Tips for Reducing Mosquito Callbacks

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Learn how to maximize your  time in the field with these tips for reducing mosquito callbacks.

Callbacks and retreatments for your mosquito service can be costly, time-consuming, and usually result in unhappy customers or the service being cancelled.  Here are a few tips to help you avoid them.

Tips for Reducing Mosquito Callbacks

Top 14 Tips for Reducing Mosquito Callbacks

  1. The number one reason for callbacks, in my experience, is improper or a lack of inspections on each visit.
  2. Do the proper math on the treatment area and apply the correct amount of product.
  3. Use the highest label rate allowed for the first treatment of the season.
  4. Use the proper application technique to get maximum penetration and product on underside of vegetation and other resting places (under decks, sheds, etc.).
  5. Vegetation grows quickly in summer. Be sure to target NEW vegetation on each service.
  6. Rotate chemicals with different modes of action to avoid resistance.
  7. Many times the breeding sites are on adjacent properties. If you suspect this:
    • Offer a free inspection to the neighbors.
    • Incorporate traps in your service to intercept egg-laying females coming onto your customers’ property.
    • Ask your customer to speak with the neighbors about your service.
  8. Keep vegetation trimmed to impact CAPT Stan’s Big Four where mosquitoes hang out: shade, moisture, cool, out of wind.
  9. Set/manage customer expectations.  We aren’t very good at this as an industry.  If you advertise ‘eradication’ or ‘no more mosquitoes’, you will have callbacks.    I prefer the phrase ‘nuisance reduction’.
  10. Recommend floor fans and use of repellents in between services (CDC has a great website on the latter – Insect Repellents Help Prevent Malaria and Other Diseases Spread by Mosquitoes (
  11. Verify with customers where in the yard they are being bitten and what time of day. This will provide clues as to what species you are dealing with.
  12. Check for cryptic breeding sites such as plant drainage saucers, piles of leaves, corrugated attachments for downspouts, clogged gutters, etc.
  13. Change outdoor lighting scheme to sodium vapor. Many species of mosquitoes are highly attracted to ‘regular’ light.
  14. If a problem persists, try and get the mosquitoes identified. This can be done by your Chief Science Officer (if you have one), technical specialist, a local mosquito abatement district, or an entomologist at a local university.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services and blogs frequently on mosquitoes. In addition to his social media content you can find his blog archives here:

Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:

Reasons for Concern with Invasive Mosquitoes

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With spring here, there continue to be reasons for concern with invasive mosquitoes. An invasive species may be defined as a living organism, including but not limited to plants, parasites, pathogens, fungi, and animals (including insects) that is nonnative to an ecosystem and begins to spread out or expand its range from the original site of introduction.  Additionally, the species must have the potential to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or human health.

Reasons for Concern with Invasive Mosquitoes - Map

Invasive mosquito species have been in the news lately.  The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), first discovered in Texas in 1985, has now spread to over 1,300 counties in 40 states in the U.S.  More recently in Florida (2020), the mosquito Aedes scapularis was found to be well-established in two southern counties.

From a public health and quality of life perspective, there are significant reasons to be concerned about invasive mosquito species including:

4 Reasons for Concern with Invasive Mosquitoes

  • Increased Annoyance. Some of these species, especially the Asian tiger mosquito, are very aggressive biters during the daytime and they can quickly ruin outdoor activities.
  • Introduction Of New Pathogens. Although not highly likely, there is the possibility that a mosquito carrying a virus or other pathogen could make its way to the U.S. via airplane, ship, or other mode of transportation.  This has happened several times with malaria.
  • Endemic Disease Cycles. As invasive mosquito species establish and their population numbers increase, it is possible, and in some cases probable, that they will become involved in the endemic (regularly found) disease cycles in the U.S. such as West Nile virus.
  • Geographic Expansion. Many invasive species are easily transported during human activity, primarily due to the drought-resistant eggs they produce.  Accordingly, we will undoubtedly see these mosquitoes continue to expand their range.

Invasive Mosquitoes  – Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:

Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Neglected tropical diseases, some of which are insect-borne, affect approximately 1.7 billion people and remain a threat, even with resources being reallocated to fight the current pandemic.  This group of diseases, known collectively by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’, or NTDs, can cause terrible suffering around the globe. Fortunately, some of them can be prevented or cured.

