5 Steps to Prepare for Mosquito Season

mosquito controlMosquito season begins May 1st in Virginia. This means that you may be fighting off mosquitoes at this time, and if weather conditions are favorable, you may be dealing with them earlier. In addition to the itchy mosquito bites, mosquitoes pose a serious threat since they are known carriers of several serious illnesses including West Nile virus and the Zika virus. The can also cause St. Louise encephalitis. While not common in the United States they can also spread disease dengue fever and malaria. If you want to enjoy a mosquito free summer, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.

1. Prepare Your Yard

One of the most basic things you can do is to keep your yard neat and trim to give mosquitoes fewer places to harbor. This means trimming back your hedges and buses in the fall or spring, and cleaning out all leaf debris so they do not have a place to land. Keep your lawn short will also help your yard to dry out more quickly. You may want to place plants that naturally repel mosquitoes around your yard, especially areas where you will spend a lot of time like around your deck or garden. On your deck you can use potted plants like marigolds or lavender. Other options include lemon balm, basil and catnip.

2. Address Standing Water in Your Yard

Tackling any standing water in your yard can make a big difference. If you have a pond in your yard, you may want to stock it with fish that may feed on the mosquito larvae. You can also add a waterfall or other feature that helps the water to circulate. This will prevent mosquitoes from landing on it. Consider trading out your bird baths for small fountains. If you have corner of your yard that is swampy or rarely dries out, you may want to tackle the grading so that it can drain effectively.

3. Consider Receiving a Yard Treatment

Another option is to contact a professional who can perform regular mosquito treatments on your yard. These treatments will eliminate mosquitoes around your home, and allow you to send your children out to play without having to worry about them catching a mosquito-borne illness. When you choose to have a yard treatment done, you will no longer need to apply insect repellent every time you go out.

4. Stock Up on Mosquito Repellent

While you can take steps to stop mosquitoes in your yard, it is also important to make sure to protect yourself when you are away from home. Mosquito repellent is safe to use and it will protect you and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses. DEET is a good option, as is Picardian. These options will provide the protection you need. You can also buy clothes that are treated with Permethrin. You can also buy the treatment and apply it to your own clothing. Dressing in light colored clothes is another way to protect yourself since mosquitoes are attracted to natural colors.

Natural Mosquito Repellents

Natural Mosquito Repellents

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Besides just using natural mosquito repellents, you can also contact Mosquito Tek of Virginia Beach to completely eliminate mosquitoes around your home or business with an organic mosquito control treatment!

Can Tick Bites Really Cause an Allergy to Meat?

tick burrowed into skinIn the past few years there have been increasing reports of people developing allergies to meat after being bitten by a tick. This is formerly called an Alpha Gel allergy. Researchers in Virginia were among the first to discover it through clinical trials for a medication. Some patients were having a reaction to one component in the medication and would have similar allergic reactions to red meat or meat from mammals. Some people even have reactions to dairy products.

What Tick Causes the Allergic Reaction?

The Lone Star tick is the only tick that is currently known to spread the allergy to meat. The ticks are common in areas with high deer populations, since the Lone Star tick prefers to feed on the deer. You can identify a tick by looking at its back for a white dot in the center. If you find a tick attached to you, you will need to remove it right away, and then watch for symptoms.

How Can I Tell if I Have an Allergy to Meat?

The symptoms for the meat allergy will build over time. You will not have a sudden reaction just a day or two after the bite. The meat allergy is different from other food allergies, because it is often a delayed reaction, which means that you may begin to experience symptoms up to six hours after you have ingested meat.  There are a number of symptoms to watch out for including severe abdominal pain, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea and hives. Some cases can cause anaphylaxis.

Is There a Test for This Allergy?

Your doctor can complete a blood test to determine if you have an alpha gel allergy. The numbers may decrease over time, which means it may be safe for you to try to eat meat again. You will need to work with your allergist before you do this though as the reactions may get worse each time that you eat meat.

Is the Allergy Permanent?

Some people have had a decrease in the allergy after a few years have passed, while other people have had it expand to include other types of meat including chicken. It is best to avoid any meat from mammals completely in hopes that it may eventually go away.

Can Children Develop the Allergy?

Children have developed the allergy as well. If you have a child that was bitten by a Lone Star tick and begins to develop symptoms several hours after eating, it is a good idea to take him into to be tested. Be sure to ask for the test, especially if you live in an area that has a large number of Lone Star ticks, like Virginia.

