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Mosquito eradicators and tick sprays flying off shelves

Denise Allabaugh
The Citizen's Voice
Location of Publication
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Mosquito eradicators and tick sprays flying off shelves

Some businesses are booming because of bugs.

As mosquitoes with West Nile virus start to pop up in Northeast Pennsylvania, mosquito eradicators are flying off the shelves at some stores.

Moscow Agway, Nescopeck Agway, Honesdale Agway and Yost’s Country Store in Sugarloaf Twp. sell Spartan Mosquito Eradictor kits for $19.95 each. They also are sold at Dirlam Brothers, Hamlin, and Matirko Hardware, Pocono Lake.

Each kit comes with two eradicators that diminish the mosquito population on 1 acre of land.

According to the company that sells Spartan Mosquito Eradicators, the products eliminate mosquitoes without using chemical sprays, fogs or candles.

An eradicator doesn’t require batteries or electricity, just water. The only ingredients are salt, sugar and yeast, and the user adds warm water.

Spartan Mosquito Eradicators are designed to protect people’s properties for up to 90 days.

Company officials say the products are more effective at controlling mosquitoes than other methods such as spray services, fogging devices, bug zappers, lanterns, candles and torches.

Since mosquito season has started, company officials recommend people have a minimum of two kits per acre for the products to be effective. When properly prepared and deployed, the eradicators begin to work immediately, they said.

Jason Toy, owner of Moscow Agway, said the eradicators have been selling well. He said he has received positive feedback from customers and people are buying them after their neighbors do.

Richard Yost, owner of Yost’s Country Store, said he has four mosquito eradicators hanging in his yard and he hasn’t been bitten by a mosquito yet. People should place them 90 feet from their homes, he said.

He said mosquito eradicators are more effective than spray services and fogging devices because they work all the time.

Since this is the first year he has been selling them, he expects sales will be better next year when more people become aware of them.

Tim Lehman, owner of Nescopeck Agway, said mosquito eradicators were popular in the South for years and this also is the first year his business and other local stores are selling them.

“It has been a popular seller,” Lehman said. “A lot of times, people come in asking for it after seeing it online or on Facebook. We recommend it. It covers such a big area and it’s all natural. You don’t spread chemicals in your yard and it’s easy to use.”

Sales of eradicators comes in the middle of mosquito season and amid concerns about West Nile virus.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that breed in areas with standing and stagnant water including urban catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming pools, flower pots, roof gutters and other containers that hold water.

“There was so much moisture in the spring and there have been a lot of mosquitoes hatching around standing water,” Lehman said. “It’s definitely a problem this year.”

In 2017, there were 20 human cases of West Nile virus reported in Pennsylvania. So far in 2018, no positive human cases have been reported.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, two mosquitoes in Luzerne County and two mosquitoes in Lackawanna County tested positive for West Nile virus.

Symptoms of West Nile virus are often flu-like and can include a fever, headache, body aches, rash, and swollen lymph nodes and typically only last a few days.

However, West Nile virus can cause a serious neurological infection, including encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms of these infections include a severe headache, high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, paralysis, possible confusion and disorientation, tremors and even a coma.

Amid concerns about the tick-borne Lyme Disease as well, Toy and Lehman said they also have seen increases in sales in insect repellents and flea and tick spray.

Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced he would bolster funding to protect Pennsylvania residents from West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Zika virus as part of the recently signed budget.

Increases to both the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health will go towards improving mosquito and tick surveillance and education about the diseases associated with these insects, Wolf announced.

In 2017, 11,900 cases of Lyme disease were recorded in Pennsylvania. Throughout the last several years, the state has consistently recorded one of the highest counts of suspected Lyme disease cases in the U.S.

Deer ticks are the most common carrier of Lyme disease. Ticks typically thrive in tall grass, brush and wooded areas, but deer ticks have been found in every county in the state and can live in any habitat. Ticks can infect humans year-round, but are most likely to do so from late spring through the summer.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a bull’s-eye rash, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Someone bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease may not always get a bull’s-eye rash, however.

If you believe you have been bitten by a tick, state officials said you should speak to a doctor immediately. Antibiotic treatment during the early stages of Lyme disease can help prevent the onset of more severe symptoms. If not treated promptly, Lyme disease may lead to severe health concerns affecting the heart, joints, and nervous system.

Contact the writer: [email protected], 570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh on Twitter

Mosquitoes collected in Lackawanna County: 275; tested: 48; positive for West Nile virus: 2.

Human cases of West Nile virus: 0

Mosquitoes collected in Luzerne County: 253: tested: 49; positive for West Nile virus: 2.

Human cases of West Nile virus: 0.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Simple steps people can follow to reduce places where mosquito populations can flourish:

Use insect repellent

Eliminate standing water in places such as kiddie pools, bird baths and wheelbarrows which can be magnets for mosquitoes

Clean clogged gutters

Discard tires, plastic tires or other refuse that can hold water.

Tips to protect yourself from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses:

Avoid tick-infested habitats, such as areas dense with shrubbery or tall grass.

Before heading outdoors, cover exposed skin, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing and use an insect repellent containing 20 percent or more DEET.

Once returning home, immediately check yourself, children and pets for ticks. Then, take a shower to remove any ticks that may be attached to your skin. Carefully check your clothing and gear and put them in the dryer on high to kill any ticks.

The Citizen’s Voice