The ATX Pest Podcast: Winning the War on Mosquitoes in Your Backyard

Welcome to the ATX Pest Podcast, episode 5, mosquitoes Everybody’s Favorite. You’ve probably heard of mosquitoes being called the deadliest animal on the planet, and that would be true, so we’re going to discuss them a little bit today. So we’re going to discuss them a little bit today the good, the bad, the ugly things that you can do to help prevent these from developing, becoming a problem on breeding on your property so you can enjoy the outdoors again, what preventive measures you can take, and also how you can help prevent getting bitten, and just give you a little brief rundown so you better understand them, which essentially, is how you can ever take care of anything is you first. You have to understand and know a little bit about them first. So mosquitoes, let’s start with this. They breed in water, stagnant standing water, okay, um, they can actually breed in as much as a a little tiny capful. They can lay eggs in there. Females lay eggs, they typically. They usually call them a raft, which is a clump of a group of eggs. Depends on the species. Typically, we deal with the Aedes species here in Texas more than anything. There’s also the Culex that we can encounter, anopheles, so there’s a few different, but Aedes is the major one, that’s the one that we, that was the one that was all in the news. You know Zika and this and that West Nile that you hear about every single year. So that’s what, primarily what we’ll talk about. But in general their life cycle is the same, okay. So they’ll lay eggs in stagnant standing water. So once they lay those eggs, pretty quickly those eggs will hatch and they’ll hatch into the larval stage, which we call larvae, or they actually call them wigglers, if you’ve ever seen a larvae inside in the water kind of wiggling around. That’s why they get their name Okay. And then, after they become the wigglers, they develop into the pupil stage, pupae, okay, and they call those little slang term for them the nickname they give them for that. Like the wigglers, one is tumblers, okay, and they call those little slang term for them Well nickname they give them for that. Like the wigglers, one is tumblers, okay. And then shortly after that they emerge into an adult, okay. So, and their life cycle’s actually pretty quick. Um, they say, I think, seven to 10, seven to 14 days. 14 days typically around a week or so under. You know, ideal conditions and they’ll, they’ll typically go through that lifecycle and get to an adulthood within about a week or so. Okay, week, week and a half is pretty average. So, because of their rapid lifecycle cycle, it’s important to evaluate your property and here’s why you may not. If you do have a company doing mosquito, okay, and you get mixed results. There’s a couple reasons for that and you get mixed results. There’s a couple reasons for that. Number one mother nature. It rains, you know. A lot of product gets washed away, you know. But just like general pest control, pests in general it’s really about doing a really good job at the time of the service, but also has a lot to do with the frequency. Okay, a lot of folks don’t want to pay for mosquito service every two weeks or every three weeks, like you should. Okay, so most companies, including mine I have I have a handful of customers that do monthly. They’re satisfied with the results.

But then some of the more challenging properties, they do it in 21 day cycles, which is what I essentially recommend, just because of the breathing and the challenges with the weather. Okay, now there are some better products on the market. I’m utilizing one of them myself now. I mix in insect growth regulators in our mixes and, you know, now we have some traps that we incorporate as well as an option for your more difficult properties. So there’s a. You know there’s a lot of options out there. Um, I tested this product that we’re utilizing now all last season and got really good results. However, we had a really dry season last year and so lack of moisture. You’re going to have less mosquito activity So you know, um, they’re a challenge. They’re a challenge for us as a pest control company to control these, because you’re not, you’re not going to eliminate it’s impossible, but what you hope to do is eliminate as many bites as you can, which is controlling the populations to a reasonable amount, which is usually about an 80 to 85% threshold, and that’s just the reality of it and ultimately target more and hopefully control and kill off the majority of the females, because, if you didn’t know this, females are the only ones that actually bite us. Okay, they do that typically within 24 hours. They get that blood meal from us to act as a source of protein to for their eggs when they’re laying their eggs. Okay, kind of like fertilizing their eggs. So, um, males don’t bite, so they can be flying. So, if you have mosquitoes kind of flying around you and you’re not getting bitten. Most likely that’s a male mosquito, okay, which they’re not so bad right, because they’re not biting us, so they’re just a nuisance, but at least you’re not getting bitten. Because I’ve had customers that say, well, I’ve still got some mosquitoes flying around, yes, but are you getting bitten? Well, you know what, come to think of it, not really well, you just have some nails flying around you and, uh, that’s. You know, that’s good, you know. So you’ll never get rid of them completely, but I understand about wanting relief Absolutely. So there’s a lot of things that you can do to help prevent bites in general. We’ll talk about that real quick. Installing a fan on your patio to redirect their flight, that actually helps quite a bit. That’s not the solution, though. It’s many other things you have to do in Corp into corporate with that, using some deep, you know, some spray, the eucalyptus one, you know it’s not little, not so synthetic in nature. More natural sprays is what I would choose to go with. Safer, okay, you don’t want to spray those directly on your skin, not a healthy, habit-deformed, okay. There is also a phenomenal product that I recommend to some of my customers. I utilize it and I do a lot of fishing and hunting and whatnot. Thermacell they got a patio version, patio shield or something like that it’s called. Now we utilize those and I have some customers that will turn those on their patios and they get almost complete relief having a mosquito service treating and seeking out the standing water on the property. We’ll talk about that.