Neglected Tropical Diseases - Graph

Neglected Tropical Diseases

The NTDs include Chagas disease, leprosy, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), yaws, trachoma, filariasis/elephantiasis, intestinal worms, dengue, chikungunya, onchocerciasis, Guinea worm disease, schistosomiasis, scabies, schistosomiasis, snakebite envenoming, and a few others.  About half of the NTDs are transmitted by insect bites, especially mosquitoes.

5 Highlights of Dangerous Insect-Borne Diseases

  • The number of people impacted dropped from 2.0 billion in 2010 to 1.7 billion in 2017.
  • These diseases blind, disable, and disfigure people, keeping children out of school and adults out of work so the economic burden is stifling.
  • NTDs are found primarily in poorer populations in tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa, Asia, and South America.
  • Since a WHO ‘roadmap to eradication’ was developed in 2012, 42 countries have eliminated at least one NTD.
  • It is the goal of WHO to have a 90% reduction in people requiring treatment for NTDs in the next 10 years. This is to be done by providing safe and available drugs, and through aggressive vector control.

It is easy to forget that billions of people in the world are still impacted by diseases, many of them vector-borne, and that somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million people still die from malaria every year.  And as world travel continues to increase at an astounding rate, the risk of infection and disease goes up!

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services and blogs frequently on mosquitoes. In addition to his social media content you can find his blog archives here:

Neglected Tropical Diseases – Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:

Resources to Improve Your Mosquito Service

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The mosquito business can be tough, fortunately there are resources to improve your mosquito service.  As you gear up for the mosquito season, I draw your attention to what are likely untapped resources for your company – professional mosquito control organizations (PMCOs) and mosquito abatement districts (MADs), which are usually funded by various taxes.

Resources to Improve Your Mosquito Service

Resources to Improve Your Mosquito Service - Map

Mosquito Abatement Districts

The responsibility for public mosquito control in the United States resides in different organizations, depending on state and county policies.  It may be the state health department, a county public works facility or other.  But what I am specifically referring to here are the MADs.  As you might expect, they are more numerous in some states than others; for example, Florida alone has about 60!  I strongly urge you to find out if there is a MAD in your areas of operation.  If so, give them a call and ask to visit.  They are very proud of what they do, and you can learn a great deal from them.  One piece of valuable information will be where they treat and DON’T treat = business opportunities for you!

Professional Mosquito Control Organizations

Also, many states have mosquito control associations, and there are also several regional ones that cover several states.  In addition, there is the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), which has around 1,400 members in over 50 countries.  See for more information.  Membership for you or your company (as a sustaining member) in one or more of these will bring many benefits including access to newsletters, up-to-date information on mosquito control products, tremendous networking opportunities, training events, workshops, annual meetings, etc.  If you really want to learn and practice Integrated Mosquito Management, this is a great place to start.

If CAPT Stan can facilitate any of this for you, especially the MAD visits, please contact me.  I would be happy to provide you with an email introduction.  I am standing by to assist. or 551.689.8073.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services and blogs frequently on mosquitoes. In addition to his social media content you can find his blog archives here:

Resources to Improve Your Mosquito Service – Additional Links

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:

The 2020 Mosquito Season Review

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As cold weather settles in over most of the United States and insect activity diminishes, let’s take a look back at some of the happenings with a 2020 mosquito season review.  Two of our most dangerous disease vectors, the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) continue to expand their range in the US.  These two species are the primary transmitters of the viruses that cause Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever.  A third species, the Asian bush mosquito (Aedes japonicus) is rapidly spreading in the Eastern US.  Its disease-transmitting potential is not well understood.

2020 Mosquito Season Review - Fun Facts

2020 Mosquito Season Review – CDC Statistics for 2020

The mosquito-borne disease burden for humans and animals was substantial.  The numbers below are from CDC’s website.  Note that full reporting for 2020 is not yet complete.  There was evidence of West Nile virus activity in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 44 states.  Also, there were 540 human cases, well below our average of about 2,000 per year; 184 (34%) of the cases occurred in California.  There were 9 human cases and a large number of equine cases of Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE), compared to 36 human cases in 2019.

