Summer Fun

The heat of summer is upon us and summer vacations are in full force. We have all experienced that head-scratching moment as parents when we want to do something fun with the kids, but we need a little inspiration. This month Mosquito Joe has rounded up some fun things to do around the area in the hopes that you might find something appealing for your whole family. We also try and keep a good balance of outside fun and some ways to escape the sun while keeping everyone entertained.

Mosquito Control - Montgomery, TX - Mosquito Spraying for BackyardStarting off our tour in Conroe, we found this great blog full of ideas. From fishing and boating at Lake Conroe to camping in the Sam Houston National Forest and blueberry picking, there are some great ideas for day trips to keep your little ones (and maybe the adults) happy. We also want to give a shout out to the Wolfdog Project in Montgomery where Mosquito Joe keeps the wolves happy and bite free! They are always looking for volunteers and welcome visitors to meet the wolves.  You can also visit on a Saturday and help the volunteers there take them out for a walk.

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Heading south to Tomball, you can take the kids for a stroll down Main Street and stop in for some award-winning Texas craft BBQ, homemade desserts and ice cream. Visit theTomball historic railroad Depot and see the “0” scale T&W Model Railway and others, as well as visit all the delightful quaint stores along the way. There is something for everyone in Tomball and plenty of ways to spend the day.

Brenham never disappoints and is chock full of activities for old and young alike. The Texas Cotton Gin Museum is open from 10- 4 Tuesday through Saturday and offers tours from 10-2. You cannot miss the summer grape stomps at the Pleasant Hill Winery and the Windy Winery. Running the last two weekends, and every weekend in July respectively, it’s great fun for kids of all ages.  July is full of farmers’ markets, antique carousel rides, and concerts in the park. You can see all the events planned for Brenham here.

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With no less than 6 museums in Bryan/College Station, you have plenty of options for some out-of-the-sun activities.  Including the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Museum of the American GI, and the Brazos Valley Museum of National History, you can visit all kinds of exhibits. Grand Station Entertainment offers bowling, mini-golf and laser tag while the Spirit Ice Arena gives you the opportunity to really cool down with some ice-skating. If you want to get outside, consider and visit to the Kingsbury Blueberry Farm or Royalty Pecan Farm and make sure to bring your own basket or bucket. There are also plenty of outdoor concerts in Bryan, and for the Dad’s out there, don’t miss the 3rd annual Craft Beer Festival this month!Best Mosquito Control in Brenham - Mosquito Control Near Me - TX

If you are looking to head further afield how about watching the bats take off a dusk in Austin, or visit Sometimes Islands. You can visit this list of fun things to do in the State in July. However you chose to spend the month, we hope you create some wonderful summer memories for you and your family!

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Our Planet

Mosquito Joe - Earth Day - Love our EarthApril 22nd, 1970 marks the birth of Earth Day. Millions of people gathered to protest the negative impacts of industrial development on our planet. Since that time, Earth Day has grown into a movement with participation by over 192 countries and over one billion people. Earth Day this year is focusing on ending plastic pollution. Currently, 300 million TONS (yes, tons!) of plastic is produced each year, and only 10% of that is recycled. According to some sources, more plastic has been produced and used in the last decade than in the entirety of the 20th century. While the push to increase recycling continues, this year Earth Day Network is asking everyone to commit to reducing the use of plastics and instead switch to sustainable alternatives. You can learn more about pledging and committing to reduce waste by clicking here.

Houston has its own website for Earth Day where you can request more information, or you can like them on Facebook. Big changes start with each and every one of us, so get involved and start making an impact!

Speaking of making an impact, last year Mosquito Joe partnered with Nothing But Nets in their fight against malaria. For each Mosquito Joe | Nothing But Nets Partnershipnew customer serviced during Mosquito Control Awareness Week, Mosquito Joe donated $10 to Nothing But Nets. Each donation paid for an insecticide-treated net for a family in Sub-Sahara Africa. We collected $14,100 in donations as a company and raised over $20,000 with donation matching. That’s over 2,000 nets! You can read more about the partnership here.

World Malaria Day is April 25th, and what better time to reach out and make a donation! Every 2 minutes a child dies from malaria and nearly half the world’s population is at risk. Visit their website to learn more about Nothing But Nets. We look forward to continuing our work with them this year and with your help, plan on exceeding our donation from last year.

In keeping with our global outlook, we want to make mention of one last celebration this month! Arbor Day falls on April 27th this year. There are so many activities and ways to get involved that it would be impossible to list them all here. You can visit this link for information specific to Texas and find some local goings-on, including Montgomery, Conroe, Brenham and Bryan.

