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Top 5 things you need to know about Charleston no-see-ums

Those annoying swarms of bugs you know as no-see-ums (Leptoconops torrens) belong to the family Ceratopogonidae and are about 1/16-inch long. They’re so tiny they can pass through window screens. They go by many names, including sandflies and biting gnats. No matter what you call ‘em, usually the only way you do see ‘em is by their swarming clouds, which can ruin any good time outside, send arms flailing, and probably cause some cursing. They’ll even fly in your ears, up your nose, wherever — they have no sense of personal space. We get a lot of questions about these little pests and what can be done about them, so we’ll address the Top 5 here.

Do no-see-ums bite?

Yes. Oh, do they ever. But just like mosquitoes, only the females bite. They need the protein from a blood meal to complete their reproductive cycle. When a female bites, she’ll leave behind a little bit of saliva, that will pool just below the surface of your skin. This results in a small red dot that will be excruciatingly itchy. We know it’s hard not to itch them, but please try not to — with aggravation these tiny bites can develop into welts 1 or 2 inches in diameter!

How long do no-see-um bites last?

It depends on how much you itch them. If you leave them alone (difficult, we know) and they stay tiny, usually they’ll be gone in a week. But if you itch them and they expand to a much bigger welt, they can last two weeks or more! Itching always makes it worse, and please try not to itch so hard that it opens the skin, because that drastically increases the chance of infection.

Do no-see-ums carry any disease?

Yes and no. There are many different kinds of no-see-ums, and a couple varieties are known to cause serious illnesses to humans like leishmaniasis and filarial worms in tropical regions. But thankfully, in North America, humans don’t encounter no-see-ums that can transmit diseases. However, animals aren’t as lucky. No-see-ums are known vectors of Bluetongue virus, which affects a large portion of livestock in the western United States. No-see-ums can also transmit hemorrhagic disease to white-tailed deer.

How do I get rid of no see ums in my yard?

If you’ve got clouds of no-see-ums in your yard, the only way to control them is with an automatic misting system, which emits our barrier treatment formula multiple times per day. A traditional barrier treatment, which lasts three weeks, simply won’t control no-see-ums. The reason for this is because they are constantly breeding. One female no-see-um can lay around 400 eggs at a time, and once in a pupal state, it only takes 1-2 days to become an adult, at which time they’ll get busy breeding again. A single female no-see-um will breed 5-7 times in her lifetime. (For more information on no-see-ums and their lifecycle, check out our no-see-ums page.)

Why is a misting system a great investment?

As we mentioned, the only way to control no-see-ums is with a misting system. But aside from that, misting systems have many other benefits. While a traditional barrier treatment does wonders — eliminating mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting bugs on contact by nearly 90% for three weeks a time, sometimes customers have special circumstances that call for more constant application of our treatment, like if they live in a marshy area, have waterfront property, or live in a heavily-wooded area. A misting system, which emits a mist multiple times a day for about 45 seconds at a time, is much more effective in those situations.

Plus, misting systems come with both a remote control and an app, so you can trigger the mist at your own discretion. For example, maybe you’re out at dinner with some friends, and you decide to continue to evening at home on the back deck. You could trigger the mist while you’re at the restaurant from your phone and by the time the party moves to your place, you’ll be sure that there won’t be any bugs to ruin the fun.

Perhaps the best part about an automatic misting system from Mosquito Squad is we take care of everything.. We custom design your system to be as unnoticeable as possible in your yard, install it, and once in place, we handle all of the refills, regular maintenance, winterization, spring setup, and if there’s ever anything that breaks, the technology alerts us and we’ll come out and fix it. Misting systems are a true “set it and forget it” solution to all your backyard bug problems, not just no-see-ums!

For more information about our misting systems and to solve your no-see-um problem, give Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston a call today at 843-574-8919. Consultation is always free — we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Let us help you fight the bite of no-see-ums, mosquitoes, and other bugs and take back your yard!

Can you guess the most deadly animal in the world?

When you think of the most deadly animals in the world, you probably think of sharks, snakes, lions, and crocodiles. While they are pretty dangerous, the lowly, teeny-tiny mosquito is actually at the top of that list and is considered the single most deadly animal in the world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquitoes are the cause of millions of deaths every year. It’s not the mosquito itself that kills, but pathogens that mosquitoes carry and transmit from person to person. The majority of these deaths are due to malaria, primarily in Africa, which has a disproportionately high share of the worldwide cases (90%). [Source: WHO] It is estimated that a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. (To learn how Mosquito Squad is helping the battle against malaria in Africa, visit our Malaria No More page.)

While malaria is no longer a threat in the United States, other potentially fatal diseases that mosquitoes carry are on the rise. In May 2018, the CDC released an alarming report that indicated diseases from mosquitoes and ticks more than tripled between 2004 and 2016, and there’s no indication that rate is slowing down any time soon. Dengue fever, yellow fever, and chikungunya are not as common in the continental United States, but are prevalent in Puerto Rico and other tropical areas. Most often, these diseases are picked up by travelers abroad and brought back, which can cause an outbreak. Such is what occurred with Zika virus in 2016, although the dangers of Zika have since subsided immensely.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the most common existing or potential mosquito-borne diseases are West Nile virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis, LaCross Encephalitis and other California serogroup viruses, St. Louis encephalitis, and dog/cat heart worm. Any encephalitis means “brain inflammation” and if not fatal, can cause permanent neurological damage. (For a comprehensive list of vector-borne diseases, see this blog post.)

What is the most disturbing, however, is that in their report, the CDC states that 80% of government vector-control organizations lack critical prevention and control capabilities. The best way to protect yourself from potentially dangerous mosquito-borne diseases is avoiding mosquitoes all together. While the government isn’t fully prepared to protect us, you as a homeowner definitely can be the first line of defense for yourself and your family at home. With Mosquito Squad’s barrier treatment, the mosquito population in your yard will be eliminated by nearly 90% for up to 21 days at a time, giving you peace of mind, a lot less swatting and itching, and more enjoyable summers in your yard. Call us today at 843-574-8919 for free consultation. We look forward to helping you take back your yard!

West Nile virus in South Carolina — should you be worried?

You probably have heard of West Nile virus. It’s the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. But how common is it really, and do people in South Carolina need to worry about it?

West Nile virus — a synopsis

West Nile virus (WNV) is a virus most commonly spread to people from mosquito bites. You cannot get it from contact with an infected person. Mosquitoes become infected with this disease when they feed off birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread it to people and other animals by biting them. The good news is that most people don’t develop any symptoms whatsoever if they are bitten by an infected mosquito, however about 1 and 5 people;le who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. There is no known vaccine or cure for West Nile virus, and it is treated by treating the symptoms.

There are some serious cases, however, that result in encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord). Other symptoms of the severe cases may include disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These severe cases happen at a rate of about 1 in every 150 people, and can sometimes be fatal.

Sure it’s the “most common mosquito-borne illness,” but how common is it in South Carolina?

According to the map below, when the CDC released its report in May of 2018 stating that vector-borne diseases have more than tripled since 2004, South Carolina was actually in the bottom 20% of states when it came to mosquito-borne diseases on the whole. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a concern here, though. By September 20, 2017, there were 11 cases of WNV confirmed in the Palmetto State, including one death, according to TheState.com. By the end of 2017, the CDC reported that there were 17 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in South Carolina, and two deaths. These numbers are understood to be highly understated, because people who are infected that don’t show any symptoms don’t go to the doctor. Why would they if they didn’t even know they were sick?

Thus far in 2018 (as of June 26), the CDC can confirm human West Nile cases in four states — Alabama, California, North Dakota, and South Dakota, but this number is undoubtably expected to rise and to spread throughout the country.