You know, just being involved and it’s a multitude of little things that you need to do. Having a fan isn’t, you know? It’s another good thing you could do wearing long sleeve wear clothing that’s not going to be so attractive. Don’t wear red and black clothes. They’re attracted to that, it’s proven, okay. Plus, it’s hot, you know. Wear lighter, light gray or a white colored long sleeve shirt when you’re outside and when it’s hot out during the season, you’re trying to enjoy the outdoors. Besides, you know, it seems like short sleeves are always what you people own work tank tops. You actually stay cooler with a longer sleeve, believe it or not, that’s a proven, proven fact as well. I know that for over the years from working out in the weather, 100 degrees definitely keeps you cooler, keeps the Sun off your skin. Um, so that’ll, that’ll make a difference. Um, if you’re really prone to sweating a lot, um, try to take a shower, even if you get in real briefly to get the sweat off your skin, you’d be less attracted to mosquitoes as well, you know. So there’s they say, don’t drink beer. But you, I say, enjoy life, drink, drink some beer. But um, that might you might, you might, you might be a little bit sweeter. They might come after you, you know, that’s a, I feel, more of a myth than anything. But anyways, some people emit more uh oxygen, you know, than others and that’s a big reason why you mosquitoes are drawn to you and get attracted to you and you get more bites that way. But the beard thing people swear by. But drink it up, don’t worry about it, don’t drive right anyways, you see here. So that’s a little bit on the bites now, seeking out why you might have them on your property.

Well, if you have a lot of foliage, bushes, shrubs, you know, trees on a dense cover like that, try to thin that out as much as you possibly can. Keep the yard landscape really well, heat the grass, cut down short as you can. The more shaded areas, which is nice to have on a property, then the more resting areas that presents for mosquitoes. They want to be in, the cool areas. They want to stay out of the Sun during the day. They’re going to tend to flock to shaded areas underneath the backside of leaves and shrubs and trees and whatnot, because they’ll stay out of the wind so they’re not getting blown around by the wind, so they like to rest in those areas quite a bit. So you know, with the mosquito service, that’s precisely where us companies that are providing service. Mosquito service are focusing on is going to be your thick, dense foliage areas in around around the house and then all the shaded areas. Potentially you might have a deck and you have shade underneath there. That’s going to be extremely conducive underneath there, which can be difficult to treat under depending on how it’s constructed, but we do our best to get underneath areas like that. And then really it’s about moisture. Standing water is not your friend. Leaf debris you want to make sure that you’re cleaning the yard up. Get rid of that leaf debris. Make sure you’re number one, make sure your gutters don’t are not clogged with leaf debris. That’ll hold a little, just a little bit, of moisture in there and you’ll have mosquitoes breeding there like mad. I see it all the time. So gutters get gutter covers. I recommend that, um, so that that there’s a couple options out there that will help take care of this Act. As a solution to that, primarily, make sure you don’t have any standing stagnant water in the property. There’s areas sometimes you can’t necessarily control. That’s what your company should be doing. If you have a company seeking out any potential breeding sites using what we call an insect growth regulator, we have little pellets that we utilize and treat in the yard. At my company we do that on every service and also, too, we have a liquid version that we mix into with whatever product that we are spraying on the property and those shaded areas and the shrubs and whatnot in the perimeter. Okay, so that’s necessary and it’ll. You’ll get a lot better results that way. So if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you know, call me. I can tell you what products to use and how to do it, what equipment to buy, and I just want to care. You know, if you’re going to do it on yourself, you’re going to do it yourself and you’re going to do it on yourself anyways, and I’ll hire somebody.

