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MAY 01 2022 /
Mosquitoes. Ticks. Aren’t these two just the worst? What’s even worse is both of these pests are extremely common in the Carolinas. They buzz and crawl and invite themselves to a taste of your blood — without permission, we might add. Spending time outside can then become a bit of a pain with these two pests hanging around. Learning a few DIY prevention tips, including when to spray for mosquitos and ticks, and how professional services can help manage these pests long-term is the secret to keeping them away. So don’t let mosquitoes and ticks scare you into thinking you can’t spend time in your own backyard! We’re here to show you how to get your yard back and get rid of these unwanted pests for good.
Mosquitoes are considered a nuisance for many reasons, the first being due to the itchy bites they leave behind. Interestingly enough, the female mosquitoes are the only ones that bite. When a female mosquito lands on your skin, she pierces the surface with a needle-like mouth piece that can reach deep into your blood vessels. While the mosquito is ‘drinking’, saliva containing specific proteins are injected back into your skin. An allergic reaction from the saliva is what causes the bites to itch. While their bite is annoying, it’s really the least of our worries when it comes to this pest. Mosquitoes spread all sorts of diseases to humans and pets, and are considered to be one of the most deadly creatures in the world because of the many life-threatening diseases they carry. In the U.S., mosquitoes have been reported to spread West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya virus, and the zika virus. Keep in mind these mosquito-borne diseases are no joke — each one presents its own harmful set of symptoms, from parasites, to a fever, to potential birth defects in children. Not only can they harm humans, but these tiny pests can bring harm to our pets as well. Specifically, mosquitoes can spread heartworm disease to dogs, cats, and even ferrets. Heartworm is caused by a parasitic worm that makes its way into our pets' bodies through the bite of a mosquito. From there, the parasite travels into the cavities of the heart, slowly growing and producing offspring inside of the organ. If not treated quickly, heartworm can eventually take over the entire organ. The heart will begin to struggle beating even at a resting heart rate, and blood flow will significantly decrease. Over time, this can become fatal and difficult to treat. Sadly, treatment for heartworms includes restricting any type of exercise by confining your pet since their heart rate needs to remain low at all times. This can be very difficult for playful or active pets, but also heartbreaking for owners to see their animals confined in cages for months on end because of one mosquito! Related: Why Environmental Pest Control Matters For Pets
Ticks are even sneakier than mosquitoes, as they’re completely quiet and difficult to spot. You generally don’t even notice them until they’ve gorged themselves on your blood and have swelled up to more than twice their original size. Similar to mosquitoes, ticks have mouths that are able to reach under several layers of skin. The one major difference between the two pests, however, is how they travel. Because ticks don’t have wings like mosquitoes do, they have to be more resourceful in how they get around. Ticks tend to ‘hitchhike’ by reaching out their legs and latching onto you when you get close enough. This is the #1 reason why you should avoid walking in tall brush or dense vegetation! Well, that and snakes. Like their mosquito friends, ticks also spread diseases from host to host. Deer are usually responsible for bringing infected ticks into urban areas where they then spread diseases to humans. Here in the Carolinas, the most common tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Bourbon virus, Ehrlichiosis, Heartland virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI). And although not all ticks spread disease, it’s recommended to avoid them because there’s no way of knowing if a tick is infected. In pets, ticks can also spread Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, plus a few lesser-known illnesses that only affect dogs. Ticks can be especially difficult to find on animals since they bury themselves into areas that are hard to check and easily forgotten. Be sure to look in between toe pads, ear canals, and inside of the mouth. Remember that our pets are more likely to get bitten by ticks as they tend to roll in grass, wander off path, and so on!
Luckily, there are several things you can do yourself to keep mosquitoes and ticks away from you and your pets!
A variety of herbs and flowers can be planted throughout your yard to naturally repel mosquitoes and ticks. Believe it or not, these little pests are repulsed by certain scents, so plant as many as possible to ensure they won’t come around. Overall, chrysanthemums are the best plant for repelling both types of pests while adding some charm to your garden!
Essential oils provide an alternative method to repel mosquitoes and ticks, too. Diffusing lavender and peppermint oils can deter mosquitoes, while cedar and tea tree oil tend to work better on ticks. Get creative and concoct your own blend and diffuse them outdoors. Or, wear the oils directly by making your own repellent.
The easiest way to ward off ticks is by preventing deer from coming near your home. Adding fencing and deer-resistant plants will keep them from coming into your yard and spreading potentially infected ticks. However, barriers like fences won’t do much for mosquitoes, so consider installing outdoor fans to prevent this pest from being able to land on you. When it comes to both mosquitoes and ticks, be sure to remove any tall grasses or standing water that could serve as a breeding ground or shelter. Implementing all of these tips together will help you keep your yard mosquito and tick free!
Understandably, if a few drops of essential oils or plants aren’t doing the trick, you may decide to use chemical pesticides instead. Knowing when to spray for mosquitoes and ticks is key, as you never want to spray more chemicals than necessary — which is part of the Integrated Pest Management approach we follow here at Killingsworth. If you want our opinion on when to spray for mosquitoes, dawn and dusk are the best times to get the job done. This is when mosquitoes are most active since they’re out looking for food. Doing it at these odd hours also means you won’t accidentally spray beneficial insects like bees or butterflies that are active during daylight hours. Finally, keep the weather in mind when preparing to spray for pests. Rain and heavy wind can make spraying difficult and less effective if the product is blown or washed away.
On the other hand, if you have children and pets or are conscious of the environment and don’t want chemicals sprayed near your home, you can let us handle the mosquitoes for you.
Our Mosquito Control and Treatment Services consist of monthly applications of a residual based solution that are applied from March through November. In addition, we apply larvicide to areas that are attractants to mosquitoes and ticks, such as gutters. You can feel relieved knowing our pest technicians are expertly trained on how to apply these products safely, without exposing you to unnecessary risk. During our spraying process all shrubbery, tall grasses, and plants are coated with our special solution to remove mosquitoes and ticks from the entire perimeter. Our pest technicians also focus on application beneath raised decks, and lifted structures. Using specialized equipment, they can thoroughly reach every nook and cranny to ensure pests can’t simply hide until the solution’s chemicals have broken down and are no longer effective. As you know, these pests are really good at hiding, so we not only know when to spray for mosquitoes and ticks, but where and how to do it!
Unfortunately, companies that are not properly trained in spraying for pests tend to use excessive amounts of chemicals to try and eliminate as many pests as possible. These chemicals only prevent mosquitoes and ticks for a short time and pose serious health risks to humans and animals if not used properly.
Unlike some other pest companies out there, we are extremely transparent and proud about what we do! Our pest control services go above and beyond to make sure you get your Killingsworth. As part of our service, we don’t just send in technicians who spray all over and call it good. Instead, we take the time to identify exactly what’s going on. We’ll take note of what pests are invading your space, how they’re doing it, and why. From there, we come up with the perfect plan of attack. One that won’t harm you, your home, or your pets, but send those pests packing! As we efficiently treat infestations, we also take note of how to prevent future infestations from happening. Schedule an inspection with our pest control technicians to get started!
This content was originally published in 2017 and refreshed in 2020.