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.

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.

Tick Control: Diseases in Animals

At Mosquito Authority, we make it our priority to protect your entire family– including the furry members. A big part of ensuring the safety of your dogs and cats is knowing that they are safe from ticks and tick-borne diseases. That’s why we take tick control seriously; so you can have peace of mind every time your pets are enjoying the outdoors.

You probably know that getting bitten by a tick puts your pet at risk for Lyme disease. However, ticks can spread numerous other diseases to animals as well, and can even infect your pets with more than one at a time. 

Here are some tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted to animals:

Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is transmitted by the wood tick in the western United States and the American dog tick in the eastern part of the country. It’s important to frequently check your pets for ticks, because they can contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever after a tick has been on them for five hours. When infected with this disease, dogs can experience joint pain, reduced appetite, liver damage, heart problems, or other serious symptoms.

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis is transmitted by deer ticks and western black-legged ticks. Both dogs and cats can contract this disease. If your pet has been infected with anaplasmosis, they may experience vomiting, joint pain, and nervous system disorders, among other things. 

Tularemia

Tularemia can be transmitted by three different ticks in the United States: the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). This disease, also known as rabbit fever, usually affects cats more often than dogs. There is no preventative vaccine for tularemia, but it can be treated with antibiotics.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis is one of the more serious illnesses caused by tick bites. Usually caused by a bite from an Ixodes scapularis tick (deer tick), most cases of this disease are found in the northeastern and Upper Midwest areas of the United States. Babesiosis can cause severe problems in dogs, including high fever, depression, shock, and even death. 

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is one of the more commonly known tick-borne illnesses, and a significant reason why we practice tick control. Like Babesiosis, Lyme disease is primarily reported in the Upper Midwestern and northeastern United States and transmitted by the deer tick. It usually takes about 48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease to its host, so be sure to check your pets for ticks often and remove them as soon as possible. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, swollen joints, and reduced appetite.


Practicing tick control and preventing tick-borne illnesses is an important part of making sure your pets are happy and healthy. Click here to find your local tick control company.

For more information on tick-borne diseases, visit the CDC website

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Most people know that mosquitoes spread diseases such as malaria and West Nile Virus, but did you know they are responsible for much more than that?

Here are some of the many mosquito-borne illnesses and some tips on preventing them:

West Nile Virus

First detected in the U.S. in 1999, West Nile Virus can lead to serious complications of the liver or nervous system, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or paralysis. 

Malaria

Malaria was thought to have been eradicated in the United States, but was detected in mosquitoes in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 2002. Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animal in the world due to the millions of people who have died from diseases like malaria.

Dengue Fever

A small but important risk for dengue fever exists in the United States. Travelers may introduce 100 to 200 cases into the United States each year. Symptoms of Dengue include vomiting, rash, and aches and pains.

Zika

The Zike virus is primarily spread to people who have been bitten by an infected mosquito of the Aedes species. Mosquitoes of this species are active both in the daytime and at night, and there is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika. If Zika is contracted during pregnancy, it can cause birth defects.

How you can help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses:

Contact a local pest management professional

Professional mosquito control companies can help homeowners reduce their exposure to mosquito bites by inspecting properties for mosquito breeding sites, and treating to control mosquitoes or suggesting corrective actions. At Mosquito Authority, our priority is the safety and well-being of you and your family.

Prevent breeding mosquitoes

An important part of mosquito control and prevention is making sure these pests do not have a place to breed. Eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites by replacing all standing water at least once a week. Potential breeding sites include bird baths, ponds, pools, and toys left out in the yard.

Get rid of yard clutter

Remove any unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.

Introduce mosquito-eating fish to standing water

Some fish that eat mosquitoes include Gambusia, Green Sunfish, Bluegills, and Minnows. Introduce these fish to standing water sources in your yard, such as ponds, to reduce the chance of mosquitoes breeding.

Screen windows, doors, and other openings with mesh

Use mesh that is 18×18 strands per square inch, or finer. Seal around all screen edges, and keep doors and windows shut to prevent entry of most mosquito species.

Know when and where to avoid mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, so plan accordingly if you are going to be outside during those times. 

Use insect repellent on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite

The most effective repellents currently available contain the active ingredient DEET, in concentrations up to about 35% (greater concentrations do not offer better protection). Also, wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants, preferably treated with a repellent as well.


Mosquito control is not just important for your comfort, but for your health as well. You can visit the CDC for more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, and check out our other blogs for more mosquito control tips.

How do Mosquitoes Transmit Disease?

Did you know there are roughly 3,000 different mosquito species in the world? Out of those 3,000, about 200 species live in the United States. 

Many people may connect the height of mosquito season, occurring in the summer through early fall, to the itchy welts that accompany mosquito bites. But, there are far worse associations to make with these blood-sucking pests, such as the health threats they pose to humans in their daily lives—even in their own backyards.

Out of the thousands of mosquito species living all over the world, many have the potential for carrying and spreading various diseases. In the United States, mosquitoes are known to spread West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, and chikungunya virus. These illnesses do not have specific vaccines or treatments, so year-round mosquito control is crucial. Other mosquito-borne illnesses include malaria, Dengue fever, and Zika virus.

How do mosquitoes contract a disease?

To fully understand the importance of mosquito control, let’s think about how mosquitoes can contract diseases in the first place. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the process by which mosquitoes contract and transmit illnesses is somewhat complex and generally consists of five steps:

  1. A female mosquito takes a blood meal from a human or animal host
  1. If that blood meal contains a germ, the germ must pass from the mosquito’s gut into its body. Therefore, mosquitoes can only transmit germs that can grow or multiply in their bodies.
  1. After the germ multiplies in the mosquitoes body, it travels to the salivary glands in about 2-3 weeks.
  1. Now that the germ is in the salivary glands, the mosquito can transmit it to a host. The next time the mosquito bites a person or animal, the germ passes from the salivary glands to the blood of the host. 
  1. The person or animal bitten is at risk for contracting disease.

Which mosquito spread disease? 

Now that we know how mosquitoes contract and spread disease, we can see which mosquitoes are responsible for spreading which diseases.

Aedes: Aedes mosquitoes are responsible for many well-known diseases, such as Yellow Fever, Zika virus, Dengue, and Lymphatic filariasis. 

Anopheles: Anopheles mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of probably the most well-known mosquito-borne illness in the world: malaria. Malaria takes hundreds of thousands of lives every year, particularly in areas with tropical and subtropical climates. According to the CDC, nearly half of the world’s population lives in areas at risk of malaria transmission.

Culex: Culex mosquitoes are known for spreading diseases like Japanese encephalitis and West Nile Fever.
Mosquito control is not just necessary for your comfort, but for your health as well. To learn more about mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, visit the CDC or World Health Organization websites.