So what can we do about West Nile virus in South Carolina?

For starters, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is asking the public to submit to them any dead birds that you may find in order to help them keep track of whether West Nile is in the area. (Instructions on how to do that can be found in this article from Myrtle Beach Online. Yes, this is kind of a gross thing to do, but it helps for the greater good.

Of course, it’s important to mention that West Nile isn’t the only mosquito-borne disease you could be exposed to — there are plenty others. For a more detailed look at how many mosquito-borne diseases are detected here, the DHEC has an interactive map of mosquito-borne diseases that goes by county and disease. The only limitations of this are that 1) it is updated yearly, meaning the most recent information it provides is 2017, not as of today, and 2) this is only reports in animals, not people. Still, it’s a great tool to see how common these diseases actually are in your area. Regardless of whether people were infected, these numbers are a good indication of how likely that is.

On the home front, regardless of whether or not you’re collecting dead birds, your best bet for being protected from WNV-carrying mosquitoes is to not be exposed to them at all. Mosquito Squad’s barrier treatment is the most effective mosquito control you can find. We guarantee nearly 90% reduction in your yard’s mosquito population for three weeks at a time, or your money back. It’s best not to take your chances when it comes to vector-borne diseases. Call Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston today at 843-574-8919 for a free consultation. We look forward to protecting you, and helping you take back your yard!

"Fake news" isn’t just for politics, it’s for REAL ticks, too. Don’t fall for it.

The term “fake news” seems to be everywhere these days, which is a simplified version of the word “propaganda” — the spreading of incorrect information for political purposes. We’re not going to get into politics here at Mosquito Squad, that’s not our business. But what is our business? REAL ticks. And while ticks in and of themselves aren’t political, we have noticed a lot of “fake news” about them circulating online.

In this case, though, we’re going to safely assume that the people who have been spreading it were well-intentioned, but wildly uninformed. Even the most well-informed person can fall for “fake news” online. Especially on Facebook, where there’s been a video circulating that advises people to use peppermint oil to remove a tick. This “home remedy” will allegedly encourage the tick to detach itself.

Please, please, PLEASE don’t do this! (And also, please don’t share it!)

As the most trusted mosquito and tick control company, Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston is here to clear up this misinformation — we’re here to look our for you.

Generally, home remedies aren’t necessarily a bad thing depending on the situation. But the peppermint oil tactic is not only incorrect, it’s dangerous. If you smother a tick or stress it out in any way by popular “home remedy” methods such as painting it with nail polish, applying petroleum jelly to it, or removing it with heat from a match or lighter, that can actually increase your likelihood of contracting a tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or Babesiosis if the tick is infected. When a tick is smothered or otherwise agitated, its natural response is to automatically spew out of its mouth. Usually, a tick must be attached for at least 24 hours before disease is transmitted, however, this can greatly increase your risk of becoming infected much quicker if the tick is a carrier of any diseases.

Instead of relying on “fake news” you saw on Facebook, please follow the proper tick-removing procedure for your own safety, and that is by using pointy-nosed tweezers. Grab the tick by the head as close to your skin as possible, and slowly pull straight out to avoid breaking the tick’s mouth parts. Do not hurt or tear the tick while it’s attached to you, as it could lead to bacteria and viruses infecting your bite. Watch the video below for a demonstration:

Take a Good Look at Your Tick

Once you safely remove a tick it’s a good idea to get a sense of whether it had a chance to feed on you and what kind of tick it is. You can identify the tick yourself with the tick identification chart from the Tick Encounter Resource Center. This chart also shows you what it looks like if the tick had a chance to feed. Here in the Carolinas, the most common ticks are American Dog tick, the Brown Dog tick, the Lone Star tick, and the Blacklegged or “Deer” tick, all of which can carry some nasty diseases.

You’ve removed the tick. Now what?

There are many creative things you could do with your newly-removed tick, but there is really only one good way to dispose of one. (Hint: It involves the toilet.)

If you have any questions about tick safety, please give us a call at 843-574-8919. Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston is here to protect you and your loved ones on your own property from ticks, mosquitoes, other biting insects, and the potentially dangerous diseases they carry. Our tick control and mosquito control methods are guaranteed to reduce yard pests by up to 90% or your money back. Call us for a free consultation at 843-574-8919 or drop us a line via our contact form and we’ll reach out to you. Regardless of how we get in touch, we look forward to helping you!

Help keep your best friend comfortable with Mosquito Squad's flea control

Among the many benefits of living in the Charleston area is the warmer climate, beautiful scenery, and many outdoor recreational activities. But unfortunately, with all the benefits of living here come a few minor inconveniences that have the ability to become much bigger ones, such as mosquitoes and other warm-weather-loving pests. Fleas happen to be one of them, and because of the climate, “flea season” is actually year-round. These wingless bloodsucking insects tend to love feeding on our furry friends. As tiny as they are, they can turn into a huge problem. In addition to the itchy bites, fleas can transmit some nasty illnesses that affect both people and pets. Tapeworms, skin dermatitis, anemia, and tularemia are only a few of the problems that come with fleas.

The comfort of our four-legged family members is equally important as it is for our human ones, so Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston offers two different options for flea control.

Our traditional flea control method is by treating your yard with our signature barrier treatment spray, only we add a special ingredient to our formula known as a “growth regulator.” As fleas grow, they shed their exoskeleton (much like reptiles molt their skin). Growth regulator prevents an insect from reaching maturity by interfering with the molting process. This curbs infestations because immature insects cannot reproduce. It also prevents flea eggs from hatching, thereby ceasing the life cycle. We administer this flea control treatment in a similar fashion as our mosquito barrier treatment, only we also spray the ground, since fleas are often found in the grass. This flea control method generally takes one treatment every three weeks for nine weeks to notice effectiveness (a total of three treatments). Both the life cycle of fleas plus their propensity for travel by hitching rides on four-legged friends elsewhere that happen to visit are factors in this.

For the fastest, most effective Charleston flea control, we highly recommend one of our automatic misting systems. This ensures more of a continuous “attack” on fleas, every single day at specified intervals. With this method, it doesn’t matter how a flea found its way into your yard, it will be eliminated immediately upon contact with the mist or anywhere the mist happens to settle and dry. Even if a flea lands on a blade of grass that had some mist land on it a couple hours ago, it won’t be able to survive because although our formula is odorless and colorless, it is time-released.

However, flea control is a team effort. Mosquito Squad will dramatically reduce the fleas in the yard but it’s essential that pet parents still take the preventative measures such as topical or oral flea control recommended by your veterinarian, whether that’s NexGuard, Advantix, Frontline, Bravecto or another oral of spot treatments. This will ensure a much happier and healthier pet.

A flea-free pet is a happy pet, and a pest-free yard means that you and your family can enjoy summers outside without having to worry about itching or contracting dangerous illnesses from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting bugs. This means more cookouts, more lawn games, and for your furry friend . . . more fetch, fun, and doing that cute rolling around in the grass thing that they do.

Call Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston today at 843-574-8919 for a free consultation on how we can help keep both you and your dog or cat comfortable in your own yard this season. It doesn’t matter if your family members walk on two legs or four, nobody likes the itching from bug bites. We’re here to help you fight the bite and take back your yard!

Should you flush a tick down the toilet?

Let’s say you’ve found a tick and safely removed it. Now what?

We understand that after seeing a tick embedded in your skin swelling from blood is gross, unnerving, and may lead you, an otherwise reasonable person, to want to resort to vengeful torture methods of the bug. We’ve heard all the stories of what to do with your newly-removed tick — burn it, stab it, cut it in half . . . we get it. If you’re so inclined, go right ahead and feel free to torture your tick, but know that 1) that’s not necessary, 2) people might get the wrong idea about you, and 3) there is a proper way of disposing a tick that won’t make you look like a psychopath.