Dengue fever made a dramatic reappearance, with 250 total reported cases.  181 of those were travel-related while the rest of the cases (69) were all locally acquired in Florida, primarily in the Florida Keys.  Finally, there were 5 cases of a relative rare disease, caused by Jamestown Canyon virus, reported from New Hampshire.

A Rough Year for Mosquito Surveillance

It is really unclear how much actual disease from mosquito bites there was in 2020.  Many surveillance and control programs were crippled or actually shut down by the pandemic, and personnel resources were reallocated.  One piece of good news, however, is that there is absolutely no scientific evidence that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted by mosquitoes.

2021 will likely bring more outbreaks and surprises in the mosquito universe and CAPT Stan will be here to bring you all the news!  Best wishes for the holiday season and new year.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services and blogs frequently on mosquitoes. In addition to his social media content you can find his blog archives here:

2020 Mosquito Season Review – Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:

Mosquito Service Certification

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With down time in the winter months, now is a great time to focus on your mosquito service certification. Are you or one of your ambitious staff members looking for a winter project?  The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), through the QualityPro program, has made available Public Health certifications targeting mosquito and rodent services.  Additional certifications for bed bugs, stinging and biting insects, and wildlife are in development.

Mosquito Service Certification - US Map

QualityPro Certification – Background

To create these certifications, QualityPro brought in the ‘Pros From Dover’ including folks from NPMA, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the American Mosquito Control Association, the Entomological Society of America, the National Environmental Health Association, a vector control district, and five pest control companies!

Before applying for the Public Health certifications, a company must first earn QualityPro accreditation and be in good standing.  The package of materials and information that must be submitted is substantial and will likely take a few months to compile so be ready.  Upon submission, QualityPro will review the package and either accept it or suggest modifications to improve it.  All materials submitted will be treated as confidential and proprietary.

Getting your mosquito service a national certification is a major differentiator for your company and will instill greater confidence in current and future customers.  To learn more about the program and requirements, visit:

Good luck and be sure to address all the requirements!

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services and blogs frequently on mosquitoes. In addition to his social media content you can find his blog archives here:

Mosquito Service Certification – Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:



Mosquito Season Arbovirus Update

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In this 2020 mosquito season arbovirus update learn about the need to remain vigilant.

As Fall arrives in much of the United States and cooler temperatures prevail, there may be a tendency to minimize the threat posed by mosquitoes when in fact the opposite is true.  Several arthropod-borne viruses (known as ‘arboviruses’) transmitted by mosquitoes are still active. And the threat will continue until the first hard frost hits your area.

Mosquito Season Arbovirus Update - Map

2020 Arbovirus Update

At the time of this writing, there have been 49 cases of West Nile disease in humans in Miami, Florida.  Similarly, 26 cases of dengue fever in the upper Florida Keys.  Additionally, there have been 5 human cases of Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE), 4 in Massachusetts and 1 in Wisconsin. Two human cases of Jamestown Canyon virus have been reported in New Hampshire. Finally, there has been a death from St. Louis encephalitis in California.

The current COVID-19 mayhem has impacted our national ability to monitor for mosquito-transmitted viruses.  Many surveillance programs, particularly at the state health department level, have been compromised as personnel, resources and funding have been redirected (and justifiably so) toward the pandemic response.  Additionally, practices such as social distancing and self-quarantining have reduced bodies in the workplace, where folks would be testing mosquito pools for viruses, as well as on the road, where folks would normally be out collecting the mosquitoes for testing or just doing mosquito control.  Overall, this has somewhat reduced the normal amount of information and knowledge we would have regarding the risk of mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Therefore, CAPT Stan implores you to not let your guard down as the seasons start to change.  Please follow CDC’s guidelines at the link below to help protect you and your family.  Thank you.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services and blogs frequently on mosquitoes. In addition to his social media content you can find his blog archives here:

Mosquito Season Arbovirus Update – Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:

Tips for Retaining Mosquito Customers

By | Mosquitoes, Pest Business, Tips & Inspirations | No Comments

Keep your business strong through the end of the season with these 6 tips for retaining mosquito customers. As summer winds down and cooler temperatures arrive, your customers may not see as many mosquitoes and decide ‘hey, let’s save a few bucks and cancel that last mosquito service or two’.  This is a bad idea for a number of reasons and you and your team need to be able to explain why or you may lose revenue.

