but how do they know these things? As it turns out, the weather has a lot more to do with mosquito activity than people give it credit for.

Rainfall

Any time there is rain, there is increased mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay their eggs in, therefore the more puddles there are on the ground, the more of a “playground” for mosquito moms laying eggs, and for those eggs to move through their life cycle to larva, then pupa, then adult. From egg to adult, this can take as little as four days to as long as a month, but generally it takes a little more than a week. Keep in mind, though, that mosquitoes need stagnant water in order for this to happen. But it only takes a bottle cap full of water in order for a female mosquito’s raft of nearly 300 eggs to float in, so even if rain puddles dry up on the ground, stagnant water elsewhere make for prime mosquito-breeding areas. Tires seem to be a favorite, as they collect water on the inside and are a protected area for the babies to hatch and grow.

Heat and humidity

Mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures, therefore they can’t regulate their body heat and their temperature is essentially the same as their environment. Temperature and mosquito activity goes hand in hand with the insects flourishing in moist, relatively warm environments, functioning best at 80°F. Once the temperature lowers to about 60°F they become lethargic and anything below 50°F they find it hard to function at all. Different species are active at different times, but in general, most mosquitoes are extra active at dusk and dawn. Warm evening temperatures allow mosquitoes to thrive, since prolonged sun exposure can actually dehydrate them. But depending on the temperature, some species will continue biting throughout the night, which is why you may have woken up with itchy bites in the morning while camping. If they are sheltered from the wind and in relatively cloudy areas, mosquitoes will continue to bite throughout the day too. They generally stop flying around midnight, in cooler temperatures or when it is raining heavily.

But it can actually get too hot and dry for mosquitoes. The key here, is humidity. If it does get too hot and too dry, mosquitoes will not be as active and feeding as they usually are. But once the temperature drops a bit and gets within the tolerable range for mosquitoes, they’re more hungry and therefore biting more. Those that are infected with a disease, such as West Nile virus, will be feeding more frequently, which will increase the chances of an outbreak.

Cooler temperatures

Believe it or not, some species of mosquitoes hibernate. Not all species, but many of them go dormant in the wintertime, finding hiding spots to wait in for warmer weathers. When a female mosquito lays her eggs in the water in the fall, they can lie dormant and eventually freeze. But once the weather warms up a little bit, they can hatch and the life cycle will start all over again, which is why “mosquito season” is generally considered as between spring and fall. Tropical places and where it’s hot and humid year-round are unfortunate enough to never have a “season” for mosquitoes — it’s all the time!

But in the simplest of terms, the recipe for mosquito activity is heat + rainfall = humidity, and this, combined with stagnant water means the perfect soupy combination for mosquito madness.

There are ways you can avoid them, though. Follow the 5Ts to eliminate mosquito breeding areas in your own yard, and call Mosquito Squad of Central Illinois for one of our signature barrier treatments, which will eliminate nearly 90% of the mosquito population on your property for up to three weeks at a time. Contact us today at 217-919-9292 for a free consultation, and ask about our seasonal plans. We look forward to helping you take back your yard!

Why are some people more prone to mosquito bites?

Have you ever noticed that some people — maybe even yourself — tend to be mosquito magnets, while others don’t get bitten nearly as much? It’s not an illusion — mosquitoes definitely have their people preferences. Studies have shown that about 20% of people are considered “high attractor” types, which makes them more appealing. But why? What are these characteristics? As it turns out, there are a number of factors that play into this.

But just like not everyone has the same palate, different mosquitoes have different tastes, too. However, if you’re the favorite item on the mosquito menu, you probably don’t care if what’s biting you is Aedes aegypti, Culex pippins, or some other kind of mosquito — you just want them to stop!

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that makes the biters more bite-y on some folks:

Body heat

What draws a mosquito in to take a bite and get her blood meal (only the females bite) is body heat. If you’ve got a normal temperature that is slightly higher than the usual 98.6 F, you’re a beacon of warm, fresh blood. This actually puts pregnant women at a higher risk, as their body temperature averages a degree or two more than “normal.” Many studies about this have been done, and unfortunately, is a very big problem in areas where malaria is rampant, such as Africa.

Clothing color

Mosquitoes aren’t exactly the fashion police, but they definitely are attracted to darker colors. In the outside world full of bright greens of foliage, light-colored patios and decks, and overall vibrant colors, darker shades like black and navy blue stand out to them and they’re most likely to target you. So if your wardrobe is a little on the goth-y side, these tiny vampires have a better chance of finding you and taking a bite.

Alcohol

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but studies have shown that mosquitoes are more attracted to people after they’ve been drinking. Even a single beer can increase mosquito bites. So if you have a brew or two at the barbecue, prepare for more itching.