Flush it down the toilet. But make sure it goes down.

According to the Tick Encounter Resource Center, ticks can’t swim. There is some misconception, however, that ticks can “hold their breath” for extended amounts of time, and while the technical aspects of that can’t be confirmed, what has been observed is that if you just try to “drown” a tick by throwing it into a hot tub, the bath, the washer, etc. . . it may not work. While they can’t swim, ticks (at least various stages of deer ticks), have been known to be able to survive after submerged in water for 2-3 days.

But if you flush it, that should rid you of the tick forever. The tick won’t somehow find its way back up through your drain pipes and seek revenge, don’t worry. Just make sure it’s gone when you flush it.

However, it is highly advised that if you do remove a tick (and once you can confirm it’s actually dead), tape it to an index card and write the date on it, plus the location of where you think it came from. Hang onto it for about 6 months, because if you or the person from which it was removed starts developing any symptoms of a tick-borne disease, you can get it tested to see what, if anything, that tick could’ve been carrying and possibly transmitted.

Or you could just stick it on your refrigerator like some kind of weird trophy. We won’t judge.

The best way to make sure you’re never in a position to need to torture a tick, flush it, or worry about contracting a dangerous tick-borne disease is to make sure you’re not exposed to ticks in the first place. With Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston’s tick control service, you’re guaranteed nearly 90% fewer ticks in your yard for three weeks at a time. Give us a call at 843-574-8919 to find out how we can protect you and your family from ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting bugs and allow you to take your yard back. We look forward to hearing from you!

How do mosquito bites work? Why do we get itchy bumps?

We all know that mosquitoes leave us with itchy bumps when they bite us, but have you ever wondered how exactly that happens?

As it turns out, the process is much more complicated than most people realize, but a mosquito’s anatomy is incredibly sophisticated in order to make this happen.

Only female mosquitoes bite people, and they do this because they need a fresh blood meal in order to reproduce and lay eggs. The long “nose” that they pierce into your skin is actually a cluster of six different needle-like spires which have different purposes.

Two of these spires have tiny “teeth” which she uses to saw into your skin. Think of them as little steak knives.

Two other of these spires hold open the skin, like forceps.

One of the needles looks around for blood, and acts as a “straw” for her to ingest it.

The last of them excretes a chemical into your skin that makes your blood flow to her easily so she can use her “straw," and this same chemical is what irritates the skin. Basically, that itchy bump you get is an allergic reaction to that chemical.

Unfortunately, sometimes in that secretion, the female mosquito also leaves behind a dangerous pathogen, which is how dangerous diseases are transmitted.

This complex process is incredibly simple for mosquitoes, takes less time than the blink of an eye, and works so well for them that it has ensured their survival for nearly 100 million years!

Take a look at the video below to see it in action:

At Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston, we are committed to helping you fight the bite of mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting bug, and the potential dangers that come with them. Our barrier treatment helps eliminate nearly 90% of their population in your yard for three week straight. Call us for a free consultation at 843-574-8919 and we’ll be happy to discuss how our products and services can keep you and your family safe. We look forward to hearing from you!

CDC reports that rates of vector-borne diseases have more than tripled, and there's no sign of them slowing down

On May 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an alarming report indicating that since 2004, vector-borne diseases have more than tripled. The report indicated that between 2004-2016, there were a total of 642,602 cases of 16 different diseases reported to them from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, and that number is likely the very least, as cases are generally underreported.

Sixteen different diseases from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. That includes malaria, which was eradicated in the United States over 50 years ago, however still kills people, especially children, every day in places of the world such as Africa and India. Knowing that this is a worldwide problem, Mosquito Squad proudly partners with Malaria No More, a global nonprofit dedicated to eradicate malaria wherever it is found, because nobody should die from a mosquito bite. Not only do we donate $1 from every treatment purchased to Malaria No More, but we’re very “hands on,” even traveling to Africa to educate locals on the mosquito-borne illnesses and the importance of prevention, including distributing mosquito bed netting. Our owner, Brent Tatum, is an active participant in this effort, which you can learn more about at our dedicated Malaria No More page. The cases of malaria that were reported in the United States were picked up and brought home by travelers to areas of the world where it is still rampant.

While malaria is not contagious from person to person like the flu or a cold, other diseases picked up by travelers and brought home are more easily transmitted person to person, such as the Zika virus, which is what caused the 2016 outbreak in the continental United States. It was a huge problem in Puerto Rico, brought here by travelers, and transmitted by both mosquito bites and through sexual contact. While generally treatable, Zika is dangerous when pregnant women contract it, because it can cause birth defects in their unborn children, such as microcaphaly.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the vector-borne diseases. Some you may be familiar with, others not. But awareness is extremely important.


West Nile virus is the most widely-known mosquito-borne illness in the United States. In the thirteen years of the CDC study, 31,919 cases were reported, although the actual number of cases is much greater. While there is no known vaccine or specific medications for West Nile, the majority of people who contract it don’t show any symptoms. Those who do show symptoms are generally mild ones, which include as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. More serious West Nile virus cases generally 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.

Dengue is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. Like malaria, it is rare in the continental United States and those who get infected with it are travelers to areas where it is endemic, like Puerto Rico and parts of Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific islands. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding. When it becomes dengue fever, the fever can last up to seven days and include much more serious symptoms like failure of the circulatory system and shock, which can lead to death. There is no specific medication or treatment for dengue or dengue fever, and is managed by treating the symptoms, like taking pain relievers, getting a lot of rest, and drinking plenty of fluids. It is not transmitted from person to person, although it can be from a mother to her unborn child.

Chikungunya virus is another one picked up by travelers to areas where it is endemic, and a growing problem here in the United States. Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Indian and Pacific Oceans. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Again, it is not a contagious disease transmitted between people, but it is also known to be transmitted from mother to unborn child, though rarely.

California serogroup viruses include LaCross encephalitis. Like West Nile virus, most people who are infected show no symptoms, although severe cases are known to cause inflammation of the brain, and can include seizures, coma, and paralysis. Most cases of LACV disease have been reported from upper Midwestern, mid-Atlantic and southeastern states.

St. Louis encephalitis virus is another one that often shows no symptoms, but those who become ill have symptoms of fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Severe cases often occur in older adults, and can include inflammation of the brain. Like the others, there is no specific medication or treatment and is managed by treating symptoms.

Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE) is rare in humans. But it is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33% mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors. Most cases occur in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states. Most persons infected with EEE have no apparent illness. Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. Again, there is no specific treatment for EEE; care is based on symptoms.

Yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. Yellow fever is a very rare, but another one picked up by travelers. Illness ranges from a fever with aches and pains to severe liver disease with bleeding and yellowing skin (jaundice). Yellow fever infection is diagnosed based on laboratory testing, a person’s symptoms, and travel history. There is no medicine to treat or cure infection.

Tick-borne diseases

Tick-borne diseases accounted for over 75% of the vector-borne diseases in the CDC report, and their instance more than doubled in that 13 year time period.

Lyme disease is caused by the black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick), and is most prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest. Of all the tick-borne illnesses in the CDC report, Lyme disease accounted for the majority — 82%, in fact. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, or “bullseye rash." If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Luckily, most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.

