Mosquito-Borne Illness: Zika Virus

Mosquitoes are quite a nuisance during the warmer months of the year. But did you know they can be much more than just an obstacle in the way of enjoying the outdoors? These pests can be highly dangerous, as they are vectors for a variety of diseases such as West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, and equine encephalitis.

In our last spotlight on mosquito-borne illness, we discussed West Nile virus, from the symptoms of the disease to how to prevent yourself from contracting it. As we continue our series on mosquito-borne illnesses, this week we are introducing you to Zika virus. 

As a mosquito control company, we strive to educate our customers on the potential health risks of mosquitoes in order to create a happy and safe outdoor environment. Here are some frequently asked questions about mosquito control and Zika virus along with information from the National Pest Management Alliance (NPMA):

Where are mosquitoes found?

While mosquitoes inhabit areas all throughout the United States, some species are more common in specific regions. For example, the Asian tiger mosquito, which can transmit Zika virus, is typically found in the southern and northeastern states. Unlike many mosquito species that feed during dusk and dawn, Asian tiger mosquitoes prefer to feed during the day (NPMA).

What is Zika virus?

Zika is a disease spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito of the Aedes species. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika outbreaks have been reported in areas such as tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands since the first human cases were detected in 1952. However, Zika cases have also been reported throughout the Eastern Pacific, South and Central America, and the United States.

While Zika virus is usually not fatal, it can have long-term side effects. For more information on Zika virus, visit the CDC website here.

How is Zika transmitted?

As mentioned before, Zika is transmitted through the bites of infected Aedes species mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are also responsible for transmitting illnesses such as dengue fever and chikungunya. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are among the most common mosquitoes in the United States, are the primary carriers of Zika. Additionally, Asian tiger mosquitoes can transmit Zika and are found mainly in Southeast Asia (NPMA). 

What precautions can be taken to help prevent mosquito bites?

Knowing what precautions to take in order to prevent mosquito bites is crucial to proper mosquito control. Here are some helpful tips on how to do this:

  • Use air conditioning and fans (if possible) when you are sitting outside.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellent products.
  • Always apply and reapply insect repellent when outside.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers their arms and legs.
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin.
  • Hire a local mosquito control company.

We at Mosquito Authority aim to give you and your family peace of mind by eliminating mosquitoes from your outdoor space. Apart from being a bothersome pest, mosquitoes also transmit dangerous diseases such as Zika virus, malaria, dengue fever, and more.


Don’t wait until mosquitoes have invaded your backyard to do something about it. Find your local mosquito control company here.

What Happens to Mosquitoes in Winter?

One good thing about the end of summer and the beginning of winter is the disappearance of mosquitoes. Many people are sad to see the warm weather leave as the cold weather sets in, but the lack of mosquitoes in the air is definitely an upside to winter. 

But have you ever wondered what happens to the mosquitoes in your yard when winter comes around? A common belief is that mosquitoes simply die off in the colder months of the year. However, this is not always the case. 

The Mosquito Life Cycle

To understand what really happens to these insects when the temperatures outside drop, we have to first understand their life cycle. Most mosquitoes go through four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, one of the most common species of mosquito in the United States, overwinter in the egg stage. 

So what does it mean to overwinter? This means that female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes lay their eggs prior to temperatures dropping in the winter. Mosquitoes only need half an inch of water to lay their eggs in, which is why getting rid of any standing water in your yard or outdoor space is a crucial part of mosquito control. 

The adult mosquitoes will eventually die off after breeding and laying eggs; however, their eggs can survive throughout winter by going into a state of diapause, meaning their development is paused for a few months. When temperatures eventually start to rise again, the eggs will resume development and hatch.

Adult Mosquitoes in Winter 

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), whether or not a mosquito lives through winter depends on its species. Some species can overwinter as adults by hiding in places like logs or holes in the ground (NPMA). 

By finding warm places to hibernate during the colder months of the year, female mosquitoes can delay laying their eggs until spring comes around again. This overwintering process, for both adults and eggs, means mosquitoes can get a headstart in the spring when it comes to invading your backyard. 