Moving around

Yes, just by moving, mosquitoes will be drawn to you. They’re detecting your body heat and it’s easier to identify you as a walking smorgasbord full of delicious blood.

Carbon dioxide

It sounds dumb, but simply by breathing out, mosquitoes can be attracted to you. They use an organ called a maxillary palp to do this, and can detect CO2 from over 150 people away. Consequently, people who breathe out more (generally heavier people) have been shown to attract more mosquitoes than others.

Properties of your skin and sweat

Nearly 85% of one’s susceptibility to mosquitoes has nothing to do with what they’re drinking, wearing, or whether they’re moving or breathing. A lot of it just comes down to genetics. The levels of lactic acid, ammonia, uric acid, and other things that you naturally produce in your sweat, as well as the composition of you the bacteria on your skin, make you a tastier treat to mosquitoes.

Your blood type

Just like some people prefer Coke to Pepsi, mosquitoes prefer Type O over Type B, and Type A comes in last place. Type O people are the most valuable blood donors for people and mosquitoes.

Major Reactions

Extreme reactions to mosquito bites are known as “Skeeter syndrome.” This is an extreme allergic reaction to mosquito saliva, and is similar to the reaction that people allergic to bee stings get. The swelling can be so extreme that the affected limb doubles in size, eyes swell shut, and the area can be hot and hard to the touch. Systemic reactions are possible as well, but these are rare. Nausea, hives, swelling of the lips and mouth can occur. It can also come with fever and even anaphylactic shock or asthma. This can be life threatening. Treatment for reactions can be anything from compressions with hot cloths and elevation, cortisone and other topical creams, or oral antihistamines. People who are known to have extreme reactions should carry an epinephrine auto-injector or EpiPen. An Epipen will stop immediate loss of airflow, but these types of reactions should send you straight to a hospital. Skeeter syndrome can affect people of any age, but it is more common in children, toddlers, and seniors. Healthy adults generally have “built up a tolerance” to mosquito bites and thus do not usually have reactions as extreme as this.

What about infections?

Of course, to simply not scratch is easier said than done, but if a mosquito bite is scratched to the point of bleeding, there’s a strong chance it will get infected. A mosquito bite that gets infected is called cellulitis, and it’s caused by bacteria that enters the punctured skin from the hands. Warning signs of cellulitis are swelling of the lymph nodes, a wide-spreading redness around the bite, red streaking that extends beyond the bite, puss or drainage, the area may feel warm to the touch, chills, or fever over 100 F. If you notice these signs in yourself or especially your child, definitely see a doctor. An infected bite generally needs antibiotics.

So yes, Mosquitoes do indeed have their people preferences, although most of these things are nothing you can really control — genetics, blood type, temperature, moving, or just breathing. But you can control mosquitoes in your yard so that they don’t view you and your family as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Contact Mosquito Squad of Central Illinois today to schedule a barrier treatment and you’ll be free from up to 90% of mosquitoes in your yard for three weeks at a time. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you fight the bite!

Want to torture a tick? Safely remove it first. Here's how.

If you see a tick embedded on yourself, a pet, or a two-legged family member, it’s perfectly normal to get grossed out. But once you get out the “Ewwwww!”-s, it’s time to get down to business and remove that tick safely.

Contrary to what you may have heard or seen online, “home remedies” like smothering a tick in peppermint oil, vaseline, or touching it with a hot match to remove an embedded tick are not effective and not safe.

Why? Because when a tick is stressed out, its natural reaction is to spew out of its mouth, which can increase the chances of infecting you with Lyme disease or another tick-borne disease. Generally it takes at least 24 hours of a tick being attached to transmit any diseases, but an agitated and “ticked off” tick can definitely speed up the process if it throws up inside your skin. Because it’s not possible to tell if a tick is a carrier of any dangerous pathogens or not while attached, it’s imperative to err on the safe side and treat each tick the same while we remove them.

If you fantasize about torturing a tick and want to act out those sadistic fantasies by burning it, plucking out its legs one by one, or whatever it is you’ve got in mind, we can’t stop you but please remove the tick safely first. There’s only one safe way to remove a tick and here’s how:

Step 1

Don’t freak out. Remember that a tick needs to be embedded for at least 24 hours before it transmits any diseases (if it’s a carrier), so it’s probably not necessary to panic. If it’s not embedded in the skin, lift it off with a piece of tape, then fold the tape over itself. Squash it, flush it, or just throw it away.

Step 2

Find some pointy-nosed tweezers, a couple cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, or soap and water. Common, blunt tweezers are not the right tool for the job, as they might actually squeeze germs into the bite site or risk ripping the tick, and that’s both dangerous and gross. (Grosser than this situation already is.)