Ehrlichiosis is not a single disease, but an umbrella term for several different bacterial diseases. In humans, at least three different species of this bacteria occur. The main vector of Erlichiosis tends to be the Lone Star tick, although the dog tick (or wood tick) and the deer tick (or the black-legged tick) have also been associated with it. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Erlichiosis can be very serious is not treated correctly. Unfortunately, it is difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary from patient to patient, but it can be confirmed with specialized lab tests. Once Erlichiosis is suspected, treatment should start immediately. Doxycycline is the first line treatment for adults and children of all ages. It is most effective at preventing severe complications from developing if it is started early in the course of disease.

Spotted fever rickettsiosis include a handful of diseases caused by the spotted fever bacteria. The most common is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and can be fatal if not treated early. Caused by the dog tick, early signs and symptoms include fever, muscle pain, and a headache, which are common of other vector-borne illnesses. Because of this, it can be difficult to diagnose. But RMSF can progress rapidly. Most people who get RMSF develop the tell-tale splotchy rash, which usually develops 2–4 days after fever begins. Like with Erlichiosis, doxycycline is the most effective treatment for this disease.

Babesiosis is an infection of red blood cells and is transmitted by black-legged ticks (also known as deer ticks). Like other vector-borne diseases, many people with Babesiosis feel fine and don’t have any symptoms at all. Some people develop flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headaches, body aches, nausea, and fatigue. Because the this is an infection of red blood cells, this Babesiosis can cause anemia. People who do not have signs or symptoms usually don’t need to be treated, but there is effective treatment for those who do. Generally, Babesiosis is not considered fatal, however it can be for people with compromised immune systems, those without spleens, a serious health condition like kidney disease, or are elderly.

Tularemia is a disease that people can become infected with from ticks, but there are other ways to contract it, too. It is very common in rabbits and rodents, and they have been known to die in large numbers thanks to this one. Other ways of contracting Tularemia include skin contact with infected animals, ingestion of contaminated water, inhalation of contaminated aerosols or agricultural dusts, and lab exposure. Symptoms vary depending on how the disease enters the body, and while it can be life threatening, most cases are successfully treated with antibiotics.

Powassan virus is another one transmitted by the deer tick. It is very rare and most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region. Signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. Like others, there is no specific treatment, but people with severe cases often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain, because it can be fatal.

Flea-borne diseases

Plague is indeed still around, though very rare in the United States. Parts of Africa and Asia have seen significantly more cases. It is a very serious illness and symptoms vary depending on how and where it enters the body. Though it shares typical symptoms with other vector-borne illnesses at first such as headaches, fever, and joint/muscle pain, depending on which strain of plague it can cause respiratory failure, shock, and can even cause organs and skin tissues to turn black and die. Thankfully, plague can be successfully treated with antibiotics, but prompt treatment is critical to prevent complications and even death.

This is a lot of information to take in, but the bottom line is that nobody wants to get sick from a bug bite. The best treatment for any of these vector-borne diseases is prevention and avoidance of mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas to begin with, which is why we at Mosquito Squad are so passionate about our products and services like our barrier treatment, which eliminates up to 90% of mosquitoes and ticks on your property for three weeks at a time. Call Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston at 843-574-8919 to protect yourself and your loved ones from vector-borne illnesses on your property today. We look forward to helping you, and to helping you take back your yard!

How long should your Charleston mosquito yard spray last?

Mosquito SQUAD may have started the outdoor pest control industry over a decade ago, but we know since then a lot of competitors have popped up. Most claim to have long-lasting protection similar to ours, but the reality is that once they spray it, it knocks down existing mosquitoes and lasts maybe a few days before they start appearing in the yard again. Then the homeowners and their families are left swatting and itching again until their next treatment.

Sometimes, a Charleston mosquito control company will claim their treatment lasts for three weeks like ours does, then come out to your yard more often than that, saying they’re providing “extra protection.” Reality is that their formula is not time-released and simply is not as effective as they say it is. What they’re basically doing is working twice as hard to be not even half as good.

Mosquito Squad’s formula, however, is micro-encapsulated and designed to be time released by its chemical makeup. We put a lot of time and research into the development of our specially-formulated solution, and because of this it isn’t cheap. However, unlike competitors, we can guarantee its time-released effectiveness. Sure, we could have come up with a cheaper solution that didn’t require so much brainpower on our end, but it wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does.

A less-expensive alternative may sound appealing, but it’s true that “you get what you pay for.” So accept no imitations — Mosquito SQUAD is the authority in Charleston mosquito control. Only The SQUAD can guarantee up to 90% fewer mosquitoes on your property for three weeks at a time. For the most effective mosquito elimination treatment you can buy in the Palmetto State, contact Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston at 843-574-8919 and take back your yard for the entire summer — not just a few days here and there. It’s your yard, your summer, and you deserve it. No bugs. No bites. No kidding.

Why choose Mosquito Squad and not one of the other mosquito control companies?

There are a lot of mosquito control companies in the Greater Charleston area that you could choose from these days, and many of them have similar-sounding names. We understand that it could be easy to get confused, or think that all mosquito control companies are the same. But nothing could be further from the truth. So why should you choose Mosquito Squad over the others?

We created the field of mosquito control companies.

You read that right. We were the first company ever to offer private residential mosquito control, back in 2005. When Mosquito Squad created the barrier spray protection service, we invented the industry and paved the way for the others to follow. Before us, none of the competitors you see now even existed. Mosquito Squad has trailblazed the field, spraying for mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects along the way. Homeowners love enjoying their yards without constant bites and the painful annoying itch that often sends them back inside.

”Mosquito” is in our name, but all the biting bugs are our game.

What can we say? “Mosquito, Tick, Flea, No-see-um, Fire-ant, etc. Squad” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. There is beauty in brevity, but know that we don’t just stick with eliminating mosquitoes. Our barrier treatment also eliminates other biting bugs like ticks, fleas, spiders, no-see-ums, fire ants, and more. If it’s a biting bug, we can take care of it. Some require us to adjust our tactics or alter our formula slightly, but the result is always the same — up to 90% elimination of yard pests or your money back.

Mosquito Squad is focused on environmental responsibility.

As the innovators of the private mosquito protection field, we’re always researching and improving our products to identify the most effective and environmentally responsible recipe for continuous protection. At present our formula is the longest-lasting on the market — eliminating up to 90% of mosquitoes on your property for three weeks. But since we’re constantly researching, don’t be surprised if we’re able to make our barrier protection last even longer in the future.

We make it a point to strictly adhere to all local, state, and federal licensing guidelines, and all of our pest-control solutions have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The only thing “shady” with Mosquito Squad is the shady areas of your yard where we’re sure to apply our barrier treatment.

There are no surprises with Mosquito Squad.

We take our customer service seriously, and would never show up at your house for a treatment without notifying you 24 hours in advance, even if you had an appointment. It’s easy to forget these things, so we’ll always call you ahead of time and remind you that we’re coming. We’ll always arrive at your property ready to work, be easily identifiable in our official Mosquito Squad uniforms and vehicle, and after we’re finished with your treatment, we’ll let you know we’re finished before we leave.

Mosquito Squad’s mission is both at home and abroad.

While we’re in the business of private homeowner pest control, we’re very aware that mosquito-borne illnesses are a worldwide problem, especially in Africa, where malaria is rampant. Mosquito Squad raises funds to eliminate malaria in Africa and elsewhere though our partnership with Malaria No More, where the fight against a mosquito bite is literally a matter of life and death. Our efforts raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help inform communities about protective bed net distributions and proper usage in Africa, while at the same time we support numerous activities and causes against mosquito-borne diseases in communities here at home in the United States. Social responsibility is something we take seriously.

We always guarantee 100% Satisfaction

Mosquito Squad believes in and firmly stands behind our products and services so much that if you’re unhappy with them for any reason, we’ll either re-treat your property or offer your money back — no questions asked.