You know, I don’t mind answering a couple of questions. I’d rather make sure that you’re doing it safe for yourself, but also, obviously, for the environment and your neighbors don’t want you spraying anything over on them either. So you got to be careful, especially with Using the proper equipment to To be applying a mosquito treatment. Okay, I’m sure you’ve all seen those misters and blowers and whatnot they that can. That can drift over into another property or into, unfortunately, into a creek or something like that and could be killing the aquatic life, and we do not want to be doing that. So you got to be very responsible, be safe, know what you’re doing. If you don’t know what you’re doing 100%, if you don’t know how to read a label, if you don’t understand it 100% fully, you have no business doing it. So please don’t do that. Either seek all that information or leave it to the professionals. Okay, and with that said, here’s the thing. This is really frustrating for me and I’m going to harp on this, and you know is what it is. When people are looking for mosquito help, mosquito control we got, they oftentimes will hire a mosquito company and sometimes they already have a pest control company, which I’ve found over the years. I’ve had a few customers and that’s mainly just because we didn’t do a good job. We haven’t done a great job all the time of letting our all of our customers know what, what the heck we do. And then we do a yeah, we do this termite mosquito exclusion rodent. You know we evict squirrels and raccoons in the attic. Well, unless you tell your customers that, how the hell are they going to know you do all that? So we’ve had a few times and it’s kind of embarrassing and kind of a kick in the gut that you find out your, your pest customer that you’ve had for a couple years, has a mosquito company, mosquito service. Okay, and here’s the reality about this and I want people to understand this. I’m not saying that everyone’s bad, I’m not saying that, but I’m won’t name names. But the reality of it is these mosquito franchises okay, typically are just owned by investors that have zero knowledge. They’re entrepreneurs, they’re just trying to make money. They buy a franchise and they don’t know what the heck, they don’t know a damn thing. Okay, so they try to hire people that know something, of course, but then they’re seasonal, so it’s like changing underwear they’re just constant, then they’re seasonal. So it’s like changing underwear there is constant and they’re seasonal, and they just hire a whole, whole new team, usually every year, which you know these this day and age. It’s hard to hang on to employees. I’ve had to have a couple new employees here and there and that’ll always continue. Nothing you can do about in this economy, especially so. Um, you know, and hopefully the reason people leave is that they outgrow you and they go off. Bigger and better things. That’s that’s all I ever hoped for, for my employees at least. Um, and that’s, that’s happened. So you know, that’s that’s very uh. That’s pleasing when that happens, but uh, but sometimes you know, life happens and people have to move. I have a guy that’s moving now. He’s a beloved technician. We’re going to miss him horribly. Personal stuff. He’s moving out of state. I completely understand him. I completely support that.

Off top that’s getting a little off subject, but mosquito companies, us pest control companies go through an incredible amount of training and typically someone that has a pest control company has years, like myself, of experience and knowledge and it has put that to work in the field, in the office, in training, are way more equipped and knowledgeable and more suited to be doing mosquito services than some guy that might own, just making this up, a law firm or an insurance company or, you know, or a chain of fast food restaurants and then I’m going to get into this business too because I heard it might be profitable. And so they go and buy a mosquito franchise and then they, they seek out and try to find someone with a license so they can do business. Even, and you see it all the time and you know they’re building up and a lot of some of them are being very successful, making money. Good for them, um, but it I find, through some insider knowledge that I have on it, they don’t have a darn clue on what it is they’re doing. For the most part, a lot of these franchisees are like well, I guess I gotta quit my regular jobs because I’m we’re struggling and I’m gonna have to go start spraying accounts on my own. I kind of looked into a franchise at one time, just because I was approached by a friend of mine and we thought about that. They have franchises and they want to add a brand, and thought about me and they said, well, let’s start a mosquito franchise together and they wanted to take my existing mosquito customers and bring it over there. And you know, and it was, it was a thought for a while, um, but inevitably I didn’t want to do that because I want to just focus on the company I have. I don’t want to have too many irons in the fire. I care about. This company is my baby and I want to, you know, grow it and have it, have it for years to come and pass it on, pass it down the line. You know I’m not, I’m not in it to try to just make quick get rich. It’s not a scheme by any means, it’s a. It’s my life’s work. So I decided this wasn’t the right fit for me. Um, and we, we just kind of extinguished that idea completely, and so did they.