Step 3

Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible, with the side of the tweezers lying nearly flat on the skin. The idea here is that you’re trying to get a firm grip on the tick’s mouthparts. Doing so will help in preventing the tick from regurgitating any infected secretions into your body. This tactic also has the greatest chance of removing all the parts of the tick’s mouth at once. Once you’ve got a good grip on the tick, pull straight up and away from the skin in a slow, steady motion until the tick comes out. If you notice any remaining mouthparts on the skin after tick extraction, remove them with clean tweezers. But if there are still pieces under the skin, don’t dig with your tweezers. Just let them be; the skin will push it out itself over time.

Step 4

Cleanup time! Wipe the bite site with rubbing alcohol and cotton, or wash with soap and water. Put the tick in a plastic bag or tape it to an index card and write the date on it, and where you think you picked up the tick. We encourage you to save your tick for a while, because if you do come down with any symptoms of illness, you can get it tested, which may make a diagnosis easier. Or, if you really, really want to torture the tick — have at it. Pluck out its legs. Set it on fire. Do whatever you want with it, but we don’t recommend putting it in the microwave or anywhere that might contaminate food. Just know that whatever kind of torture methods you decide to do, it might raise some eyebrows. But we’re not here to judge.

Watch the video below for a quick demonstration (of tick removal, not torture):

The best way to make sure you’re never in a position to need to have to remove a tick in the first place, though, is by avoiding ticks all together. While we can’t protect you from ticks when you’re out in the woods, we can definitely protect you from them in your own yard, where you spend the most time. Mosquito Squad’s tick control guarantees nearly 90% fewer ticks in your yard for three weeks at a time, and eliminates them at every life stage. Call us today at 217-919-9292 for the most effective tick control you can find. We look forward to helping you take back your yard!

West Nile Virus was just found in Decatur — Here’s what you should know

Recently it was confirmed that West Nile virus was just found in Decatur. You may have heard of West Nile virus, but what is it exactly, and should you be worried? Don’t worry — as the most trusted name in mosquito control, Mosquito Squad is here to explain.

West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States, and in 2016, became the most common vector-borne disease in Illinois, but is nearly tied with Lyme disease (a tick-borne disease). It is transmitted by the mosquito species Culex pippiens, and other members of the Culex genus, although it has been detected in many more types of mosquitoes. It is transmitted through bites from mosquitoes that picked it up from biting an infected bird.

There is no known vaccine or specific medications for West Nile. The majority of people who contract it don’t even show any symptoms, which makes it hard to count and report actual cases. Those who do show symptoms generally have mild ones, which include headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. More serious West Nile virus cases occur in one out of every 150 people infected, and those symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. People who are over age 60 are more susceptible to more severe West Nile, as are those with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants.

If WNV is suspected, it is treated by treating symptoms with over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms. Only in severe cases do people need to be hospitalized to receive treatment. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, last year 90 human cases were reported, which included eight deaths.

When we hear things like “West Nile has been found” in the area, it doesn’t mean it has been reported in humans . . . yet. Local health departments conduct surveillance of mosquito populations by trapping them and testing them, as well as by testing dead birds found in the area. It is usually found early in mosquito season, generally in springtime. In this case, WNV was detected in mosquitoes that were collected by the Macon Mosquito Abatement District. As temperatures get warmer, cases will become more frequently found. While there haven’t been any cases of WNV in humans reported here thus far this year, what this means is that it’s only a matter of time before an infected mosquito bites a person and transmits the disease.

The best protection from West Nile virus and other vector-borne diseases is prevention from having mosquitoes in your own yard. Mosquito Squad’s barrier treatment eliminates nearly 90% of mosquitoes (and ticks) in your yard for three weeks at a time.. Contact us today for a free consultation at 217-919-9292 to learn how we can help you take back your yard and fight the bite!

Why not use Terminix or Orkin to treat mosquitoes?

Many people wonder why they’d need to call Mosquito Squad for their mosquito or tick problem, when there are other pest control companies like Terminix and Orkin. Shouldn’t they be able to handle mosquitoes and ticks, too?

In theory, sure. But in reality . . . not really. See, before 2005, there was no such thing as private outdoor mosquito control for one’s home. Mosquito Squad created the barrier treatment formula and thus, created the industry. Many copycat mosquito control companies followed, but we remain the leaders and the specialists in home mosquito control.

Realizing how successful the private mosquito and tick control business was, Terminix and Orkin decided to get in on the game and add those services to their gamut as well. But the problem is, their programs are not designed to control mosquitoes and ticks consistently through the season without reduction in effectiveness. One of them claims that they’d “choose one of two methods” to control mosquitoes on your property — either a larvicide or adulticide, and they’ll check back in a month to see if you’re satisfied.