As we said, we know you’ve got a lot of choices for mosquito control in the Palmetto State, including Mosquito Joe, Mosquito Nix, Mosquito Authority, and more. But before Mosquito SQUAD, those other guys didn’t even exist. Choose Mosquito Squad because we’re the original, we’re still the leader, and our treatment not only eliminates mosquitoes and other yard pests on contact, but continues to eliminate them for three weeks. As we continue to research and develop our products, it could very well be longer than that in the near future.

There’s only one SQUAD — Mosquito Squad.

Know that the SQUAD is on your side and give us a call at (843) 574-8919 or fill out the contact form on our home page today. We’ll help you take back your yard while keeping your loved ones safe from the dangers of mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses. We look forward to helping you!

Why you need more than the mosquito control Charleston County provides

Many residents of Charleston County believe that because the county has a mosquito control program, there is no need to hire a company like Mosquito Squad to help with mosquito control in Charleston yards. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is very little assurance that a municipal program will protect your family and property from mosquitoes, and we’ll explain below.

The county’s program is for public spaces, not your backyard.

Charleston County’s mosquito control program is focused on more public areas like marshes and general open spaces. They do aerial treatment over bodies of water and ground treatment by trucks that do fogging in the street. While this may help with your front yard and driveway, this treatment rarely (if ever) reaches your backyard.

In fact, if you have a big front yard and your house sits farther away from the road, the county’s fogging program likely does not eradicate mosquitoes near your front porch. The county’s objective is to control the mosquito population in its public spaces, not private properties. To rely solely on the mosquito control Charleston County program is simply not going to help you enjoy your backyard for time with family or entertaining friends.

Treatment that lasts

The chemicals that Charleston County uses kill mosquitoes on contact. That may seem like a good thing, but consider this: If you have just ONE female mosquito in an area that wasn’t hit by the fog (such as your backyard), it will lay about 300 eggs in one batch. In four weeks’ time, this will multiply to over 1.3 billion mosquitoes.

Luckily, Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston uses a special, micro-encapsulated chemical formula that is time released, meaning that it continues to protect your yard for up to three weeks after each treatment. The mosquito control Charleston County does with its spray trucks needs to be deployed over and over again in that amount of time. With Mosquito Control of Greater Charleston, fewer treatments mean more time spent outside with family, with the peace of mind that you’ll be protected the entire season.

To find out how Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston can keep your Charleston-area property mosquito free all season-long, call us today at 843-574-8919 today, email us, or click “Get a Free Quote” at the top right and we’ll be happy to speak with you about mosquito control solutions for you and your family. We look forward to working with you!

Mosquito Control Can Save Your Edisto Island Vacation

A week at the beaches in Edisto Island is the perfect way to celebrate warm weather. These weeks are something every family anticipates. From lazy days in the sun to evening meals on the lawn, being outside is the best part about being at the beach. So, don’t let mosquitoes ruin your party. Insist on mosquito control for your Edisto Island vacation.

Nothing ruins a great time outside like the nuisance of mosquitos. Where there’s one mosquito, there are at least 100. Mosquitoes are not only capable of stinging bites, they can also carry dangerous diseases. If you have scheduled your rental for Edisto Island, you should ask if the property is treated for mosquitoes. You’re more than likely to find it’s not. As much as you’d like to grill out on the deck and watch your kids chase fireflies at dusk, without mosquito protection, you’ll be eaten alive!

Don’t Let Mosquitoes Keep You Inside

If your rental property hasn’t been treated, you may think you can easily repel these pests with citronella candles. While the oil of citronella has the capacity to do this, the minimal amount used in candles is not any more effective than any other candle producing smoke, according to the American Mosquito Control Association. Your other, at-the-moment option, is to turn to smelly bug sprays. They must be reapplied often and may even cause a reaction on the skin. Sprays must stay out any wounds with careful avoidance of the mouth and eyes. It also shouldn’t be applied near food, as it’s not safe. Worst of all, bug sprays vary widely in their effectiveness. Overall, these alternatives just won’t stand up these resilient pests.

Unless you want to compete for territory with the mosquitoes, you may be relegated to staying inside. This is especially true for dusk. With mosquitoes the most active at dusk, you’ll miss out on enjoying the day as the sun sets and humidity begins to dissipate. There is a way to save your vacation from the siege of mosquitoes. Turn to the pros at Mosquito Squad.

Mosquito Control Edisto Island from Mosquito Squad

Mosquito Squad is here to save your vacation and let you get back to enjoying the view from your lawn chair. The Mosquito Squad difference is in our barrier protection spray program. You’ll only find a service this effective with Mosquito Squad. This convenient, proven mosquito solution is applied to the yard and potential breeding sites. It doesn’t just last for eight hours or one day. It can last up to 21 days from one treatment, repelling up to 90 percent of mosquitoes. This treatment is EPA-registered and is applied by our licensed technicians. After 30 minutes, you and your pets can return the outdoors and where you can make some great vacation memories.

Contact Mosquito Squad to Treat Your Rental

It’s your vacation; keep the whole family protected from these bothersome insects. Get in touch with our office today to schedule a one-time spray upon your arrival, starting as low as $69 for quarter-acre property. At Mosquito Squad, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us.

Mosquito Control Edisto Island Makes No-See-Ums Truly Disappear!

No-see-ums — have you seen um’ in your Edisto Island backyard?

These insects (commonly called no-see-ums biting midges, biting gnats, sand flies or punkies) are actually a type of fly. These pesky bugs are small enough to penetrate screen and clever enough to know how to get on our last nerve. They actually have a great deal in common with the mosquito, too. Some species leave a painful bite and follow the same protocol as the mosquito in seeking prey. They locate their hosts by the carbon dioxide we, and other mammals, exhale. Just like a mosquito, the females seek out blood as a source of protein for their eggs while the males in this species do not bite humans. Some species also spread disease. This insect multiplies quickly, laying hundreds of eggs in a short amount of time which can lead to unsanitary conditions if the problem gets out of control in and around your home. Sound familiar?

No-see-ums can be a real nuisance in your Edisto Island backyard, this is due in part to the sand-based soil prevalent in our area which facilitates large populations of this pest. These insects prefer laying their eggs in areas where their brood can easily rise up from the loose soil — and a preference for similar conditions to those of mosquitoes – damp, warm, moist areas with lush vegetation and standing water. More humidity and moisture, paired with the abundance of foliage and flowers, make the perfect home for no-see-ums.

These insects seem to find their way into our homes and are attracted by rotting food and moisture. Some come into your home on fruit that you have purchased, others find their way inside through openings in your house such as doors and cracks. These insects are actually part of the Diptera family of insects, with the name implying “two wings”.

Mosquito Control Edisto Island
Controls No-See-Ums

For our clients that struggle with a no-see-um problem, we highly recommend installing an automatic misting system. Since the no-see-ums have a short lifespan of up to 48 hours, our misting system will allow you to control the times your system goes off so you can enjoy your outdoor spaces without the annoyance. Don’t forget our misting system
also keeps mosquitoes and other biting insects at bay as well!

Our misting system is automatic and can be set so you have no break in treatment. While we do offer a mosquito barrier protection service that lasts up to 21 days, we recommend our continuous misting system for clients in areas like Edisto Island, due to the sandy soil and since no-see-ums are unaffected by the 14-21 day residual of our traditional barrier treatment.

If you are ready to say see ya’ later to mosquitoes, no-see-ums and other nuisance insects in your Edisto Island backyard. Contact Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston about our mosquito control Edisto Island solutions. Call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us email us.

