Covid-Safe Holiday Tips

2020 has been a long year for everyone, which is why we all deserve to enjoy the holiday season! Unfortunately, our celebrations will most likely look a little different this year due to the spread of COVID-19. However, that just means we have to find new ways to enjoy the holidays!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are plenty of precautions you can take that will minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19 while still celebrating this season. Here are some tips for a COVID-safe holiday season:

Host a virtual gathering

While virtual Secret Santa parties or Christmas dinners might not be your preferred way of celebrating the holidays, they are relatively COVID-safe. If you can’t see family or friends over the holidays due to the pandemic, you can still make it special by seeing them over a phone or laptop. Virtual gatherings pose little risk for contracting COVID-19, which makes them a viable option for holiday celebrations.

Wear masks and stay outside where possible

If you do decide to see people over the holidays, make sure you follow the proper COVID precautions. The CDC recommends hosting outdoor rather than indoor gatherings and always wearing a mask to reduce your risk of contracting the virus. You should also bring hand sanitizer wherever you go, whether you are doing some last-minute Christmas shopping or attending a gift exchange. 

Have a “drive-by” party

For months now, people have been opting to have “drive-by” parties in lieu of birthday parties and holiday gatherings. If you’re itching for some human interaction during the Christmas season (who isn’t?), consider hosting a “drive-by” party where friends and family can celebrate from the safety of their own vehicles. Sit out on the front porch or sidewalk and enjoy the festivities!

Prepare homemade dishes and deliver them in advance

The pandemic is unfortunately forcing many people, especially those at high-risk for contracting COVID, to celebrate the holidays alone or somewhat isolated. If you know of someone who is spending this holiday season by themselves, consider delivering them a home-cooked meal or a traditional family dish. Just be sure to make a contactless delivery and take proper COVID precautions! 

Keep it in the family

For some, the holidays aren’t the same without family. If you plan on getting together with your family over the holidays, try to keep the gathering small and maintain social distancing guidelines with those you do not live with. While the CDC does not provide a specific number for gatherings, they do recommend limiting the number of attendees as much as possible.

Opt to shop online

Online shopping has become more and more popular over the years and is a relatively COVID-safe option for Christmas shoppers. Instead of shopping in crowded stores, try ordering your Christmas presents online to eliminate the potential risk of in-person shopping. If you do opt to go to physical stores, don’t forget to wear a mask and practice social distancing!

For more information on COVID-19 guidelines during the holidays, visit the CDC website.

Life Cycle of a Tick

At Mosquito Authority, we don’t just protect you and your family from mosquitoes; we offer tick extermination as well! Ticks are notorious for causing all sorts of diseases, from Lyme Disease to Rocky Mountain spotted fever to anaplasmosis. In order to survive, these pests latch onto animals and/or humans to get their meals. If you want to read some interesting facts about these pests, check out our blog highlighting some things you probably didn’t know about ticks.

Nobody really wants to think about ticks, but these creatures actually have a fascinating life cycle. Most ticks go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching, a tick must eat a blood meal at every life stage in order to move onto the next one. The CDC estimates that preparing to feed can take anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours, depending on the species of the tick and its stage of life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Ticks that require this many hosts can take up to three years to complete their full life cycle, and most will die because they don’t find a host for their next feeding.” 

While the tick life cycle is very similar for all ticks, it does vary for some species. For example, the Rhipicephalus sanguineus, otherwise known as the brown dog tick, prefers to feed on the same host during all of its life stages. Most other species, however, need different hosts at each life stage. Ticks have the ability to feed on mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians, increasing the chance that they will come into contact with disease at some point in their lives.

When a tick feeds on someone or something with a bloodborne infection, it ingests the pathogens in that host’s blood. So, when that tick finds a new host during its next life stage, it can transfer whatever disease it has ingested to its new food source.

So, how do ticks find their hosts? According to the CDC, these pests can detect an animal’s (that includes humans) breath and body odors, as well as sense body heat, vibrations, and moisture. Ticks can also identify paths with a lot of traffic and search for hosts there. However, because ticks can’t jump or fly, they sit on leaves and/or tall grass and wait for a host to walk by.

This is why maintaining your yard is an important part of tick extermination. Because many ticks search for hosts in areas of tall grass and bushes, clearing this foliage from the edge of your lawn can help reduce the blacklegged tick population. You should also remove any leaf litter from your lawn and keep playground equipment away from trees.

We also highly recommend hiring a professional tick extermination service. Ticks can carry a wide variety of diseases, and exterminating them will give you more peace of mind when enjoying your outdoor space. Just like with our mosquito control service, Mosquito Authority offers you tick extermination with no contracts and no commitments. Call us today to schedule a tick treatment!

