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Lyme Disease in Austin: What No One Else is Telling You

Lyme Disease is the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were over 27,000 cases of Lyme Disease in the U.S. in 2013, a number many believe to be underreported. As numbers rise steadily for the past two years, more awareness and better diagnosing are needed. While reported cases of Lyme Disease in Texas had been on a decline for a few years, the risk is real. The Texas Lyme Disease Association (TXLDA) sites frequent misdiagnosis and strict reporting criteria making official statistic inaccurate. They say between 600-900 people request help from them annually, dwarfing the numbers reported by the CDC.

False Belief You Are Not at Risk for Lyme in Texas

Despite popular opinion, Lyme Disease is a real threat in Texas. Bio News Texas reported that a 2014 study found that 45% of the deer ticks (the tick responsible for transmitting Lyme Disease) collected in the Texas-Mexico transboundary region were carrying the Lyme bacteria. The report indicated that there was a “higher probability of occurrence along the Gulf of Mexico coast."

The Texas Lyme Disease Association (TXLDA) receives two to three requests per day from people with symptoms or confirmed Lyme Disease, seeking medical help. These numbers tripled from 2013-2014 and are expected to continue to increase. Early diagnosis of Lyme Disease is vital to curing Lyme Disease patients and has been a challenge among Texas physicians. The TXLDA sites doctors’ belief that Lyme Disease is rare in Texas as a factor in the challenge Texans face in getting Lyme diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion. Note in the image below from the TAMU Lyme Lab, that the Austin area had the highest number of reported human cases of Lyme Disease from 2000-2010 — imagine what the real number of Lyme Diseaes cases might be.

Lyme Disease Symptoms

The symptoms of Lyme Disease can include fatigue, low grade fever, chills, night sweats, sore throat, swollen glands, stiff neck, joint pain, muscle pain, chest pain & palpitations (Lyme carditis), diarrhea, sleep disturbance, back pain, depression, facial numbness (bell’s palsy), headaches, dizziness, and general flu like symptoms. About half of patients will get a bulls-eye rash at the site of the bite mark. Symptoms can come on as late as eight weeks after the tick bite. With early treatment of antibiotics most patients will fully recover, but if Lyme Disease goes untreated patients can experience Chronic Lyme Disease for months or even years. While rare, if Lyme Disease goes untreated it can lead to death.

Lyme Disease Prevention in Texas

Limiting your exposure to deer ticks is the best method of preventing Lyme Disease in humans. Deer ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, making noticing them very difficult, so prevention is vital. There are many things you can do to protect yourself from being bitten by a tick. Remembering the 6 C’s of tick proofing your yard is a great way to do protect yourself and your family.

1. Clear out

Reduce your exposure to ticks by clearing out lawn debris. Ticks thrive in moist shady areas. Keep compost piles away from recreation or high traffic areas.

2. Clean

Mow your grass regularly, keeping it nice and short. Clean up grass clippings and leaf litter to avoid giving ticks a place to stay cool and moist.

3. Choose plants

Deter deer by choosing plants that are not attractive to them, or install physical barriers such as fencing to keep them out. Check with your local nursery to determine the best deer repelling plants for your area.

4. Check hiding places

Ticks love to hide along the bases of fences, brick walls and patio walls. Check those hiding places frequently to eliminate ticks that may have gathered.

5. Care for family pets

Pets can be infected with tick-borne diseases too. They also can carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick medication. As with all pest control products, follow the directions carefully.

6. Call in the Pros

Mosquito Squad of Greater Austin can eliminate 85-90% of the ticks in your yard with our traditional barrier spray and tick tube treatment. By eliminating ticks on contact with barrier spray and nymph ticks where they nest with tick tubes, you can protect yourself, your pets and your family. Call today 512-717-6606 to find out more.

Read our tick control page for more information about ticks in Austin.

More Mosquitoes in Texas Means More West Nile Virus in Texas

Where there are mosquitoes, there are mosquito-borne diseases. West Nile Virus, Malaria, Chikungunya: all dangerous diseases carried by mosquitoes. Texas is experiencing record numbers of mosquitoes this year which is resulting in a fast start to West Nile Virus season. With 56 human cases and 6 human deaths from West Nile Virus in the state this year already, it is shaping up to be a rough year of West Nile Virus in Texas.