Owner Brent Tatum and family

61 Confirmed Cases of Zika Virus in South Carolina

Zika Virus has become the face of mosquito-borne illness. In response to the recent outbreaks of Zika in South America, global awareness efforts have made us more aware and more informed about the virus. Despite prevention recommendations which include travel advisories for anyone traveling to areas where the virus is common, new reports confirm that Zika has hit close to home.

According to a recent report from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, as of December 1st, 2017, there have been 61 confirmed cases of Zika Virus in South Carolina. Although these confirmed cases stem from contraction of the virus from travel abroad, it is crucial to stay aware of the threat of Zika at home and abroad.

Along with being the most trusted mosquito control and prevention company in the greater Charleston and West Ashley areas, we also strive to educate Charleston and Dorchester county residents about mosquito-borne illness. Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston wants you to be as informed as possible as to what Zika is and its symptoms, as well as how to avoid coming into contact with disease-carrying mosquitoes.

What is Zika Virus?

Zika is a mosquito-borne illness. Humans may become infected by the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti or Aedes Albopictus (the Asian Tiger) mosquito. Currently, there have been no local transmissions of the virus and all cases in SC are a result of contracting Zika whilst traveling abroad. However, it is suspected that Zika could begin to get transmitted locally. After all, the Asian Tiger mosquito is already prevalent in our region.

An infected human can become a facilitator of the virus to other mosquitoes for approximately 7 – 10 days after first becoming infected. For this reason, it’s important for anyone experiencing Zika symptoms to remain indoors and away from mosquitoes. Otherwise, you risk further spreading the disease via mosquito bites. It’s of the utmost importance those who’ve been exposed to Zika to take extra precautions and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Zika Symptoms

The Zika Virus is extremely easily spread and nearly 80% of those infected show no symptoms. This is a dangerous scenario, with a mere 20% of those infected showing symptoms, the likelihood of further spreading of the virus is probable due to simply not knowing one is infected. The symptoms usually experienced by those infected are flu-like in nature and include:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis (a.k.a. “pink eye”)

The most concerning risk of contracting Zika is highest for pregnant women in their first trimester. Zika virus in pregnant women has been correlated with microcephaly, a prenatal disorder that prevents an infant’s head from growing to its full size. In the beginning, the CDC’s warning was specific to women in their first trimester for that very reason, but because so much is still unknown about Zika, many doctors (and the CDC) are extending travel warnings to all pregnant women out of caution. Additionally, the CDC has issued guidance for travel, prevention, testing, and preconception counseling related to risks for pregnant women and couples considering conception in areas of active Zika virus transmission in the continental US and in Hawaii.

Prevention is Key!

Currently, there is neither a vaccine nor a cure. The only thing you can do is to completely avoid being in an area inundated with mosquitoes which may be carrying this disease. By reducing the number of mosquitoes you come into contact with ultimately reduces your likelihood of contracting Zika.

To find out how Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston can keep your Charleston-area property mosquito free all season-long, call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us.

Owner Brent Tatum and family

Does Mosquito Squad really control the mosquitoes throughout your entire yard?

Yes! Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston protects your family (and pets) from annoying pests that carry dangerous diseases. Our barrier treatment program effectively eradicates and prevents mosquitoes and ticks, giving you the carefree freedom to enjoy your yard without worry.

With this in mind, keeping your backyard free of mosquitoes is often a key centerpiece for many of the stories featured on our blog. This is because the backyard is where most Charleston and West Ashley residents spend a good majority of their time outdoors. It is the location of your deck or outdoor living space(s), pool, grill, playground equipment and where we gather as a family for fun. However, don’t assume that the protection we provide from mosquitoes begins and ends solely in the backyard. When we say we control the mosquitoes throughout your entire yard, we mean it.

Protection Beyond the Backyard

Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston protects by controlling the mosquitoes throughout your entire yard, all season. This includes your front and side yards as well as the back. During each mosquito control treatment, our technician will carefully inspect your entire property and eliminate or treat standing water, a potential mosquito breeding site, with a larvacide. This stops the life cycle of the mosquito at the larvae stage, so they cannot become adults. Our technician will then treat to eliminate any adult mosquitoes and ticks currently on your property. This also builds a barrier against any mosquitoes or ticks that enter your yard after treatment from other areas. Our technicians will return to your property approximately every 21 days to inspect and maintain this barrier.

In addition to our effective mosquito treatment program, it is important for you to conduct regular inspections on your property to eliminate any areas of standing water in order to maintain a mosquito-free property for the life of the treatment. We have outlined the 7 T’s of mosquito control in a previous blog story titled Getting to Know the 7 T’s of Mosquito Control at your Charleston and West Ashley Property which serves as a helpful resource in identifying and addressing areas where moisture may accumulate.

Mosquitoes Don’t Stand A Chance!

We achieve 90% reduction on the first barrier treatment. Our formula immediately eradicates existing mosquitoes and ticks on contact, so realistically, the reduction is almost immediate. Continuing our mosquito and tick control program will ensure residual protection for the entire time you are on the service, rain or shine. Keep in mind, just because it rains in the area on the day of your treatment, doesn’t necessarily mean the treatment was ineffective. We treat your whole area including targeted surfaces such as the underside of leaves and shaded areas; which tend to be protected from the rain. Additionally, due to the microencapsulation residual of our product, when it has dried (30 minutes) rainwater will not easily wash away the product. If you notice it not being effective, please call us!

Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston is the winning component to controlling mosquitoes in your Charleston and West Ashley yard and the secret to keeping your island home mosquito free!

We provide the perfect solution for your mosquito control needs.Along with our traditional barrier treatment, we also offer essential oil-based mosquito control, mosquito control for special events and convenient mosquito misting systems. Call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us.

Owner Brent Tatum and family

Ticks are an Ever-Present Nuisance in the Charleston and West Ashley Area

The Charleston and West Ashley area is loved by natives and tourists alike because of its abundance of outdoor living opportunities. The weather’s great year-round, and there are plenty of ways to explore the outdoors and the coast no matter the season. Whether it is basking in the Lowcountry charm of the local islands, fishing, hiking, or entertaining guests in your own backyard, there is always something to do!

Amid all the pros of living in such a wonderful coastal environment, one of the cons is the insects love it too! Mosquitoes and ticks are a constant concern because of the discomfort they cause and the dangers they pose from vector-borne illness. Many residents assume that there is little danger of contracting a tick-borne illness in the Southeastern United States — which is certainly not the case. Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston protects not only from mosquitoes but the same treatment is also equally as effective in eliminating ticks. That’s right. Once you use the Mosquito Squad treatment for mosquitoes, your yard is also protected against ticks.

Know Your Tick!

Ticks pose an ever-present risk in the Charleston and West Ashley area and along the coastal areas of Edisto, Kiawah, Seabrook and John’s Island. The most prevalent ticks species in South Carolina are the American Dog Tick, Brown Dog Tick, Blacklegged Tick (Deer Tick) and the Lone Star Tick.

The Amercian Dog and Brown Dog Tick is responsible for the spread of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. and Tularemia. Both are potential risks, however, the Brown Dog Tick is common on dogs but rarely bites humans.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected black-legged (Ixodes scapularis) tick, commonly known
as the “deer tick.” Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States.It is most common in the spring and summer months. Lyme Disease is rare but does occur in South Carolina. From 2000 – 2015 there have been 465 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in the state.

— The trademark bull’s eye rash of Lyme Disease (erythema migrans or EM). This rash occurs in 70-80% of Lyme cases, according to the CDC.

Symptoms include a bulls-eye rash at the site where the tick was attached, fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain. Some people have a fever and flu-like symptoms without a rash. If the bacteria spreads people could experience other symptoms such as pain that moves from joint to joint, rashes on other parts of the body, or inflammation of the heart or nerves. If the disease is not treated some patients can get additional symptoms such as swelling and pain in joints or even experience mental changes months after being infected.