6 Tips for Retaining Mosquito Customers - Life Cycle

As the daylight grows shorter, mosquitoes prepare to enter something called ‘diapause’.  It is a very complicated and chemically sophisticated biological process.  Think of it as a resting stage, triggered by the environment, when bodily functions are shut down or greatly reduced.  They don’t quite go to sleep but almost!  Here are some talking points and tips to discuss with your customers.

6 Tips for Retaining Mosquito Customers

  1. Diapause is a mechanism that helps mosquito populations maintain a presence in an area and spread the next season.
  2. Even if a female mosquito has entered diapause, if the weather suddenly warms up in the fall, she may become active and seek a blood meal.
  3. Human pathogens, particularly viruses such as West Nile and Eastern equine encephalomyelitis, will overwinter in diapausing mosquitoes.
  4. Killing diapausing female mosquitoes will help reduce population numbers at the start of the next season.
  5. Overwintering harborages used by mosquitoes may be different than those used during the mosquito season. Examples are under sheds; in cellars, outbuildings, and crawlspaces; window wells; vents; and animal burrows.
  6. Finally, emphasize to your customers that your end-of-season service will specifically target these potential overwintering sites.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services and blogs frequently on mosquitoes. In addition to his social media content you can find his blog archives here:

Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here:

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook:

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here:

Joe Conlon: The Man Behind the Myth Behind the Legend

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It is highly likely that many of you know Joseph M Conlon only from his role as Technical Advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association, a job he held for 20 years and retired from June 30th of this year. Others have known and loved Joe for his many outstanding presentations at our meetings, for his sense of humor, for his dedication to our profession and much more. But how did Joe get to where he is today? What and who influenced him? What chances did he take and what decisions did he make that resulted in such a successful career? And what were some of the more interesting, entertaining or instructional events along the way? Let’s take a look and see what we can learn from his experiences.

Joe was born and raised just south of Cleveland, Ohio, where his family lived on a 2.5 acre lot surrounded on three sides by miles of woodlands. He was the third of four boys and had no sisters. As a youngster, he loved spending time outdoors – and his parents probably loved it too! – flipping over rocks and logs to see what secrets they might reveal. This was the genesis of his interest in insects and other creatures.


Joe Conlon - Army 1
Army Specialist 4 Joe Conlon official photo, after being named Third Corps and Fort Hood Soldier of the Year in 1975. The Meritorious Service Medal was awarded later for service during Operation New Life at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.

After high school, Joe enrolled at the University of Dayton, which didn’t agree with him, so he decided to look elsewhere. He needed money and his best friend had joined the Army a year earlier, so Joe sold his car and most of his clothes and presented himself at the enlistment center. He intended to be a Psychology Specialist, but fate intervened, as the Army schools for that MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) wouldn’t open for 6 months. Still committed to signing up, Joe then perused a book describing various MOSs and the words ‘Preventive Medicine Specialist’ caught his eye, the duties of which included knowledge of snakes and insects. ‘Sign me up!’ This was 1974.

After completing Basic Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Joe attended Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. At his permanent duty station in Fort Hood, Texas, Joe was assigned to the Division Surgeon’s Office of the Second Armored Division – the famed “Hell on Wheels.” In 1975, as an E-4 (Junior Enlisted Army Specialist), he was designated the Chief Preventive Medicine NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) of a field hospital deployed to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas to support the relocation of 50,000 Vietnamese refugees. He was in charge of all base preventive medicine activities and had 7 senior enlisted working for him – quite a responsibility for someone so junior in rank!

Joe’s performance led to being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) by Major General George Patton IV, the son of THE General Patton, who when presenting said to Joe, “You must have done something very special, son. I’ve never awarded one of these to any enlisted less than an E-8.”  Joe was the most junior person in the entire Department of Defense awarded the MSM that year and was also designated the ‘Soldier of the Year’ for the Fifth Army.

Joe Conlon - Image 2
SP4 Conlon (on right) receiving watch for being named Second Armored Division Soldier of the Year in 1975.

Joe Conlon - Image 3
Check received for being named Third Corps and Fort Hood Soldier of the Year in 1975. Upon being named 5th Army Soldier of the Year, Conlon received an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii to attend the opening of the Hale Koa armed services resort on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu in 1975.