Preparing for Mosquitoes Ahead of Time

At Mosquito Authority, we take every step possible to ensure your home is mosquito free– and it stays that way. Here are some tips on mosquito control in the winter and preventing mosquitoes from surviving the cold months:

Get rid of any standing water in your yard

Mosquitoes need water to breed and lay eggs, but they do not need a lot. Because these insects can lay eggs in as little as half an inch of water, it is important to get rid of anything in your yard that could collect and hold water.  

Declutter your yard

There are a lot of items that can hold water if left out in a yard, including tire swings, trash can lids, and wheel barrels. Remember to consistently empty these items of any standing water and replace birdbath water frequently.

Use mosquito repellent

When spending time outdoors, make sure to apply mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Mosquito Authority takes all aspects of mosquito control seriously, from ridding your yard of these pests to ensuring they don’t have places to breed. Contact us for more information on our services and find a Mosquito Authority location near you!

Mosquito-Borne Illness: West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes are known for being a highly bothersome pest, invading your backyard and preventing you from enjoying the outdoors. But did you know they are also the deadliest insect in the world? By transmitting diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, mosquitoes cause hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide every year. One of those diseases carried and transmitted by mosquitoes is West Nile virus. 

As a mosquito control company, our main goal is to protect you and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses so you can feel free to enjoy the outdoors with peace of mind. Here are some commonly-asked questions about mosquitoes and West Nile virus along with some helpful information from the National Pest Management Alliance (NPMA):

Why are mosquitoes considered a dangerous pest?

Although most Americans think of mosquitoes as just a nuisance, they are much more than that. Mosquitoes are notorious for spreading several potentially deadly diseases to humans and animals, including West Nile Virus, malaria, dengue fever, and equine encephalitis. According to the NPMA, more than 700,000 children die each year from malaria in Africa.

Should the average American be concerned about contracting West Nile virus?

West Nile virus has continued to spread throughout the United States since 1999. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the United States. Most people infected with West Nile virus do not experience serious symptoms, while others can die from the disease. In order to reduce your chance of being bitten by an infected mosquito, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts while outside when appropriate.

Are mosquitoes more prevalent during a specific season?

Yes, mosquitoes are most prevalent during the summer months. However, depending on the region and temperature, mosquitoes can also be active during the fall. Mosquitoes typically remain active until temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

Does the weather have an impact on the spread of West Nile virus?

Since mosquitoes thrive in high temperatures, they are more active in the warmer months. According to the NPMA, extreme heat and drought conditions might play a part in the spread of this virus. When the weather warms up, mosquito larva grows more quickly and the breeding cycle speeds up.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?

Symptoms of West Nile virus are typically mild and usually mimic those of the flu. However, some severe cases can lead to a potentially fatal infection causing fever, body aches, weakness, confusion, and sometimes coma.

How can I prevent West Nile Virus?

There are several precautions you can take in order to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus. Here are some tips from the NPMA:

  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your yard and home by getting rid of all standing water. Common items that tend to collect standing water include grill covers, trash cans, birdbaths, tire swings, and more.
  • Screen windows, doors, and other openings in your house with mesh.
  • Minimize outdoor activity during dusk and dawn, which is when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin.
  • Contact a local mosquito control company

Our job as a mosquito control company is to help protect you and your family from mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses. By knowing the potential health risks, you will be better prepared to prevent them.
To find your local Mosquito Authority, click here.

Common Tick and Mosquito Myths

As a mosquito and tick control business, we know it is important for our customers to have all of the facts when it comes to these pests. Think you know all there is to know about mosquitoes and ticks? Here are some commonly-believed myths about these pests that might surprise you:

Myth: All mosquitoes bite

While it might seem like every mosquito on earth is out to bite you as soon as you step outside, that is actually not the case. The truth is only female mosquitoes bite humans, as they need blood to lay their eggs. Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, only need to feed on nectar and other plant nutrients.

Myth: Ticks find their hosts by falling or jumping from trees

While this is probably the most widely believed “fact” about ticks, it is a myth. Ticks lack the ability to jump and fly, so they will climb up a blade of grass or some shrubbery and wait until a human or animal brushes by. This is why trimming tall grass and other foliage around your yard is a common method of tick control.