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), is a disease caused by a bacterium spread through the bite of a dog tick. Early signs and symptoms of the disease can include the onset of fever, headache and muscle pain, and sometimes nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and appetite loss. RMSF is sometimes followed by the development of a spotty rash in 90% of patients. If a rash does appear, it is typically noticed on wrists and ankles initially and then spreads to the entire body. Symptoms of RMSF can appear from 2-14 days after the initial tick bite.

The flu-like symptoms make the disease difficult to diagnose in the early stages especially without a rash or prior knowledge of a tick bite. The disease can be fatal if not treated quickly and appropriately. Even with treatment, the disease can sometimes be fatal. Dogs can also become infected with RMSF. Early removal of attached ticks can prevent RMSF because 12-24 hours is required to reactivate the bacterium in the tick’s tissue before transmission can occur. (According to Clemson.edu).

What is Tularemia?

Tularemia is a rare infectious disease caused by a bacterium transmitted through the bite of infected ticks and deer flies or through handling an infected animal carcass such as when skinning a rabbit. In South Carolina, the ticks that transmit this bacterium are the American Dog and Lone Star Tick. Symptoms typically begin 3-5 days following the bite of an infected tick and can include chills, headache, coughing, muscle aches, vomiting, repeated spikes of severe fever and swollen lymph nodes.

The Deer Tick is probably the most infamous of all the tick species. This is mainly because of the multiple diseases it is capable of transmitting. It is responsible for the spread of Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and the newcomer of tick-borne illness, Powasson Virus.

What are Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis?

Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis are two additional tick-borne illnesses that are also spread through the bite of an infected deer tick.

Babesiosis, also known as Nantucket fever, is a malaria-like parasitic disease that is primarily spread through the bite of a tick carrying the disease. Babesias are malaria-like protozoans that parasitize and reproduce within mammalian red blood cells. In some circumstances, Babesiosis has been known to be transmitted through blood transfusions as well.

Ehrlichiosis is a disease of both animals and humans caused by several bacteria in the genus Ehrlichia and Anaplasma. Two main forms of Ehrlichiosis in humans are currently recognized in the United States; Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME), and Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE).

The Deer Tick is also capable of infecting an individual with two tick-borne illnesses at once, this is referred to as comorbidity. Though these illnesses are not as common as Lyme Disease they are regarded as a double threat because of their ability to infect in addition to Lyme Disease. This type of infection is called a comorbid tick-borne illness and is common with Lyme Disease and Babesiosis, and Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis comorbidity combinations.

What is Anaplasmosis?

Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis are two closely related tick-borne diseases, although caused by different germs. Indeed the illness was so similar in nature it was previously referred to as Ehrlichiosis. A taxonomic change in 2001 identified that this organism belonged to the genus Anaplasma, and resulted in a change in the name of the disease to Anaplasmosis. The disease is caused by a species of bacteria called Anaplasma phagocytophilum which is spread to humans through the bite of a deer tick carrying the bacteria. Most cases occur in the spring and summer months. During this time, residents are more likely to come into direct contact with the nymph deer tick here in SC. Although adult deer ticks are capable of spreading the disease, they are more easy to identify and remove before infection is possible.

What is Powassan Virus?

Powassan (POW) virus is an RNA virus that belongs to the genus Flavivirus. It is related to West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, and Tick-borne encephalitis viruses and is one of the newest tick-borne illnesses to make headlines. Humans become infected with POW virus from the bite of an infected tick. Humans do not develop high enough concentrations of POW virus in their bloodstreams to infect feeding ticks. Humans are therefore considered to be “dead-end” hosts of the virus. POW can be asymptomatic in many but can also develop fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures. Symptoms, if any, can appear 1 week to 1 month following the onset of infection. This virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

The Lone Star Tick causes Southern Tick-Associated Rash Infection (STARI), Heartland Virus and Ehrlichiosis.

What is Southern Tick-Associated Rash Infection?

STARI is an emerging tick-borne disease that results in a rash similar to that seen with Lyme disease. It begins as a red, expanding “bullseye” open sore that develops around the site of the bite of a Lone Star Tick. This rash usually appears within 7 days of the tick bite and expands to a diameter of 3 inches or more. The rash may occur with fatigue, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain.

STARI has not been linked with chronic problems such as those associated with Lyme disease.

What is Heartland Virus?

— Heartland Virus Disease cases by state, from CDC, as of July 2017.

Don’t let its innocuous name fool you, Heartland Virus is spread through the bite of an infected Lone Star Tick. Cases of the virus have been identified in the Midwestern and southern United States. Signs and symptoms of infection are similar to those of other tickborne infections and can include fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and diarrhea. As of July 2017, more than 30 cases of Heartland Virus have been reported from states in the Midwestern and southern United States. Confirmed cases have been reporting in our neighboring states of North Carolina and Georgia. Most people diagnosed with the disease became sick May through September. Heartland Virus is not currently a notifiable disease.

Prevention is Key

The best way to reduce your risk of being infected with any tick-borne illness or disease is to prevent tick bites. Our barrier control treatment is the first line of defense against ticks and their accompanying risks.Exercising control and prevention on your property and being smart about the realities of ticks when venturing into non-treated areas is key to staying healthy and free of the risk of tick-borne illnesses at your Charleston or West Ashley home. Along with keeping your lawn mowed, trimmed and free of tall grasses and debris, We also recommend having your property treated by a licensed professional to control ticks.

Call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us.

Owner Brent Tatum and family

What Happens to Mosquitoes in Cold Weather?

Just because warm weather is behind us doesn’t mean the discomfort and risk associated with mosquitoes has followed suit. When the temperatures in the Charleston area turn chilly, we often get the question: What happens to the mosquitoes in cold weather? The answer is more complex than you may think…

Mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures and generally don’t bite at temperatures below 50F. However, certain species of mosquitoes will emerge to feed on warm winter days or during periods known as Indian Summers. The National Weather Service defines this as a period of weather conditions that are sunny and clear with above normal temperatures, usually occurring from late-September to mid-November. Here in the Greater Charleston area, winter temperatures can exceed 50 degrees for extended periods of time due to our mild climate. The same attributes that make our area such a draw for residents and tourists also makes the perfect catalyst for mosquito survival.

The Over Wintering Mosquito

Mosquitoes, much like bears, have a way to make it through the winter. They don’t sleep or hibernate, the female mosquito goes into a state called diapause. They have a structure called the fat body, which is much like the human liver. Females that go into diapause may accumulate ten times the fat of a nondiapausing mosquito. The energy from this fat body is a critical factor to help the female reach a frozen state and stay in that state until she can safely thaw in the spring.

  • A diapausing mosquito can survive any long cold winter, no such luck for the male mosquito.
  • While diapausing mosquitoes survived the ice age, no such luck for the bear.

— Asian Tiger Mosquito eggs

While some mosquitoes become inactive with the onset of weather and enter into diapause (as detailed above) before the first frost, other mosquitoes die in the fall but have winter-hardy eggs, which lie on the ground like seeds waiting to sprout. The eggs await the “perfect” conditions to hatch and produce a new generation. Some of these eggs can actually survive for up to five years before hatching.

Mosquitoes Survived the Ice Age

The oldest known mosquito with an anatomy similar
to the modern species we deal with today was found preserved in 79-million-year-old Canadian amber from the Cretaceous period. In addition, an even older sister species with more primitive features was found in Burmese amber that is 90 to 100 million years old. Two mosquito fossils have also been found that show very little morphological difference from modern mosquitoes against their counterpart from 46 million years ago.

