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.

Species Spotlight: Gulf Coast Tick

Gulf Coast tick

Ticks are some of the most common pests in the United States. With over 800 species in the whole world and roughly 90 of them inhabiting the United States, ticks are everywhere. As a company that specializes in tick control, one of our goals at Mosquito Authority is to educate our customers on just how important proper tick control is. Each species of tick is different and it is crucial to understand each one, from where they live to what diseases they spread.

In our last Species Spotlight, we told you about the lone star tick. The lone star tick typically inhabits the eastern half of the United States, feeds on different hosts throughout its lifecycle, and transmits a number of diseases to both humans and animals. In this week’s Species Spotlight, you will learn about a different tick species: the Amblyomma maculatum, otherwise known as the Gulf Coast tick. Read on to learn more about the Gulf Coast tick:

Where do they live?

As the name suggests, the Gulf Coast tick is usually found in states along the Atlantic coast such as Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Ticks of this species can also be found in parts of southern Arizona and other areas along the Gulf of Mexico. 

What does their life cycle look like?

The Gulf Coast tick goes through the typical life cycle with four stages: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. Unlike other ticks who prefer to have only one host throughout their life cycles, such as the brown dog tick, the Gulf Coast tick usually feeds on three different hosts at each life stage

Are they dangerous to humans?

Like many other species, Gulf Coast ticks can transmit diseases to humans. According to the National Environmental Health Association, ticks of this species are able to transmit Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis to humans. This disease is a form of spotted fever and differs slightly from Rocky Mountain spotted fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Are they dangerous to animals?

Gulf Coast ticks can transmit Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis to both humans and animals. While they will occasionally choose human hosts, these ticks primarily feed on wildlife.

When are they active?

Gulf Coast ticks are active at different times of the year depending on what life stage they are in. As adults, these ticks are most active from June through October. As nymphs, however, they are typically more active from December through March. Gulf Coast tick activity can also vary based on geographic location. For example, Gulf Coast ticks in Texas can be active from May through March.

What do they look like?

Ticks of this species look different depending on their life stage. As nymphs, Gulf Coast ticks are typically dark bluish-gray or a dull white. Adult female and male ticks of this species are dark brown with silvery-white stripes near the tops of their bodies.

How do I protect myself and my pets from Gulf Coast ticks?

Here are some simple and effective ways you can protect yourself and your family from tick bites:

  • Gulf Coast ticks often feed on birds and mammals, so discourage any unwanted wildlife from entering your yard by constructing fences.
  • Clear tall grass and bushes from around your home.
  • If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away.
  • If you are hiking, keep to the center of trails.
  • Hire a local tick control company

Now that you know a little bit about Gulf Coast ticks, you can be better prepared and more knowledgeable about tick control. However, the best thing you can do to avoid ticks in your yard is to hire a professional. At Mosquito Authority, we rid your yard of ticks so you don’t have to worry every time you step outside.
To find your local tick control company, click here.