Mosquitoes detect their host using three primary senses:
Sight: Mosquitoes see movement of their host
Infrared: Mosquitoes can detect body heat
Chemical Signals: Mosquitoes can detect traces of carbon monoxide and lactic acid up to 100ft away
There are many theories surrounding why certain people tend to attract mosquitoes (some are pretty outlandish), however, verified testing in a controlled setting has given us the following conclusions:
Mosquitoes are attracted to Carbon Dioxide and lactic acid. Therefore larger individuals who emit greater amounts of CO2 are more susceptible to mosquitoes. Movement and activity also contribute to greater attraction as an individual is more likely to generate higher quantities of CO2 and lactic acid.
The color of one’s clothing is also a contributing factor that determines mosquito attraction. Lighter colored clothing attracts fewer mosquitoes than dark clothing in recent studies.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to foot odor and sweat.
The simple answer to this question is that mosquitoes are here for the same reason we human beings love living in Texas. Our lush landscape is dotted with large trees (shade) amongst the rolling hills with lakes and rivers cutting through central and coastal Texas provide a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Combine the fact that certain cities in Texas, like Austin, have strong environmental policies and are very averse to any city mosquito abatement program, despite our abundant nature preserves and expansive park areas.
There are certain species of mosquitoes that can travel up to 35 miles for blood meal, however the primary nuisance species in Texas, the Asian Tiger Mosquito usually migrates less than 300ft. Although the Asian Tiger Mosquito is quite lazy, it presents a challenge in that it feeds not only at dawn or dusk, but also throughout the daytime also.
Fortunately, less than 2% of all mosquito species are capable of carrying and transmitting West Nile Virus. The Southern House Mosquito in Texas is the mosquito primarily responsible for local infections. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is spread by the species Culiseta Melanura (common name: Black Swamp Mosquito) which frequent woody marshlands. Dog/cat Heartworm is transmitted through multiple species of mosquitoes, but can be sufficiently prevented with medication.
Since mosquitoes need water to breed and survive, climates with regular rainfall, high summer temperatures, and high humidity ensure mosquito activity. Once temperatures dip below 60 degrees for a week or more, mosquitoes will discontinue breeding and the overall population begins to decline. Since mosquitoes are not strong flyers, moderate to high wind areas will significantly reduce mosquito activity.
Mosquitoes are attracted to increased moisture, shade, and the protection of trees, bushes, and shrubs. Common reasons we see for high mosquito activity is overwatering of grass and plants, thick bushes and overgrown plants, and any standing water on the property.
The surrounding environment also plays a very significant role in localized mosquito activity. Homes that back on to nature preserves, and/or are in close proximity to bodies of fresh water will no doubt be challenged by mosquitoes.
The primary goal of the Barefoot Mosquito Control System is to eradicate as many adult mosquitoes and to disrupt the life cycle of the eggs, pupae, and larvae on the property. This is typically accomplished fully in the first three services which are scheduled approximately 21 days apart.
Our mosquito control program begins in April and continues through November for Austin and Dallas. Houston experiences year round mosquito populations, so Houstonians typically request continual services throughout the year. If you experience mosquitoes outside of the specified months for your area, please contact our office to extend your service months.
For customers that experience a break in service for two months or longer, the very first service every spring is extremely important as it prevents mosquitoes from establishing a presence on a property each year. This singular service acts as a foundational catalyst that enhances the mosquito population reduction dramatically throughout the remainder of the year
Although mosquitoes are active most during the times surrounding dawn and dusk, we are able to achieve remarkable results servicing throughout the day mainly due to the repellency properties of our products.
The product label states that residents can re-enter the serviced premises after the product has dried. Because the Barefoot Mosquito Control System utilizes a power mist, not a spray, it dries very quickly, allowing you to enjoy mosquito-free living in as little as 10-15 minutes after our technician drives away.
