By John Grossi
If it felt like there were more mosquitos in Long Beach last summer than ever before…it’s because there were.
The mosquito rate in Los Angeles has been steadily climbing over the last 4-5 years, mostly due to a new invasive species of mosquito that landed on the west coast for the first time early last decade.
The “Aedes” species most commonly known for the subspecies Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus are new to this region of the world and are breeding and biting at a higher rate than most Californians are accustomed to. Unlike the traditional Culex “night biter” mosquitos that California residents know so well— the big guys that come out when the sun goes down—these new species are much different, according to Mosquito Joe Treatment Specialist Mitchell Kay.
“They [the Aedes species] look different, act different, and they’re harder to see than the Culex. They are smaller, make zero noise, and one mosquito can bite you 6-7 times. They’re called micro biters and they focus on your ankles because you are not looking down there.” They are aggressive and unique because they bite during daylight hours. They also are dark in color with black and white striped legs.
Mitchell is passionate about killing mosquitos when he goes out and services dozens of Long Beach backyards each week. He fits the “son” role in the tight-knit family business of Mosquito Joe. His mom and dad, Evelyn and Ken, came out of retirement to open a Mosquito Joe franchise in Long Beach, after realizing they couldn’t enjoy an evening in their own backyard without being bit!
Now the whole family (Mom, Dad, sons Dolan and Mitchell, and friend Paul Gajdos) has gone through two years of education and training and are back hard at work, solving this ever-growing problem in SoCal. You give them a call and they come to your home, evaluate the likely breeding grounds, and put you on a treatment plan.
Evelyn, who runs the office, acknowledges the growing need for their service as evidenced by the fact that the county and city websites recognize the rapid growth of mosquitoes in the region, but are not able to offer any ongoing services to address it on individual private property. Depending on your zip code, the city of Long Beach Vector control or LA County Vector control will gladly inspect your property and give you tips and recommendations, but they cannot actually treat your yard. Their primary focus is educating the public to remove standing water (great advice!) and then treating public hot spots like gutters, sewage drains, parks, and cemeteries.
What Evelyn and Ken also realized when trying to solve their own mosquito problem is that few of the traditional “pest” and “bug” control services are setup to deal with mosquitos in California. The unique breeding habits and life cycles of mosquitoes require a different treatment schedule and process than traditional pest control. That is why they became the first Mosquito Joe franchise to open in California, utilizing the tools, products, and techniques, that have made Mosquito Joe a leader in the mosquito abatement industry on the East Coast, South and Midwest of the U.S.
All working out of the back of their logo-covered vans—which look more like laboratories inside than work trucks—the Mosquito Joe experts mix a variety of proprietary products based on the characteristics of each individual backyard. They are highly trained and licensed to do what they do and use several products that are only allowed to be used by professionals who properly dilute and mix them.
“Over 99% of what we spray is actually water. These specially formulated products are heavily diluted leaving only trace amounts of the product, but it’s enough to kill mosquitoes,” explains Ken. “Because we are also highly concerned about protecting our pollinators and beneficial insects, as part of our Pollinator Protection Program, we avoid flowering plants, vegetable gardens and fruit trees and rather focus on the shrubs, bushes and leaves where mosquitos actually harbor.”
They also offer an array of natural botanical oil products as an option to their clients, especially those with extensive gardens and koi ponds. They achieve the same results as the standard products with the only difference being that they may require a more frequent treatment schedule because they can break down faster depending on the environmental conditions. Again, as each yard is unique, each treatment plan is specifically tailored to what will work best in your yard.
So, if you are experiencing the wrath of mosquitoes at your house, or if you remember last year’s mosquito season and want to get ahead of the game and make your backyard mosquito-free, then give Mosquito Joe a call!
And even before you call, do yourself a favor and get rid of any standing water in your yard! Puddles, coolers, rain barrels, non-functioning fountains, unused spas, anything that has sitting water for more than two to three days…these new mosquitoes are small, breed quickly, and they need less than a capful of water to start hatching eggs!
For more information about what they can do for you in your yard, or for a free quote, call Mosquito Joe at 562-270-9808. They currently have the resources to service every neighborhood in East Long Beach and hope to expand to all of Long Beach soon! You can also visit their website at https://sealbeach.mosquitojoe.com/ to learn more.
**** During Mosquito Control Awareness Week (June 2021) they are donating $10 for every new customer to a non-profit that gives mosquito nets to countries fighting Malaria. The non-profit is called https://nothingbutnets.net/. For more information about Mosquito Control Awareness Week, check out their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/mosquitojoeofsealbeach”