Mosquito control companies busy amid Zika fears

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 01, 2016

Mosquito control companies are busier than ever.  The co-owner of Mosquito Joe of Baltimore and Mosquito Joe of Annapolis, Kurt Godwin, says they've had a boom of new customers and the phones have been ringing off the hook.

"People just don't want to get bit and they want to be comfortable,” he said.  “Since it got warm this past week business has been crazy."

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Workers have been busy hitting houses and local companies, spraying for the blood sucking pests.  Godwin says he is adding new employees to handle the heavier workload.       

People are sick of the biting bugs, and many aren't taking the threat of Zika lightly.

"We get a lot of calls about it, “What's the story?”  “I need to be protected from Zika.”  Of course it’s a lot of pregnant women, or people who are thinking about having babies, we do have that a lot and that's a valid concern," Godwin said.

The mosquito-borne virushas been linked to microcephaly, a severe birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and brains.  There's no vaccine for Zika, and it can be sexually transmitted.  Officials say making sure you don't get bitten by mosquitos is your best defense.       

That's where companies like Mosquito Joe come in.

"It's between a 70 percent and 95 percent reduction of the mosquitos on their property,” Godwin said.  “It gets better with each service."

Mosquitos like to hang out in dark, humid and cool places during the day, like under a deck, so that's where crews target the treatment.  The spray kills mosquitos and other insects on contact.  Getting your yard treated doesn’t take long.

"Looking for any areas where they might be able to tuck underneath and try to hide," Mosquito Joe employee Todd Grossman said.         

Spraying is one defense, but officials say you need to be vigilant at home to stop mosquitos from breeding.  Check your yard and property, and make sure anything that collects water is emptied, like gutters, trash cans, even small things like toys.

"You could have a little bottle cap sitting here with a half inch of water in it, you could have 400 to 800 mosquitos in five days," said Godwin.

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