It is impossible to eliminate all risks inherently associated with the use of pesticides. Our products are applied in accordance with EPA guidelines and by licensed technicians according to the safety standards put forth by the product label. Our product is comprised of 99.5% natural, food-grade ingredients. Only .06% of the solution is a pesticide called a synthetic pyrethroid, a close relative to pyrethrin which is the extract derived from the chrysanthemum flower.
One of the best features of the Barefoot Mosquito Control System is its ability to create a vertical barrier that rises around the property that effectively repels mosquitoes as they attempt to breach the barrier.
There is a slight odor that the natural oils emit that is detectible for homeowners for approximately the first day after the service is performed. The smell quickly dissipates to our human senses, but remains a strong deterrent for mosquitoes for up to 30 days.
Yes. It does require 3 consecutive services to crack the hatching cycle of mosquitoes and create an optimal mosquito-free environment for our customers. Once this has been accomplished, we fully guarantee our service from the third service forward. While on a continual service, if mosquitoes reinfest the property within 5 days of a paid service, we will come and provide a booster service at no additional charge, provided that the customer balance is current, and all necessary conducive conditions have been resolved.
At Barefoot, we believe that, although 100% eradication of mosquitoes isn’t possible, there are proven scientific methods which can severely reduce mosquito presence and make one’s property comfortable and livable again.
We aim to give customers realistic expectations at the time of service, based on the challenges we observe on a particular property. As a general rule, by the third treatment, we expect customers to enjoy up to a 95% reduction in mosquito activity. The three weeks following the service are the most effective and in the days following, sporadic mosquito sightings may occur until reapplication.
Fortunately, Barefoot Mosquito Control is very concerned with bee mortality. We too are concerned about bees and other pollinating insects and we developed our service with an aim to preserve these beneficials. As a local Texas company, we harnessed decades of pest control experience and we are proud to have developed the most natural and effective solution for mosquito control right here in Austin. We are controlling up to 95% of mosquitoes on people's properties and doing so while using a pesticide at a rate of only 6 parts per 10,000 parts (0.06%) of our solution.
Bee population decline due to Colony Collapse Disorder has been a hot topic since the early 2000's. It is a phenomenon whereby worker bees disappear and leave the queen alone with a few nurse bees to care for the young. It was responsible for roughly 60% of bee losses in 2008 at the peak of the disorder, but fortunately CCD has declined to approximately 30% of reported losses in 2013. While the losses due to CCD are declining, there has been rampant speculation about the reason for this mystery. Possible causes include: infections with Varroa and Acarapis mites; malnutrition; various pathogens; genetic factors; immunodeficiencies; loss of habitat; changing beekeeping practices; or a combination of factors. A large amount of speculation has surrounded a family of pesticides called neonicotinoids as having caused CCD.
Having been in the pest control industry for over 20 years, we understood the potential harmful effects of neonicotinoids on bee populations and have never used this class of pesticides in our mosquito solution for precisely that reason. We also train all of our technicians in how to minimize pesticide exposure to bees.
Our company is concerned about local bee populations and we work with local beekeepers to monitor possible pesticide effects. As a pest control company, when bees invade someone's home, we work to preserve the colony through live removal techniques.
In April, representatives from Barefoot Mosquito attended 2017 American Mosquito Control Association Conference in San Diego where the highly anticipated study (funded by the EPA, in conjunction with the US Department of Agriculture Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Laboratory, and the LSU Ag Center) was presented by Kristin Healy regarding the field trials of mosquito control treatments using pesticides and bee mortality. Here are the definitive conclusions:
“Mosquito control products use extremely small doses that target mosquitos, and the chemicals break down within hours. Mosquitos are 100 times more susceptible to these pesticides than bees are.”
“’This is the highest possible label rate that mosquito control would ever use out of a truck, and we didn’t see any bee mortality, even at 50 feet.' Healy said.”
“The third stage included field tests. Local beekeepers volunteered, half of them with hives in areas of frequent mosquito treatment, with the other half in areas without control. Scientists found no differences in the mortality rates of bees in both groups. 'These pesticide concentrations used out in the field are not high enough to kill bees,' Healy said.”