What Are Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Fleas? Do They Work?

close up of a fleaIf you have a flea infestation, you may be looking for a solution to help clean up the infestation as quickly as possible. However, you may be concerned about how the treatment may affect you or your pets. You may be looking for home remedies that are free from chemicals that you can do right away. It is just as important to make sure the home remedy works before you try it.

Dish Soap Trap

One suggested home remedy is to create a trap for the fleas by putting out a dish of water with dish soap in it. When the fleas jump into it, they cannot get out and they will drown. This is a completely nontoxic option. You can set several out around your house in the carpet. Fleas are more active at night and it may be best to set them out then.

While this can effectively attract adult fleas, it is not very effective at clearing up the fleas in your home. One reason is that it only deals with the adult fleas, and it does not kill the eggs or the larvae. The eggs that are currently in your home will hatch and you will need to set the traps again in a continuing cycle.

Baking Soda on Your Carpet

Another home remedy is to sprinkle baking soda on your carpet. You can take it a step farther and use a brush to scrub it into the carpet. This will work to help dehydrate the fleas and cause them to die. Then you will vacuum your carpet thoroughly.

This method can help with adult fleas, but it does not address the eggs in your carpet. They will hatch and develop into new fleas. Even if you are very diligent in vacuuming, you may miss just a few eggs and start the entire process again.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is the remains of fossilized algae. The powder will cause the fleas to dry out and die. It is important to leave it out for two days or it will not kill all of the fleas. It only works on the larvae and the adult fleas, and will not harm any eggs that have not hatched yet. Once you have finished treatment you will need to vacuum your house extensively.

This is effective, but it does take time and you will need to leave it down for at least two days to clear up a big infestation. If you do not use the food grade option, you may have irritation from the particles. It can be used for parasite control in dog food, so it is not going to harm your pet if they ingest a small amount.

Clear Up Fleas for Good

The best way to treat fleas is to hire a professional to take care of the fleas for you. They can take care of the eggs, larvae and adult fleas and make sure that your flea problem does not start up again in a few days. It is also important to treat your pets and start using a method to prevent them from catching fleas in the future.

Find out if fleas live on people

How Do I Keep Mosquitoes Out of My Home?

mosquito preventionMosquitoes can be an annoyance, and it is even worse when they get into your home. Before you realize it, you may have quite a few mosquito bites. Another issue is that mosquitoes can spread serious diseases like the Zika virus and West Nile virus. There are a few steps that you can take to prevent mosquitoes from getting in your home.

Treat Your Yard

One of the first things you can do is to treat your yard for mosquitoes. Applying a mosquito barrier spray around your yard will eliminate adult mosquitoes and stop new one from coming in. Understanding the life cycle of mosquitoes is essential in knowing that by applying larvicide to standing water you can stop any larvae from developing into adult mosquitoes. Mosquito Tek offers a summer plan that provides regular mosquito treatments, which should stop mosquitoes from getting into your yard.

Address Standing Water

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed. They can breed in just a capful of water. Working to eliminate any standing water around your home will help to reduce the number of mosquitoes that may make it into your home. Regularly check your yard to make sure that there are no containers that can collect standing water and you may need to address drainage issues if your yard turns swampy after a storm.

Standing water can also be an issue inside of your home. Check flower pots, vases and other containers that may hold water. Each container needs to be emptied out weekly and scrubbed in order to stop mosquito eggs from hatching and to kill developing larvae. If there is a serious problem in your home, you may want to treat your home or do a check for any water leaks to help eliminate places where they may be resting.

Check Your Screens

The final step you can take is to make sure that all of your window screens are in good repair. This can make a big difference in the number of mosquitoes that are currently in your home. If you do not already have screen doors installed in your home, you may want to consider adding them. This can reduce the number of mosquitoes and allows you to still have a breeze in your home during the evenings.

All About Lyme Disease


Lyme’s disease is one of the most well-known disease that is carried by ticks. It is spread by the blacklegged tick and it is most common in the states bordering the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. According to the CDC Virginia is one of the 14 states where 95% of Lyme disease cases are reported. It is important to know the symptoms of Lyme disease so that you can seek treatment for the disease.

Symptoms of Lyme’s Diseasetick extermination


The first sign of Lyme disease is the bull’s eye rash that will appear on your body. It may be around the tick bite, but it can appear anywhere on your body a few days after the tick bite. It can take up to 30 days to appear and it only appears about 80 percent of the time. Other symptoms include fever, chills, tiredness, muscle aches, headache, joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. If you have these symptoms, and you know you were bitten by a tick, you should seek medical care.

Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

Lyme disease will not clear up on its own, and the symptoms can turn into permanent damage that is difficult to treat. If you do not seek medical attention because you think it is a cold or virus, you may end up with more complications including severe headache and neck stiffness. Arthritis in the larger joints and pain that comes and goes in your muscles, joints and bones. Other symptoms include an irregular hear beat and nerve pain.

Diagnosing Lyme Disease

The doctor may look for the rash to see if you have signs or symptoms of Lyme disease. There is also a blood test that the doctor can complete. This is more likely to be used in cases where the rash is not present and you know that you were bitten by a tick or that you are someone that frequently visits area where you may be more likely to be bitten by a tick.

Treating for Lyme Disease

There is an antibiotic that can treat for Lyme disease. The sooner you get treated, the better the prognosis for a full recovery. If you waited to get treated, you may need to go on the antibiotics more than one time. There are a few antibiotics that your doctor may prescribe based on your medical history. The treatments may take up to three weeks to complete. You may also develop Post treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, which means that you can still be tired and have muscle aches for up to six months afterwards.

Learn about ticks in Virginia and the diseases they cause.

5 Ways Fleas Can Make People Sick

adult fleaWhen you think about fleas, most people tend to think about the nuisance of dealing with a flea infestation with your pets. You may be concerned about the illnesses that they may cause in your pets, but most people do not think about the dangers that fleas can pose to humans. You might consider having a flea control treatment done around your home since there are some pretty serious diseases that fleas are known to carry. Here are five diseases that you can catch from fleas.


Typhus is a serious illness that can be spread by flea bites. Symptoms of typhus include fever, chills, aches, vomiting, stomach pain and loss of appetite. A rash will usually develop about five days after the onset of the disease. Some people can recover on their own, but other people may have serious complications and need treatment with antibiotics.


Tapeworms are more common in cats and dogs, but they can spread to humans. The tapeworms are spread through fleas. Most people with tapeworms experience unexplained weight loss. They may be more tired than normal and have abdominal pain. Some people do not have any symptoms, but you may notice rice size pieces in your stool. This can be treated with medication.

Mycoplasma Haemofelis

This is a disease that can be spread through fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. It usually affects cats, but it has been known to spread to humans with weak immune systems. In cats, it destroys red blood cells and can cause severe anemia.  If your cat is diagnosed with this, and you have a compromised immune system, you should talk to your doctor about being tested for the disease.


Fleas are known carriers of the plague which wiped out millions of people in the 14th and 17th centuries. There are three different types of plague. Some symptoms include fever, chills and headaches. Depending on the type you may develop swollen lymph nodes, a sever cough or severe abdominal pain. It is important to seek medical treatment if you think you have the plague since it can be treated with antibiotics.

Cat Scratch Fever

Cat scratch fever is transmitted to cats through fleas, and then the cat will spread it to humans. In order for a person to catch it, an infected cat must either scratch a person and break the skin or lick an open would or scab.  Small children and people with weakened immune systems are more at risk of contracting the disease.

Read Why Are Some People Bitten More by Mosquitoes?

4 Most Common Mosquito Borne Illnesses in Virginia Beach

mosquito bite illnessesMosquitoes are a big issue in the Virginia Beach area. With the number of waterways and humid climate, it is an ongoing issue. In fact, the City of Virginia Beach has a clear mosquito control program in place because of the diseases that mosquitoes can carry. Here is information on the four most common mosquito borne diseases in Virginia Beach.

West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus is common in North America. Most people who contract will not have any symptoms. About 1 in five people develop a fever. Other symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, joint pains and a headache. Although most people recover, the fatigue and weakness can go on for several months. A few people can develop encephalitis or meningitis because of the infection—if you experience neck stiffness, stupor or convulsions, you should seek medical attention right away. The treatment focuses primarily on controlling the symptoms.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Eastern Equine encephalitis is transmitted through mosquito bites. Most people who are infected have no symptoms. The symptoms include headache, high fever and chills, as well as vomiting. It will progress and may lead to seizures or coma. There is about a 33% mortality rate for Eastern Equine encephalitis. Treatment is to treat and reduce the symptoms while the disease runs its course.

La Crosse Encephalitis

La Crosse Encephalitis is transmitted through mosquito bites. Most people who are infected do not have any symptoms, but those who develop symptoms will have fever, nausea, headache and exhaustion. This can develop into encephalitis with serious complications including coma, paralysis and seizures.  Children under the age of 16 are the most vulnerable to serious complications. All treatments are for the symptoms and not the disease itself.