Our Early Ancestors Attempts at Mosquito Control

Scientists have discovered evidence of bedding that was constructed from plant stems and leaves which contained a natural plant-derived insecticide. This bedding would have served as much for mosquito control as for comfort at the time. The bedding was discovered in a rock shelter in Sibudu South Africa and is believed to be left by our early ancestors who slept in the shelter from 38,000 to 77,000 years ago. The use of these plants and leaves prove that the cavemen had knowledge of the specific insecticidal and medicinal uses of the plants within the world around them. Analysis of the bedding also concluded it was refurbished with the insecticidal plants and leaves on more than one occasion proving again, that the inhabitants of the Sibudu site were well aware of the properties and attributes of the plants and leaves they were choosing to “feather their beds” with at the time. Researchers also learned from an excavation of the site that the cavemen burned their used bedding in a way to possibly further mosquito control efforts within their living space and to maintain an insect free space.

Researchers are now looking for a method to reduce the population of mosquitoes by preventing diapause or causing them to exit diapause prematurely, but for now, your best shot at reducing the population of mosquitoes at your Charleston or Bluffton home is to alert the squad so that we can set up a full season of Mosquito Control for Charleston and West Ashley SC.

Our service helps to reduce the mosquito population, by up to 90%. Our trained applicators visit your property every 3 weeks. They will perform a site survey, identifying areas to be treated, including the foliage, natural areas, and other areas where we know mosquitoes like to feed and harbor. We treat for adult mosquitos as well as focusing on larval control. Whether you looking for a traditional barrier treatment or an all-natural approach, we offer options to best meet your outdoor family needs.

Call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us

Owner Brent Tatum and family

The Secret to Keeping Your Island Home Mosquito Free is Mosquito Squad

Edisto Island, John’s Island, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island Mosquito Control

If you live in or around one the tranquil islands that encompass the Charleston area, chances are likely you have encountered a bloodthirsty mosquito. Mosquito activity is so bothersome in areas such as Kiawah Island and Edisto Island, local Accuweather reports the daily mosquito activity and Zika risk from mosquitoes.

Living in such close proximity to marshlands and inland lagoons, residents in these island areas need to remain vigilant about mosquito control in order to stay protected. There are 61 different species of mosquitoes that exist in South Carolina. Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance, they can also transmit a host of mosquito-borne illness to humans and pets. Among these are West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Lacrosse Encephalitis and dog/cat heartworm. Below is a dhec map showing six confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in South Carolina reported thus far in 2017, two of which are in Beaufort County.

Data courtesy South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

The species Aedes sollicitans (aka The Eastern Saltmarsh mosquito), prefers stagnant salt marshes along the ocean for its eggs and larvae but will fly 10 miles or more inland to find a blood meal. Culex salinarius (sometimes called the Salt Marsh Culex), will breed in saltwater marshes, or even roadside ditches filled with cattails. This marsh-loving mosquito is considered to be a bridge vector of West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis, transmitting the virus from birds to humans and horses. The Aedes albopictus (known as the Asian Tiger mosquito), is known as the most evasive mosquitoes species in the world. It is cold-hardy, lays super resilient eggs and constantly acclimates to the environment it is faced with. Since Asian Tiger mosquitoes lay their eggs right on the edge of the water, rather than directly on it, any source of moisture can facilitate breeding.

Staying Protected at Your Coastal Home

Though each species of mosquito may prefer a slightly different habitat, almost all kinds of still or slow-moving water will be attractive to at least some kind of mosquito, unless we take action to discourage them.

Just as we discussed in one of our recent blog stories; Getting to Know the 7 T’s of Mosquito Control at your Charleston and West Ashley Property, effective mosquito control starts in your Edisto Island, John’s Island, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island backyard. Eradicating sources of moisture on your property in conjunction with a professional mosquito control and prevention program, is key.

Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston strives to provide extraordinary service in every aspect of our client relationships, from the first time we answer your phone call to helping to educate and inform as we continue treating your property with the utmost respect and care.

Contact us to learn more about keeping your coastal home an island paradise all season long! We offer the perfect solution for your mosquito control needs. Along with our traditional barrier treatment, we also offer essential oil-based mosquito control, mosquito control for special events and convenient mosquito misting systems. Call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us.

Owner Brent Tatum and family

Getting to Know the 7 T's of Mosquito Control at your Charleston and West Ashley Property

There is a shared misconception among many Charleston and West Ashley homeowners that just hiring a mosquito control company is enough to keep mosquitoes at bay. Yes, adding the expertise of a mosquito control professional, like Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston, is a wise decision in protecting your outdoor areas from the nuisance and dangers of mosquitoes. Keep in mind, however, that successful mosquito control also relies on common sense practices on the part of the homeowner. This means gaining a clear understanding of identifying and reducing potential mosquito breeding sites in and around your property.

You may be familiar with Mosquito Squad’s 7 T’s of mosquito control. These stand for TIP, TOSS, TURN, REMOVE TARPS, TAKE CARE, TEAM UP and TREAT. These are great guidelines for eradicating moisture and standing water on your property that may become sites for mosquitoes to breed, which if left at bay, could influence the effectiveness of your treatments.

  • Tip — Tip over items in your yard to reduce standing water and help eliminate mosquito breeding areas. Such as sandboxes, toys, garden implements and wheelbarrows. Also, undersides and saucers on planters and dog bowls. Other hotspots include gutters and flat roofs.
  • Toss — Remove and discard excess grass, leaves, firewood and clippings from yard as these areas stay moist and are ripe for mosquito breeding.

  • Turn — Turn over large yard items that could hold water like children’s sandboxes, kiddie pools or plastic toys when not in use.
  • Remove Tarps — If tarps stretched over firewood piles, boats, or sports equipment aren’t taught, they’re holding water. This also includes any covers used for outdoor furniture or grills/smokers. Make sure to emove them or keep them pulled tight.
  • Take Care — Take care of home and lawn maintenance needs that can contribute to standing water, including cleaning out gutters and making sure downspouts are attached properly, keeping your grass mowed and beds pruned, and check irrigation systems for leaks.
  • Team Up — Despite taking all precautions in your own home, the condition of neighboring properties can influence how many mosquitoes are taking refuge in your yard, and affect your control and prevention efforts. Talking with neighbors is a key component to the success of your mosquito, and tick control efforts. Townhomes and homes with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor’s home, and affect your property. Communication and caring is key!

Mosquito larvae in standing water

We achieve 85-90% reduction on the first barrier treatment. Our formula immediately eradicates existing mosquitoes on contact, so realistically, the reduction is almost immediate. Continuing our mosquito control program will ensure residual protection for the entire time you are on the service. During your first treatment, our technicians carefully inspect your Charleston or West Ashley property and eliminate or treat standing water, a potential mosquito breeding site, with a larvacide. This stops the life cycle of the mosquito at the larvae stage, so they cannot become adults. Then our technicians will treat to eliminate any adult mosquitoes currently on your property. This treatment will also build a barrier against any mosquitoes that enter your yard after treatment from other areas.

As part of service rotation, our technicians will return to your property approximately every 21 days to inspect and maintain this barrier, but it is crucial for you to conduct regular inspections on your property to eliminate any areas of standing water in order to maintain a mosquito-free property for the life of the treatment.

Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston strives to provide extraordinary service in every aspect of our client relationships, from the first time we answer your phone call to helping to educate and inform as we continue treating your property with the utmost respect and care.

We offer the perfect solution for your mosquito control needs. Along with our traditional barrier treatment, we also offer essential oil-based mosquito control, mosquito control for special events and convenient mosquito misting systems. Call us today at (843) 574-8919 today or email us.

Owner Brent Tatum and family

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