I mean, it was very clear that, um, we didn’t want to get involved in that, and but what happen was is I got invited to have a phone call with one of the franchises that one of the two that I really kind of scouted, so to speak, and I accidentally got on the phone call. They gave me that they’re really unorganized and they got me on a phone call that I shouldn’t have been on. It was a VP, the territory manager in a bunch of franchisees from different states, and the conversations I heard on there’s like, well, yeah, you might want to try that. And then the VP on there was applauding like, oh, you did this and what that franchisee described, what he was doing, was illegal and the VP doesn’t have a damn clue. So they’re like, oh you know, good effort and I’m not saying it wasn’t good effort, the guys trying best he can. But the problem was is that there’s no, there’s no knowledge there and obviously there was lack of training, so it was a problem. I left that call like, oh my God, I can’t believe this is what’s going on. And then talking with the other company I didn’t get on the call like that and have that same experience. But quizzing them was very evident that I had 10 times the knowledge, which is just a really above average. But it’s a 101 understanding of mosquito and mosquito control that any of us good pest control owners around this area are going to have a handle on. Okay, a hundred percent. So if you’re thinking that you you know, if you have a pest control company already, ask if they provide mosquito service. If they don’t, maybe seek out another pest control company that can provide both for you. That’s what I would suggest. It’s always nice to kind of have everything all in one, get all in one service, like my company we do, and I’m not trying to sell myself. I’m just saying, if not, you know you don’t want, you want to try me, beautiful, but not, make sure you have a company that does pest control, does rodent control, does exclusion mean they’ll seal up the home.

The, you know, and the issue that you had in your ad matches trap. Because guess what’s going to happen if you don’t do something preventative, like exterior rodent stations, you don’t seal up the home. You’re going to have that problem again. So you just paid, say, you know, eight hundred dollars, two thousand dollars, to have a home sealed up. You know, let’s say, and you’re not doing anything preventative, or you didn’t seal up, you just, you’re gonna have that problem again. So you’re, you’re, you’re really, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And some of these companies that don’t do that work, they’re not going to say nothing, they just want to. You just want to make the sale and take your money. Okay, so have a company that’s equipped in in pest control, mosquito control, termite, um and rodent exclusion. Yeah, and that’s why we do all those things. Um, it’s, it’s very important. Um, not lawn care, these lawn care companies, they say they do pest control as an add on because they’re already going to be at the house and say, oh, we’ll do it real cheap, we’ll add it on, but you’re getting a, yeah, a professional lawn service, but you’re getting a very watered down, um, cheap pest service that they’re not going to do all those things that I mentioned either. So you know everyone they’re not going to do all those things that I mentioned either. So you know everyone needs to stay in their lane.

That’s why I’d never try to add, like lawn care, this and I, even though I probably I have a license for it, I don’t know a lot about it. I passed the test and that’s what the scary thing about it is is that I passed the state exam and I don’t even know all that much. You know and, and lawn care, and I couldn’t tell you what type of grass I may have. You know that. That’s. That’s pretty sad, right, and that’s the issue that we, when I’m talking about with some of these companies like that, is that it’s not, it’s not too difficult to get a license to kill at times, and the level of knowledge may not be there and that’s not good overall, okay, not good for anybody. So, and you know I understand they’re trying to make a living too. So, and I applaud anybody trying that, works hard and hustles and everything. I can respect that. But it’s just. It’s just be aware of of who you’re doing business with and what their level of knowledge and experiences. Get referrals, read the reviews very thoroughly, okay, not just the ones that they’ll share with you, but check them out everywhere, across all the social media and whatnot. You’ll be really read into them. Into them, you’ll get a very good idea of what kind of company they really are and if they care or not, okay, or if they’re knowledgeable or not. So I really suggest doing that. But mosquitoes, you know, clutter in the yard. I think we touched on the water. That’s just the basics. Talked about bites, talked a little bit about them. That’s really about it. But once we get in the evenings a few consecutive days once we were like holding temperatures around you know 60-70 degrees we get some rain in there. Mosquitoes are gonna, they’re gonna come up like mad. They’re gonna start here soon. We got, we got a lot of rain in the forecast. We’ll be warming up. So we’re getting into that season. I think this season is going to be buggier than most, just because of the mild winter that we had. It looks, looks like we’re in for a lot of rain, so keep that in mind. But if you have any questions, like always, feel free Give me a call 512-588-2998. And I appreciate everyone tuning in and listening to me talk and we’ll see you next time. Episode 6.

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