Monthly Archives

August 2022

Captain Stan’s ‘Creature Features’ Volume 5 – Captain Stan Himself!! August 2022

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Welcome to Volume 5 of my ‘Creature Features’.  Last month, I shared our piece on the Asian longhorned tick with my daughter.  She replied ‘they should do one on you’!  I thought, well, I am a ‘creature’ of sorts and maybe, just maybe, readers would like to know  a bit more about CAPT Stan.  So, at the risk of seeming self-centered, here goes:

  • I was born and raised in Huntington, Indiana and am the ‘baby’ of four children.
  • Like most kids growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I played all kinds of sports with major emphasis on baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. Oh, and I pitched a no-hitter in Little League, high school, and college.
  • Although I am now a professional medical entomologist, I was not overly interested in bugs as a kid and never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up!
  • In contrast to my favorite insect, the mosquito, I have two legs only instead of six, I cannot fly, for I have no wings, and I certainly do not suck blood!
  • I attended Swarthmore College, University of Delaware, and UCLA for my degrees in Biology, Entomology, and Public Health respectively.

The Cattail Mosquito: An Unusual Creature Indeed!

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Captain Stan The Mosquito Man

August 2022

This month we spotlight one of the most unusual, and most pestiferous mosquitoes that PMPs might have to deal with – the cattail mosquito Coquillettidia perturbans.  Even the name indicates that this is a bad actor.  Here is the lowdown:

  • There are about 60 species of Coquillettidia worldwide but only one in the United States; the cattail mosquito. This species occurs throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  It is widely distributed across the eastern U.S., southern Canada, and several areas in the western U.S.
  • They prefer to breed in permanent freshwater sources such as along the edges of lakes and ponds.
  • Much like the common house mosquito (Culex), individual eggs are glued together by the female as they are deposited to form a floating raft. She can lay between 150-350 eggs after just one blood meal.  The eggs hatch in 2-3 days.
  • The larvae and pupae do not obtain their required oxygen at the water surface via the siphon (air tube) as almost all other mosquito species do. Instead, their siphon is heavily sclerotized and resembles a short, pointed saw.  This modified structure is then used to pierce the hollow roots or submersed stems of aquatic plants for respiration – kind of like a ‘mosquito snorkel’!
  • Adults are medium-sized and have a ‘salt and pepper’ coloration due to the colors and patterns of scales on the wings. The life span of the adults is approximately one to two months, although this can vary depending on environmental conditions.  Females tend to outlive the males.
  • Female cattail mosquitoes are persistent and painful biters of humans and domestic animals. They actively seek hosts during early evening hours but will also bite humans in shady places where adult mosquitoes are resting during the day.  They can penetrate clothing with their mouthparts, and they are able to fly up to about 5 miles from their breeding sites.  Ouch!
  • In addition to being just a dang biting nuisance, they are known to transmit West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus to humans and animals.
  • So, what to do about them, you say? Good question!  They are very difficult to control with conventional larvicides.  Barrier sprays may have some effectiveness but remember adults can fly onto a customer’s property from long distances and may not land on treated surfaces before attacking.  Removal of excessive cattail growth (source reduction) often is the only effective and economical long-term method of control.  And when all else fails, use an insect repellent with an EPA-registered active ingredient.  Oh, and good luck!


Captain Stan’s ‘Creature Features’ Volume 5 – Spotted Lanternfly August 2022

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Welcome to the fifth edition of ‘Captain Stan’s Creature Features,’ where we are looking at some of the more interesting animals in the pest management universe.  This month, we take a closer look at the dreaded Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), Insect Order: Hemiptera (“Half-winged”). Here are some fun and useful facts: 


  1. The adult spotted lanternfly (SLF) is about an inch long and ½ inch wide. They are typically weak fliers.


  1. The preferred food is the ‘Tree of Heaven.’  When feeding, SLFs suck in sap and then excrete honeydew, which can attract other insects and cause mold to grow on the plants.


  1. The SLF is native to China, India, and Viet Nam. It is an invasive species in the United States, first detected in Pennsylvania in September 2014.


  1. SLF adults and nymphs can be trapped on a tree by banding the tree with a sticky trap.


  1. A SLF egg mass can produce 30-50 individuals. Egg masses may be laid on cars so if you are in a SLF area, inspect your car and remove any egg masses by scraping them off and disposing of them.

Monkeypox Virus: A Primer

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Captain Stan The Mosquito (And Infectious Disease) Man

July 2022

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been closely tracking cases of a disease called ‘monkeypox’ recently detected in the United States.  Here are some facts:

  • Monkeypox virus is related to the virus that causes smallpox. The disease is rarely fatal, and the virus is not related to chickenpox.
  • Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys kept for research. However, the source of the disease in nature remains unknown.  It is possible that the animal reservoir is African rodents and perhaps non-human primates.
  • The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of   In the 2022 outbreak, as of July 13 there have been 1,053 cases reported in the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. A rash resembling pimples or blisters appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on several other parts of the body.
  • Monkeypox virus is transmitted in several ways. It can spread person-to-person through direct contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids.  It can also be spread via respiratory secretions or during intimate physical contact.  The virus can also pass across the placenta.  It is also possible to get monkeypox from infected animals in a few different ways.  The GOOD NEWS is that there is no evidence whatsoever incriminating any biting arthropods in the transmission of monkeypox!
  • As with most viruses, there is no specific treatment for monkeypox.

As recent history has taught us, the world will continue to have outbreaks and epidemics of previously unknown diseases or appearances of re-emerging diseases such as monkeypox.  Germs are nasty brutes!!!