West Nile Virus is Spreading Rapidly

When we began writing this story we were reporting on the five deaths from West Nile Virus in Texas already this season. But during that time a Seymour woman became the sixth person to fall ill and pass away from West Nile Virus. While we have not experienced any cases of West Nile Virus in Austin, it is as close as San Antonio. With it moving as fast as it is, it is only a matter of time before West Nile Virus rears its ugly head in Austin. Prevention now is the best way to make sure you don’t fall victim to this fast moving mosquito-borne illness.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

When bitten by an infected mosquito, West Nile Virus many times results in no symptoms at all. But in those who do get sick a febrile illness can present symptoms such as joint aches, headache, body aches, fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Severe neurological illness such as meningitis or encephalitis can also develop from West Nile Virus in humans and can lead to death. If you think you have become infected with West Nile Virus, see your doctor immediately.

West Nile Virus Prevention

The best form of West Nile Virus Prevention in Austin is to limit exposure to mosquitoes and mosquito bites. With the record number of mosquitoes this year and day feeders such as the Asian Tiger hanging around – you might find it quite difficult to avoid mosquitoes if you spend any time outdoors. At Mosquito Squad of Greater Austin we want you to get to enjoy your yard as much as possible without the threat of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness. With our traditional barrier spray we can eliminate up to 90% of the mosquitoes in your yard.

Mosquito Control in Austin

With many mosquito control services to offer, Mosquito Squad is your best choice for preventing West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses in Austin. Give us a call now to begin enjoying a mosquito free yard during this beautiful fall season. Call 512.717.6606, email us at greateraustin@mosquitosquad.com

Chikungunya in Austin Texas

The very first case of Chikungunya in humans to be confirmed in Texas was reported last summer right here in the Austin area. Chikungunya is pronounced chik-un-gun-ya and is a disease transmitted to people by mosquitoes. There have been 19 confirmed cases of Chikungunya in the state of Texas this summer so far. With the mosquito infestation being the worst it’s been in over 20 years, this number is likely to continue to rise.

What is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is named after a verb in the Kimakonde language that means “to become contorted” which is evidence of the joint pain that Chikungunya patients suffer with. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) this mosquito-borne disease is rarely fatal but can be quite debilitating. One of the biggest concerns about Chikungunya is that people can transmit it back to mosquitoes. While most cases of Chikungunya in the U.S. originate from people who have traveled elsewhere, it can easily be transmitted throughout the area from a single infected person.

Symptoms of Chikungunya

According to WHO, Chikungunya symptoms usually appear 4-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms can include joint pain, joint swelling, headache, rash, muscle pain, nausea, fatigue and high fever. Rarely fatal, Chikungunya remains in the human system for 5-7 days in which mosquitoes who bite the infected patient will then become infected.

Chikungunya Prevention in Austin

The Yellow Fever Mosquito and the Asian Tiger Mosquito are the two main transmitters of Chikungunya. Given the aggressiveness and daytime eating habits of the Asian Tiger, simply staying inside from dusk until dawn will not protect you. Your best method of Chikungunya prevention is to eliminate mosquitoes in your own yard. Mosquito Squad of Greater Austin can eliminate up to 90% of the mosquitoes in your yard with our traditional barrier spray. Lasting for up to 21 days, you’ll be protected for weeks. For those looking for a more natural solution we also have all natural mosquito spray that eliminates 70-75% of mosquitoes and lasts for about 14 days. But if you have a particularly challenging mosquito problem, our mosquito misting system might be the best solution, eliminating 90%+ of the mosquitoes in your yard and working continuously all season long.