Mosquito Joe of NW Houston & S Brazos Valley - Arbor Day 2018Arbor Day has its roots in Nebraska when Julius Morton made his way there from Detroit. He became the editor of Nebraska’s first Newspaper and disseminated information on agriculture and trees to his audience. Pioneers who read his paper started planting trees to help protect them from the wind and to provide building material for their homes. These days, Arbor Day is recognized in all 50 states and looks to the future, rather than the past. Arbor Day is about recognizing the vital role that trees play in our world and the needs of future generations.

So this April, replace your plastics, donate a net and plant a tree! Together we can all make the world a better place.

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The Time for Gardening is Upon Us

If you are anything like us gardening starts in earnest this month! While our seeds have been germinating since last month, March is the best time to get outside and really make things happen. There are some really awesome (and free) sources on the web that can help. Check out this full list of veggies and the best dates to plant them and when to move those seeds outside organized by zip code.

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Start in early March by mowing your lawn, even if it doesn’t need it. Mowing will prevent weeds from flowering and re-seeding. You can fill any bare patches, but wait to feed your lawn until it is actively growing. This is also a great time to get those seedlings planted, particularly your herbs, allowing them some time to get established before the heat really hits.  It is also the best month to plant your fruit trees and shrubs and spring flowers.  Prune your roses and Crepe Myrtles, but be gentle. There are a lot of great “how-to’s” out there on how to do it right, and it doesn’t involve butchering the poor things.

Spring into Gardening

Most folks start off the spring gardening season by laying out fresh mulch. There is no doubt that this one update can make a dramatic visual improvement to your yard. But did you know that mulch is full of mosquito eggs? It’s not something we gave much thought to until we started Mosquito Joe, but mulch contains thousands of eggs.

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The first thing we do when the mulch goes down? We water it, unknowingly hatching all those eggs. Always let us know when you are preparing to put down new mulch. We will make notes in your service account and make sure the technicians treat that mulch for you to minimize the bites when you are outside gardening.

Another big preparation at our house is the annual unpacking of the Hummingbird feeders. We are up to about 20 at this point, and the number of Hummingbirds increases every year. March is the time to get those out – it may already be a bit late.  Visit this awesome Hummingbird tracker (you can even participate with your own sightings) to see when they are arriving in our area. Just make sure you don’t forget the other birds and load up your feeders.

We also recommend that you clean out your birdbaths and refresh the water. Remember that stagnant water is a great source for mosquitoes, so make sure you keep it refreshed. Our technicians will always dump (if they can lift it) and treat any birdbaths when they come, but keeping an eye on that water is best for the birds and for you.

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One of our favorite places to visit for plants, gardening inspiration and some great classes is The Arbor Gate. They have some great vegetable planting calendars, an inspirational blog, and even an app you can download that lets you calculate mulch needs, comes with a plant database and is chock full of how-to videos.

Whatever you are planting and planning this spring, we wish you a green thumb and hope you enjoy your time outside without those pesky mosquitoes ruining it!

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Jump Start Your Spring and Celebrate Mardi Gras

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February is the last month that we can actually wear a sweater in Houston before the arrival of spring (which in most parts would be referred to as a summer). And if any of you remember last year, you will remember that really didn’t happen. Most websites will tell you that we average 2 days of 80 plus temps in February. Looking back at 2017, we had 14 days of temperatures in the 80’s and hit a high of 88.

February is the perfect time to start your mosquito service with us. It gives us the opportunity to get a jump start on the population by treating the water and reducing the larvae in your yard. Since there is no product out there that can kill eggs, we have to break the life cycle of mosquitoes. The sooner we get started on that process the more you will be able to enjoy your yard come March.

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To that end, we have started offering our pre-pay specials. By pre-paying your services you can save between 10-15% and can relax for the remainder of the year knowing that you get outside and enjoy without being bitten. We never have any contracts and you are always free to leave with the assurance that you will receive a refund for the services you did not use. Our aim at Mosquito Joe is to make your outside fun again without locking you into a contract. We believe our service speaks for itself and the best customer is a happy one.

Speaking of happy, February is a great month for celebrations and this year proves to be no exception. Mardi Gras is coming up and this year promises to be the best yet. This year you can double the celebration with Valentines’ and extend your trip to cover both celebrations. Head to New Orleans for Fat Tuesday, February 13th, or go early to catch some of the earlier celebrations.  Check out this website for all the information on the parades and things going on in New Orleans. Fun fact, the first Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans in 1837!