“Researchers also measured stress by analyzing indicator enzymes from the field-test bees. They found no difference in stress between the two groups.”
The conclusion (and the title of the study): “Study shows mosquito pesticides do not cause honeybee mortality”.
While it is true that our products could potentially kill bees, it is now proven that mosquito pesticides are not dosed high enough to cause bee population decline in field tests. The irony is that the most dangerous creature on the planet is…...Mosquitoes—by a wide, wide margin. There were 750,000 human deaths due to mosquito-borne illnesses worldwide last year alone. Fortunately we can keep the bees, while ridding people's homes of mosquitoes. The health risks mosquitoes pose to human beings are real, proven, and deadly right here in Texas.
Pesticides are classified into two main groups: organic and inorganic. Organic pesticides have the element of carbon that is built into its molecular structure. Organic pesticides are then subdivided into two additional categories: natural organic and synthetic organic. A synthetic pyrethroid is a synthetically manufactured organic compound that is similar to the molecular structure of a pyrethrin, which is extract from the chrysanthemum flower. However, despite being based on a natural organic compound (a pyrethrin), a pyrethroid is a synthetic organic compound because it is chemically synthesized in a laboratory.
More than just an annoyance, mosquitoes are responsible for more deaths to humans than any other living organism worldwide. Mosquitoes are also responsible for the transmission of fatal and serious diseases to domestic pets and livestock.
West Nile Virus was first reported in Africa in 1938 and eventually spread to Europe, the middle-east, Asia, then ultimately to the United States in 1999. In that year, only 62 cases were reported primarily in the northeast. However, by 2012, the number of human cases escalated to 5674 and has spread to almost every state. Also in 2012, Texas was responsible for over half of all reported cases in the United States. The mortality rate has remained consistent over the past decade with approximately 5% of cases resulting in death.
West Nile virus is transmitted from birds to mosquitoes to humans, pets, and livestock.
Infections generally have three gradations of seriousness.
West Nile Fever is the least serious form of the disease. Symptoms generally include fever, headach, headache and body aches, and/or rash—very similar to the flu. This might last a few days or several weeks. Almost 2/3 of those infected report symptoms that remain over a month. Average symptoms last approximately two months.
West Nile encephalitis is a very serious disease that attacks the brain. It is also classified as a neuroinvasive disease which affects the nervous system. This is a much more serious type of infection, but fortunately develops in only 15-20% of all WNV cases.
West Nile meningitis (meningoencephalitis) is the inflammation of the brain and surrounding membrane. Similar to West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis is also a neuroinvasive disease, it is often the most serious form of WNV, carrying the highest mortality rate (approximately 10%)
Recovery from infections of West Nile Virus can be painfully slow and many patients report permanent symptoms, such as muscle weakness and brain damage, which prevent them from regaining full health.
Considered the most virulent abrovirus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis is transmitted to humans and horses by infected mosquitoes. It is primarily found in freshwater swampland in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast in the Eastern and Southern United States.
Similar to West Nile Virus, EEE is spread from birds to mosquitoes to humans. Once a human or larger animal has been infected, the transmission of the disease to other people or larger animals is no longer possible.
Thankfully, the majority of people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will not become symptomatic. However, for those serious cases of EEE infections, symptoms arise with the sudden onset of fever, sore throat, headache, chills, and nausea. In the most severe cases, disorientation, seizures, inflammation of the brain, and coma may occur. The most disturbing statistic regarding EEE is that approximately 33% of people who develop EEE perish, while survivors typically suffer mild to severe brain damage. Many patients are admitted to institutional care for the remainder of their lives. While there is a vaccine for horses, a human vaccine is not currently available.
Chikungunya is a relatively new disease in the Americas. It spread from Asia and Africa to Caribbean nations in 2013 and then quickly spread to the United States in 2014. The symptoms are very similar to Dengue fever and is fortunately seldom fatal. Unfortunately, the symptoms of Chikungunya (meaning “Bending over in pain”) can be debilitating and extremely painful. Joint pain and fever are the primary symptoms, which also may include muscle pain swelling of joints, headache, nausea, and rash. And as much as 30% of cases, the pain can become chronic.