With many mosquito control services to offer, Mosquito Squad is your best choice for preventing Chikungunya and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Give us a call now to begin enjoying a mosquito free yard this summer. Call 512.717.6606, email us at greateraustin@mosquitosquad.com

Your Risk for Lyme Disease in Austin is Greater than You Think

Just because something happens to NOT be bigger in Texas, doesn’t mean it’s not in Texas at all – like the number of Lyme Disease cases. When you hear the words Lyme Disease, you think of Lyme, Connecticut and contracting it in the Northeast. In fact, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, over 800 cases of Lyme Disease were reported between 2003 – 2013. If that number sounds low to you, indeed it is much lower than the actual number. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that the actual number of Lyme Disease cases is about 10 times greater than what is reported. While about 30,000 cases per year are reported nationally, the CDC estimates that number is really 300,000 cases each year making Lyme the most common tick-borne disease.

More Lyme in Austin than Reported

Why are there so many more cases than reported? In the confirmed cases, the doctor has to report the Lyme Disease to the CDC, which doesn’t always happen. Secondly, many Lyme Disease cases are misdiagnosed, so those cases would go undetected and unreported. In addition, only those who seek treatment by doctors and receive medical tests can be reported. So, if over 800 cases of Lyme Disease have been reported in Texas over the last 10 years, it’s likely that number is actually 8,000 cases over the last 10 years. No one would say a disease that has made 8,000 people ill in 10 years is not something to be cautious of.

Not Just Lyme Disease

In addition to Lyme Disease, the Texas Department of State Health Services also reports over 340 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) in Texas in the last 10 years. Assuming the same problems with reporting, that number is likely over 3,000 cases. Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Tularemia and Babesiosis, all dangerous tick-borne disease, are just showing up on the radar in Texas . With all of those tick-borne diseases in Texas, we have one more concern. Co-morbidity. Co-morbidity means you can actually be infected with multiple tick-borne diseases at one time – making them more dangerous and harder to recover from.

Tick Control in Austin = Lyme Disease Prevention

Eliminating ticks from your yard is a great way to decrease your risk for tick-borne diseases. At Mosquito Squad of Greater Austin, our mosquito control product provides the same level of tick protection as mosquito protection eliminating 90% or more of the ticks and mosquitoes in your yard. Our yard protection and control service. With our seasonal package, our trained technicians treat your yard every 21 days eliminating ticks and mosquitoes on contact and continuing to eliminate them for the next couple weeks, until re-treatment.

It’s also important to make your yard less tick friendly. Every bit helps. Here are the Mosquito Squad 6 C’s of tick control:

Clear.

Clear out debris. Debris often accumulates in moist shady areas where ticks thrive (they usually die in sunny dry areas).

Clean.

Eliminate leaf litter, brush off sidewalks and mow tall grass to cut down on the places ticks can harbor.

Choose.

Choose plants that aren’t attractive to deer. In areas where deer are present this is very important because deer will carry ticks right into your yard.

Check.

Check hiding places periodically. Ticks like to hide along the base of fences and brick walls.

Care.

Care for family pets. Ticks can easy hide in the fur of your pets. If your animals (like our Wiley) spend time in areas where ticks may be present, make sure you apply a topical tick medication.

Call.

Call the pros. Mosquito Squad’s tick control eliminates ticks before they can bit and danger your friends and family.

Give us a call now to begin enjoying a mosquito free yard this summer. Call 512.717.6606, email us at greateraustin@mosquitosquad.com

Mosquito Control in Austin Can’t Be Left to the Congress Avenue Bridge Bats Alone!

Did you know the largest urban bat colony in North America calls the Congress Avenue Bridge home? In the deep, dark, cool, un-disturbed crevices underneath the bridge you can find these Mexican Free-tailed bats living the good life. From March through early autumn the colony leaves the safety of the Congress Avenue bridge every night to forage for food. The resulting black cloud moves across the night sky creating a site to behold.

The colony grows from an average of 750,000 bats up to 1.5 million bats by mid August. When the bats leave the bridge to feed it takes up to 45 minutes for them all to come out. It is estimated that the bat colony devours 10,000-30,000 pounds of insects per night. Ten thousand to thirty thousand pounds is hard to imagine. Try to think of the largest hippo you have ever seen? With large hippos weighing in at just over 4,000 pounds, it would take 7 of them to equal the weight of the insects that these bats eat each and every night.

While the bats are a favorite nightly event for locals, they also have quickly become one of Austin’s strangest and most sought after tourist attractions. “Keep Austin Weird” is exactly right.