At Mosquito Squad, we ask, “Why choose an either/or approach?” We use both, and our formula is guaranteed to be nearly 90% effective for for three weeks. After that, we recommend another treatment. There is no way that their either/or mosquito treatment can be effective for an entire month, period. Their guarantee actually says, “If we can’t solve your mosquito problem, we’ll refund a portion of your service charge as long as you’re a customer.”

A portion.

Know that with Mosquito Squad, if you’re not 100% satisfied with our products and services, we’ll either re-treat your yard or offer a 100% refund.

As far Terminix and Orkin’s tick control goes, once again, it’s an add-on service to their wide range of pest control services. Neither of them are actually specific on how they treat for ticks on your property, though. One of them claims many of their services, including tick control, are “based on science,” yet they don’t give any specifics. They only give general, generic language. Nowhere do they talk about actual methods of treatment, effectiveness, or get into details about the “science."

Hey, we don’t want to knock the “big” home pest control companies. They’re great at what they do — the indoor stuff. If you’ve got a problem with cockroaches, ants, earwigs, or even mice in your home, give the Orkin Man a call. He’s great at those. But if you want a specialist in mosquito and tick control, call the pros at Mosquito Squad.

Think of it this way — if you’ve got a specific medical problem that requires a specialist, for example, say you need brain surgery . . . you’re not going to go to your family doctor, a generalist, to do the job. No, you’re going to go to a brain surgeon, because that’s what they specialize in.

So if you need help with mosquito and tick control on your property, you’ve got to call the pros at Mosquito Squad. We guarantee nearly 90% reduction of the mosquito and tick population on your property for three weeks straight, or we offer 100% of your money back. Not a portion of it. We’re the specialists, we’re the inventors of the home mosquito control industry, and we’re the leaders. Call Mosquito Squad of Central Illinois today at 217-919-9292 for the most effective mosquito and tick control you can find. It’s not brain surgery!

The rise of bug-borne diseases has more than tripled since 2004, and there's no indication it's slowing down

Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report indicating that diseases from mosquitoes and ticks TRIPLED between 2004 and 2016. During those twelve years, there were more than 640,000 reported cases of vector-borne disease in the United States, though the actual number is likely much higher, as not all cases are reported.

There are many reasons for the increase in diseases by these bugs. Travel seems to be one of the reasons for the rise in mosquito-borne illnesses. People travel with much more frequency these days, and access different parts of the world more now than before. If someone traveling abroad gets bitten by a mosquito carrying a dangerous pathogen, once they return home it’s very possible to cause an outbreak. Even if the disease they are infected with isn’t “contagious” so to speak, all it takes is for one mosquito to bite them, pick up the disease in their blood meal, then it’s easily spread to the next person they feed on. This is how the Zika outbreak happened in 2016. Warmer weather seem to coincide with the spread of other disease, such as West Nile virus.

In this graphic from the CDC, you’ll see that Illinois is in the top 20% states with the highest number of mosquito-borne illnesses, with 2,582:

Ticks seemed to be responsible for the majority (77%) of cases, with Lyme disease accounting for over 80% of all tick-borne diseases. This increase has partly been attributed to people living in places where there are more deer, such as suburban areas near wooded spaces. Deer are a popular host for ticks, and more deer equals more ticks, and that means a greater chance of getting bitten by an infected tick. As you’ll see in the CDC graphic below, Illinois is in the second 20% of cases of reported tick-borne illnesses (with 3,685):

This is bad news all around, but the scariest part is that the CDC concluded that nearly 80% of vector control organizations need improvement in at least one or more of five core competencies, such as testing for pesticide resistance or even having an action plan to kill mosquitoes and ticks at every life stage.

Dr. Lyle Peterson, one of the authors of the CDC report, stated: “Our nation is not fully prepared to deal with this new onslaught of vector-borne diseases. We need better tools to control them and we need to strengthen health departments and vector-control organizations to deal with them as well.”

Knowing that government organizations have a long way to go to deal with mosquitoes and ticks is not a comforting thought, but you as a homeowner can take matters into your own hands, at least on your own property. Reports like this are exactly why Mosquito Squad exists — to give homeowners control over the mosquito and tick populations in their own yard, thus greatly reducing the chances of contracting a vector-borne illness. Our barrier control treatment can eliminate up to 90% of mosquitoes and ticks on your property, and by having our professionals treat your yard once every 21 days, you can rest assured your family and pets are protected all season long.

Contact Mosquito Squad of Central Illinois to protect you and your family from mosquitoes, ticks and the dangerous diseases they carry today. Give us a call at 217-919-9292, or drop us a line via the contact form on our home page. Nobody can afford to wait for government organizations to protect them, all it takes is one bite from the wrong bug. Be proactive in your mosquito and tick control efforts and contact us today!

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