Saint Louis Encephalitis

Saint Louis Encephalitis has similar symptoms as the other diseases on this page. Many people do not experience symptoms, but those who do may have a sudden headache, and fever with nausea and vomiting. This may become more complication if encephalitis develops. Older adults are more vulnerable to the diseases. All treatments are based around controlling symptoms.

The best protection against these four illnesses is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Once way to do this is to wear mosquito repellent when you go outside. You can also set up a mosquito control program for your yard which will eliminate the mosquitoes that may bother you when you are enjoying time outside on your patio. Contact the professionals at Mosquito Tek to learn more about exterminating mosquitoes at your home or business.

Read Help! My Cat Has Fleas and find out what to do if your pet gets fleas

Life Cycle of Mosquitoes

mosquito biteMosquitoes are pesky insects. When you think about them, you likely think about the itchy annoying bites that they leave behind. There are over 3500 species of mosquitoes, with about 175 species living in the United States. In order to prevent mosquitoes, it is important to understand the different stages in their life cycle.


Mosquitoes begin as eggs, and the eggs only hatch when exposed to water. Mosquitoes will look for standing water to lay their eggs, but they may also choose a swampy area that will become wet after they are laid. The time that the eggs take to hatch is dependent on the current conditions. Some mosquitoes lay a raft of eggs, where the eggs stick together, while others will lay single eggs.


When mosquitoes are larvae they are water insects. They spend their time feeding and swimming in the water. Some will come to the surface to breathe. During this time, the larvae will molt several times until they become pupae.


During this stage, the mosquito will swim around the water and not eat. They are inside a cocoon and changing into an adult mosquito.  This stage can take between two to four days.

Adult Mosquito

Once the adult mosquito hatches from the cocoon, they will rest on the water until their wings dry. An adult mosquito has two wings, a thorax and six legs. The male mosquitoes have a lifespan of about ten days. They do not feed on the blood of animals or humans. Female mosquitoes have a longer life span and can live between 42-56 days. They may also hibernate if the water gets too cold. Others will lay their eggs in freezing water.

The key to eliminating mosquitoes is to prevent them from developing into adults. Addressing the standing water around your property can help, but using larvicide is another option that will prevent the mosquitoes from developing into adults. If you truly want to stop mosquitoes, you can contact the experts at Mosquito Tek to learn about the treatment options available to you.

Learn more about mosquito extermination from Mosquito Tek of Virginia Beach: https://virginia-beach.mosquitofreeliving.com/services/mosquito-control/

Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

Winter brings a variety of challenges and issues to any household. The colder weather can be hard on your home, your car and your family. There are steps that you can take to prepare yourself for the winter weather.

Prepare Your Garden and Yard

Clearing out the underbrush and raking up leaves is just one part of getting ready for winter. There are plants that are best planted in the fall, and if you plan on having tulips or other plants from bulbs, you should plant them now. You can lay mulch or straw bedding on your flower beds to protect them for winter. You should also take the time to trim your trees as needed. These steps can protect the hard work you did all summer long and make it easier to maintain your garden in the spring.

Get Your Car Ready for Winter

The cold winter nights can be hard on your car. Be sure to check your battery to make sure it can hold a good charge. If it is older, it might be a good idea to replace it. Check the antifreeze levels in your car. Be sure to top them up and to monitor closely throughout the winter. Check your tires. If you live in an area with a lot of bad weather, you may want to switch to snow tires or consider getting chains for your tires. As a precaution prepare a winter survival box for your car. This should include a way to keep warm, food and water that you can drink if you are stranded for some reason. In the south, there are snowstorms that shut down entire communities and people may be stuck in their cars or forced to hike home to safety. The winter survival kit can help with that.

Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Look for ways that you can reduce your energy bills over the winter. Finding drafty windows and addressing them by applying a thin plastic sheet with heat so that it shrinks to provide a barrier. You can also wrap your pipes and water heater to help conserve energy. Adding extra insulation to your roof is another way you can reduce your power bill.

It is also important to check for any areas that animals may be able to sneak in to find shelter in the window. Look for holes around your foundation and check your attic to make sure there is not a way for rodents or other wildlife to get in. If you find evidence contact a professional to help you deal with the infestation.  The experts at EcoTek can help you trap any wildlife, clean up and install barriers so they cannot get in again.