Fifteen Tons of Insects Eliminated Every Night

While it is true these bats do assist as a kind of natural mosquito control in portions of Austin, it is impossible for them to clear every yard, deck and patio. With spring floods resulting in a record mosquito infestation, you’ll find the mosquito problem persists, despite these bats best efforts. If your yard has not fully benefited from the feasting of the Congress Avenue Bridge bat colony, consider allowing Mosquito Squad of Greater Austin to help with a barrier spray.

All-Natural Mosquito Control in Austin

Bats are the definition of an all-natural solution to mosquito control, but since there are still plenty of mosquitoes in your yard, you might want to go with an alternative all-natural solution. Mosquito Squad of Austin’s all natural mosquito spray is made of essential oils, eliminating adult mosquitoes on contact. Our all-natural barrier spray continues to work for approximately 14 days eliminating about 70% of the mosquitoes from your yard. For even more effectiveness, our traditional barrier spray will last up to 21 days with its timed-release micro-encapsulation.

We are thankful that our beloved city of Austin is home to such a massive number of insect devourers. While they certainly eat plenty of insects, there are plenty more to destroy. Mosquito Squad of Greater Austin is happy to finish the job by taking care of the rest of your yard’s mosquito control.

Give us a call now to begin enjoying a mosquito free yard this summer. Call 512.717.6606, email us at greateraustin@mosquitosquad.com

Effective West Lake TX Mosquito Control – Guaranteed!

Imagine if you could wave a magic wand and get rid of mosquitoes in your yard for the entire summer? Not EVERYTHING that sounds too good to be true is.

No Magic Wand Required

All you have to do is make a quick phone call or drop us an email and you really can rid your yard of mosquitoes for the entire summer season starting right now. Don’t let these itch inducing pests get a belly full of blood in your yard.

Season-long mosquito protection

Austin mosquito control for the entire season is now possible. Here’s how it works. First, our highly trained mosquito applicators come out and treat your yard for mosquitoes. The service is called a barrier spray because we spray from the barrier of your yard, working our way inwards to protect all the places you live and enjoy your yard. Our applicators pay specific attention to areas where mosquitoes harbor including, but not limited to, the underside of vegetation, low areas in your yard, areas of heavy underbrush and any other shady moist spot. The barrier spray eliminates mosquitoes on contact and continues to work for 21 days; at which point our technicians come back and spray your yard again, every 3 weeks, all season long. You don’t have to pick up the phone or even be home when we do it.

Long Mosquito Season in Texas

Mosquitoes start swarming in April and likely won’t quit until October or later. While the rest of the country enjoys a nice long cold season that is mosquito free, the Texas heat is a mosquito heaven. Our mosquito season starts earlier, can be worse with spring floods and lasts later into the fall as the heat takes its time winding down. Don’t be caught waiting for the mosquitoes to go away, get out and enjoy the weather today.

Dinner time for us is also dinner time for the blood sucking mosquitoes. Right when we are planning our BBQ or romantic patio dinner the mosquitoes come out looking for there’s too. There is a good reason for this unfortunate timing. Mosquitoes avoid direct sunlight, making dusk the best time for them to hunt for their blood meal. Fortunately this could be helpful in planning activities to avoid the peak of the mosquito feeding – however, that has changed. With the new Asian Tiger mosquito in town, all day is feeding time. The Asian Tiger mosquito is a day feeder. The Asian Tiger mosquito is more aggressive and harder to swat away. Look for the distinctive white markings on its legs creating a striped tiger pattern. And beware, you need mosquito protection all day and all evening.

Is Mosquito Squad barrier spray safe for children, pets, and everyone that loves your yard? Absolutely. Just stay inside for 30 minutes after we spray to let it dry and then your yard is yours to enjoy. There’s no need to worry about the summer rain. Our product adheres to greenery and continues to work with its micro-encapsulated timed release formula. We guarantee our work with a 100% money back policy, so it doesn’t hurt to give us a try today!

Give us a call now to begin enjoying a mosquito free yard this summer. Call 512.717.6606, email us at greateraustin@mosquitosquad.com

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