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If you want to stay closer to home, Mardi Gras Galveston has a ton of events and parades lined up. In fact, the first parade starts on the 2nd of February. Celebrations continue all the way to the 13th with plenty of offerings for adults and kids. Check out the Galveston Mardi Gras page for all the details. There is a gate fee, but once inside Galveston promises good availability for parking. Galveston has been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1867 and the celebrations are rich with history.

Even if you don’t plan on heading out to see the parades, get yourself a King Cake and enjoy at home! Some great bakeries offer shipping and the flavor options are astounding. For a great list of recommended bakeries in New Orleans, check out this page.  Closer to home, visit the Montgomery Bakehouse and pick one up. Just make sure you leave room for those Valentine chocolates!!!

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How Mosquitoes Winter in South Texas

There is a lot of misinformation out there about mosquitoes and the weather. We have folks who call us in August and ask to put their service on hold until the spring, thinking that mosquito season is over or at least that the populations diminish. Nine times out of ten those customers end up calling us back saying “I don’t know what I was thinking!” or “You stopped treating and they came back!”.

It is important to us that our customers make their own decisions about when they want us to service their yard, so we will never pressure someone to continue service if they don’t believe they need it. We don’t have contracts, never tie folks into services and make sure our customers know that they are the boss.

Having said that, this is a great time of year to take a look at what is actually going on down here in the deep south. Unlike the northern and eastern states, things work a little differently in south Texas.

When Mosquitoes Winter in South Texas

When temperatures reach a consistent 50 degrees, mosquito eggs begin hatching and mosquito season begins.Typically, mosquito hibernation starts once we experience three deep freezes in a row or temperatures fall consistently under 50 degrees. As you might have guessed, this rarely happens around these parts. What you might not know, however, is that mosquitoes in the Houston area are thought to have developed an adaptation to our mild winters. Scientists have noted that these local mosquitoes have adapted a hibernation pattern where they awaken on warm days and “sleep” on the few-and-far-between cold ones. Even at temperatures of 50 degrees, female mosquitoes are active and seeking out warm bodies from which to obtain a drink of blood.

Culiseta Inornata and Anopheles Freeborni are two of the species that live in our area and actually become MORE active during the cooler months.  If you have lived in Texas long enough you will remember being bitten on Christmas Day.

Tips and Tricks to Prevent Mosquitoes

So what can you do to help control that population in your yard? Firstly, if you are a customer remember that the longer we treat your yard, the more we prevent eggs from being laid around your home. Mosquito eggs are pretty resilient and can actually sit dormant for ten years before a drop of water can cause them to hatch. Come spring and the wet days of February, you will start seeing the effects of all that egg laying. Of course, it will also take us three services to break that life cycle in the spring. Customers who are treated year-round never have to worry and are able to maintain a yard rid of mosquitoes no matter what time of year it is.

One girl splashing with gardening house on backyard on summer day. Child playing with water outside at sunset. Candid moment lifestyle home kid activity.

What can you do if you are not a customer? We always tell folks to think like a mosquito. That sounds ridiculous, but I’m sure the majority of you have childproofed your hom e at some point in time. The number one advice to new parents on how to effectively do that is to get on your hands and knees and see your home from a toddlers perspective. Now we are not suggesting you crawl around your yard like a mosquito, but if you think like one you can act accordingly.

Mosquitoes need water to hatch the next generation of youngsters. The easiest way for them to populate is to lay eggs in stagnant water. Your number one focus should be making sure that there is no standing water in your yard. Remember, just a capful of water is enough for 300 eggs. So don’t keep your focus just on the large puddles or kiddie pools.  Look at kids’ toys and plant pot saucers, soda cans, open garbage containers and blocked gutters. Even cap-less fence posts make a great home for mosquito eggs.

If a female mosquito cannot locate any standing water, she will lay her eggs on moist ground. These are the areas where eggs are most likely to hatch after a rain. Pine needles, debris piles and leaf piles are the most likely areas to be attractive as they keep the ground dark and moist. When the leaves start falling and you get out to clean your yard make sure you get rid of this debris rather than piling it behind the shed.

Finally, remember that the introduction of new mulch also brings the introduction of new mosquito eggs so don’t be surprised if you see more mosquitoes after you finish your winter landscaping.

We are always here to help and treat year-round (with good reason) so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 281-815-0228 if you have any questions!

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