Myth: Citronella candles are 100% effective

While citronella candles work to some degree as mosquito deterrent, they are not totally effective. In fact, regular candles probably work just the same as those with citronella in them. The amount of citronella oil used in candles is very small, so using a DEET repellent is a much more powerful deterrent.

Myth: Ticks die off in the winter

It is a popular belief that ticks, along with most other summer pests, die off in the winter. However, some species of tick, such as the Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick) and Ixodes pacificus (western blacklegged tick), can actually survive the colder months. Temperatures have to be below freezing for ticks to die, so there is a good chance ticks will still be around if you live in a warm region of the country.

Myth: Mosquitoes are more attracted to people with “sweet” blood

There is a common myth that mosquitoes tend to bite certain people who have “sweet” blood. However, this is not true. In fact, the taste of a person’s blood has nothing to do with his or her risk of being bitten. According to the CDC, Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and the lactic acid in our breath, so the odors we release play a big role in how attractive we are to these pests. 

Studies have also shown that mosquitoes are more likely to bite those with Type O blood rather than Type A, so your blood type might actually be contributing to your mosquito bites.

Myth: Drinking alcohol does not attract mosquitoes

Studies have shown that drinking alcohol, particularly beer, increases your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. In a study published by the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, researchers discovered that the percentage of mosquito landings on people greatly increased after beer drinking. In other words, make sure you are wearing extra mosquito repellent if you are planning on having a drink outside.

We take mosquito and tick control seriously so you and your family can have peace of mind in your outdoor space. Contact a Mosquito Authority location near you to take back your backyard and check out our other blogs for more information on these pests.

Be Mosquito-Free

Learn how to better protect yourself from mosquitoes and disease!

At Mosquito Authority, our goal is to help protect you and your family from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. To do this, we believe it is important that our customers know what they can do to help prevent mosquitoes from invading their yard. 

There are a lot of ways mosquitoes can get in the way of enjoying your outdoor space. You might not know it, but your yard could be providing these pests with the environment they need to survive. For example, did you know mosquitoes can breed in as little as a tablespoon of water? Knowing things like this is a crucial part of mosquito control.

For mosquito control around your home, we recommend following the three Ds: Drain, Dress, Defend. To help you better prepare for mosquito season and enjoy a peaceful backyard, check out what it means to Drain, Dress, and Defend:

DRAIN: You might be unknowingly attracting mosquitoes to your outdoor area. There are plenty of items in your backyard that are capable of collecting even small amounts of standing water. These items can become huge magnets for mosquitoes, who need water to breed.

Remove all standing water in your yard and around your home; a mosquito only needs about a tablespoon of standing water to lay her eggs, so it’s important to get rid of any standing water that could be potential breeding sites for these pests. Common locations for standing water include:

  • Clogged rain gutters and corrugated drain pipes
  • Bird baths, pet food and water bowls, and planters
  • Trash and recycling bins
  • Children’s toys and kiddie pools
  • Grill covers
  • Flower pots
  • Tire swings
  • Buckets

DRESS: Did you know that the clothes you wear might be making you more attractive to mosquitoes? To reduce your risk of being bitten, try to wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are known to be more attracted to dark clothing than light clothing, so wearing lighter colors can help you be less attractive to these pests. Also, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when appropriate is helpful. Mosquitoes can even bite through loose-weave and tight-fitting clothing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend dressing your children in clothing that covers their arms and legs. 

DEFEND: EPA-registered repellents are reviewed and approved to pose minimal risk when used properly. The most effective ingredients to look for in repellent are DEET, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. 

When applying insect repellent, always follow the instructions on the product label and reapply as directed. The CDC advises against spraying mosquito repellent on areas that will be covered by clothing. Lastly, if you plan to wear sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and then apply your insect repellent.

When performed properly by trained professionals, backyard mosquito treatments can help reduce the danger and risk posed by mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses. Mosquito Authority’s integrated mosquito management protocol will break the mosquito life cycle and all but eliminate mosquitoes from your yard (and your life) all summer long.

When dealing with mosquitoes, it is crucial to remember the three Ds: Drain, Dress, Defend. Ridding your yard of standing water, wearing loose and light-colored clothing, and applying mosquito repellent are just a few of the ways you can prevent mosquito bites. To find your local mosquito control company, click here.