How to Make the Most of Your Fall Garden

Looking for ways to spruce up your garden this season? You’re in luck, because fall is a great time to plant some beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables. Even if you don’t necessarily have a green thumb, you can still make your garden something to be proud of. Read on for some Mosquito Authority-approved tips on how to make the most of your fall garden:

Flowers to plant:

  • Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemums come in a variety of colors perfect for fall, such as red, yellow, orange, and pink. Simply make sure you plant these flowers at least six weeks before any extreme cold weather, so they can have time to establish roots.
  • Aster: If you want to add some cool colors to your autumn garden, plant some aster. Aster is a perennial plant that grows in many different colors like purple and blue. Nectar from an aster plant is also a great food source for butterflies and bees!
  • Sweet Alyssum: Sweet alyssum isn’t just for decoration; it also has a pleasantly sweet scent. Flowering in shades of white, pink, purple, yellow, and peach, sweet alyssum grows along the ground to create a flowery carpet of color.
  • Black-Eyed Susan: Black-eyed susans are another flower that will brighten up your autumn garden. These golden blooms look beautiful next to any flower and are a favorite food source of bees and butterflies.

Vegetables to plant:

  • Beets: Beets are a great fall vegetable that should be planted about 8-10 weeks before the first winter frost. If you follow this timeline, you should be able to harvest your beets in time for the holidays.
  • Carrots: Carrots are not only a great source of nutrition, but they also add some color to your garden. These veggies come in a variety of colors including white, purple, crimson, and yellow. Carrots should be planted about 6-8 inches apart with 5-8 seeds per inch.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli that grows during the cold weather actually tastes sweeter than when grown any other time of the year. If you’re planning on growing broccoli this year, plant this crop about 85-100 days before the first frost.
  • Onions: Onions are another crop that come in numerous forms and colors. Depending on your region, certain onions may do better than others. Onions should be planted 2-4 weeks before the first frost of the year.

There are plenty of other flowers and vegetables that can thrive in the cooler weather, so make the most of your fall garden this year by trying some of them out!

Fall Activities to Celebrate the Season

Fall has finally arrived, and with it, the cool weather, changing leaves, and pumpkin spiced lattes. COVID-19 has kept most of us cooped up inside for the majority of 2020, but the one thing it can’t do is keep us from enjoying autumn and the festivities that come with it. 

There are plenty of ways to enjoy the season, whether you are someone who enjoys the outdoors or someone who would rather stay in for a cozy night by the fireplace. Here are some fun, fall activities you can do with the whole family:

Go pumpkin-picking

It wouldn’t be autumn without a day spent in a pumpkin patch. Pumpkin-picking is a classic way to celebrate the season while also getting to enjoy the outdoors with the whole family. Many pumpkin farms even offer extra activities to take part in, such as hay rides and food markets.

Spruce up your fall garden 

Fall is a great time to add some color to your garden. Whether you are a gardening expert or just starting out, there are plenty of beautiful flowers to plant when autumn comes around. Violas, black-eyed Susans, and chrysanthemums are all great options for fall flower planting!

Have a backyard bonfire

Bonfires are a fun way to make the most of a chilly night outdoors. Who doesn’t love s’mores and spooky stories? If you’re worried about being bitten up by mosquitoes, give us a call and we will make sure your backyard is mosquito-free and bonfire-ready!

Plan a family movie night

Sometimes these chilly October nights can have you wanting a night in, so settle in for a family movie night! There are plenty of movies to get you in the festive spirit, so choose one or two (or three) and enjoy a cozy night in.

Visit a corn maze

Corn mazes are fun no matter what your age. If staying inside just doesn’t seem like fun this weekend, enjoying a corn maze is a fun alternative. It’s okay if you get lost in there– that’s half the fun! 

Decorate your house for fall

One of the best ways you can get in the autumn spirit is by putting up some fall decorations. You can even take it to the next level by making your own decorations; homemade wreaths and painted pumpkins are great DIY crafts that everyone can help make!  

Try out some new fall recipes

Autumn brings with it some of the best foods, from pumpkin bread to apple pie. If you are in the baking mood or want to improve your skills in the kitchen, there are plenty of delicious, fall-themed recipes ranging from easy to expert.

Go on a hike

It’s hard to feel motivated to stay active during the colder months of the year, so consider taking your family on a hike. Hiking is not only great exercise, but also a way to enjoy the outdoors and fall foliage with the whole family. 

These are just a few of the many ways to enjoy fall. If you are planning on spending a lot of time outdoors this season, schedule a Mosquito Authority treatment to make sure your backyard is mosquito and tick-free.