The greatest concern regarding Chikungunya is the rapid transmissibility of the virus. West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis spread slowly, as these viruses cannot be transmitted human to human. However, if a mosquito bites a person infected with Chikungunya, the virus can then be transmitted to other humans it subsequently bites. This is why in just 12 short months, Chikungunya has infected over one million people in the Americas, killing 155.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine and no antiviral medication to combat Chikungunya, only pain killers to help patients manage the pain. And it is now here in Texas, with its first reported cases occurring in the summer of 2014. As mosquito populations continue to grow in Texas, the introduction of Chikungunya virus to our state could lead to serious outbreaks in the near future.
Heartworm affects dogs, cats, ferrets, and other mammals, but only in rare circumstances does it transmit to humans. Heartworm can only be transmitted by an infected mosquito to a host animal. The prevalence of heartworm disease in pets is due to fact that pets themselves become carriers of heartworm and, when bitten by a mosquito, spread the disease.
Symptoms of heartworm in dogs can include a light persistent cough, lethargy, labored breathing after light to moderate activity, appetite loss, and weight loss. Signs of more serious infections include a swollen belly, heart failure, and heart collapse. Canines with large numbers of heartworms require surgery and, unfortunately, very few survive.
Symptoms of heartworm in cats are similar to that of dogs, but may also include vomiting, and breathing difficulties, similar to asthma. Sometimes, cats may faint and experience seizures. Unlike symptoms that present with dogs, cats’ first symptoms of heartworm are severe and indicate serious progression of the disease, leading to a much higher mortality rate amongst felines.
The good news with heartworm is that it is preventable. Heartworm medication administered monthly will prevent the onset of the disease. Pet owners are also advised to have their pets tested annually to catch the disease in its earliest stages. If a pet tests positive for heartworm, there are treatments available, but serious complications and mortality rates increase the longer the pet remains undiagnosed.
The Zika virus, while not new, is a close relative to the chikungunya and dengue viruses. The origin of this virus is from Africa, however, in addition to the African strain, there is also an Asian strain of the virus. It is believed to be the Asian strain that is now reaching pandemic levels in the Americas.
The Aedes mosquito is primarily responsible for the transmission of Zika.
Approximately 1 in 5 individuals that contract the Zika virus will become symptomatic. Zika symptoms include fever, body aches, conjunctivitis, headache, and joint pain. Fortunately for the infected, the virus rarely results in death and symptoms usually disappear within 10 days.
Of greatest concern is that the Zika virus does cross the placenta and can result in mother to child infections. Recent surges in a severe form of microcephaly in Brazil have been linked to the Zika virus, but at this time, it is still not clearly understood. Microcephalic children born are prone to cognitive disorders and have a greater susceptibility to death.
The zika virus is also present in bodily fluids and can be transmitted through sexual contact. One such case has occurred in Texas in January 2016, where an individual returned from an infected country in South America and transmitted the virus to a sexual partner.
As of February 2016 there have been no reported cases in the United States of native transmission of the Zika virus by mosquitoes. All mosquito transmission cases thus far have been contracted outside the United States. Affected area with significant transmission rates are located in Mexico, the Caribbean islands, and South America.
The current concern here in Texas is the probability local Zika transmission due to the high population of Aedes mosquitoes that currently reside in the state. Worldwide, Aedes mosquitoes are shown below and represent the areas with the highest risk of hosting the Zika virus.
Say Goodbye to Mosquitoes!
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Barefoot Mosquito Control SystemI've using Barefoot for a about a year now and their product is incredible. Once a month we have the same service technician come out who is super polite and courteous and does a great job at explaining the products and how they work. We use them for mosquito control as we back up to a pipeline which often has sitting water and were overridden with mosquitoes. Since we have used them I can honestly say we've lived mosquito free in our yard which is great when you have a dog and 18 month old who run around out there! I would highly recommend their service to anyone!!Drew HaidMosquito Control