After discharge from the Army, Joe attended Cleveland State University as an Environmental Health Major, taking courses that would easily transfer. While visiting Bowling Green State University, Joe stopped into the Biology Department and noticed they had a BS degree program in Parasitology and Medical Entomology. He signed up and completed the degree requirements in 1.5 years, then enrolled in the Master of Science program in the same department.

Joe’s epiphany came when he participated in a symposium on ‘How Insects Have Affected Human History.’ He was assigned to present a 10-page paper on Epidemic Typhus but instead drafted a 67-page treatise! He was hooked.

During graduate school, Joe served as Director for Wood County (Ohio) mosquito control services. Oh, and he was also the only employee! I wonder how the weekly staff meetings went.  Appropriately, this county is named for Captain Eleazer Derby Wood, US Army, who served alongside General William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812. Joe’s tools of the trade were a truck, scooter, Flit-MLO (a refined petroleum oil used as a larvicide and pupacide), pyrethrum Tossits and ULV malathion. Finding a huge number of Aedes vexans larvae in a grassland pool, nuking them, and watching them succumb endeared Joe to mosquito control for life.


After finishing his master’s degree, Joe hoped to continue his education with a famous acarologist at the National University of Ireland – he really just wanted to play the Irish golf courses! – but that did not work out. And what good fortune for the United States Navy! In the meantime, his wife Diane was doing some virology research. Her major professor was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves and in the course of conversation, the professor asked Joe if he had thought about becoming a military entomologist. Joe knew nothing about this potential career field.

He went to see the military recruiter in Bowling Green, who happened to be from the Navy. There was no Army recruiter in the office. His academic record was impeccable, his prior Army performance was sterling, he knew how to kill six-legged things and he needed a job. “Sign right here, Son!” And the rest, as they say, is history. Among many other things, Joe’s Navy experience emphasized for him the profound effects that mosquito-borne disease has on populations and economies around the globe.

Joe Conlon - Image 4
Lieutenant Junior Grade (o-2) Joe Conlon graduates from Naval Education and Training Command, Newport, Rhode Island, 1982.

That is a brief look at Joe’s beginnings and career track. More importantly, let’s now examine how and when he developed some of the many skills and abilities that have served him so well.


Joe’s sense of humor is, well, unique! His jokes and folksy expressions – none of which can be told here – are funny, no matter how many times you hear them. This great gift came from Joe’s father, Francis Patrick Conlon (known as ‘Red’), who hailed from a small village in County Fermanagh, Ireland. Joe learned early on in his career the value of lacing his training sessions and public speaking with humor, but more on that later.

Joe’s grandmother, who spoke with a thick Irish brogue, was an indentured servant in Northern Ireland and, according to Joe, ‘hilarious.’ She had a wealth of Irish sayings including this one: “You’ll get nothin’ the sooner for waitin’ awhile.” Right! I agree completely! Joe claims that this phrase actually makes sense, which is worrisome in itself.

And if you have never heard Joe sing ‘Danny Boy,’ your life experiences are incomplete. This is not surprising, as Joe’s father, an Irish tenor, sang on northern Ohio radio. At the tender age of 8, Joe performed as a soloist at his church for weddings and funerals, earning a few extra bucks. He did that until he was 14. Wow! Oh, also at age 8, he appeared on Romper Room to sing ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady. So, early and often, Joe was performing in public, growing more and more comfortable in the limelight.


Joe’s writing skills are second to none, and his command of the English language is impeccable. This did not come easily, however. As a sophomore at St Ignatius High School in Cleveland, he was required to write a 125-page, double-spaced term paper on ‘My Philosophy of Life!’ Yep – 125 pages!  According to Joe, the Jesuits were big on writing skills. No kidding!

The first paper Joe wrote in graduate school was returned in a sea of red ink by his major professor, Dr C Lee Rockett (known as ‘The Rockettman’) which left Joe crushed. At St Ignatius, he had developed a rather florid writing style – wouldn’t this be necessary to fill 125 pages? – but The Rockettman would have none of it! Joe took this mentoring to heart and benefitted from it, requiring no edits on his master’s thesis, ‘The Ecology of the American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variablis (Say) in Northwest Ohio.’ Thank goodness he saw the light for mosquitoes! One regret of Joe’s: “Sometimes I wished I would have attained my doctorate, as it would have lent more credibility to my work as the face of the AMCA, but my heart wasn’t into research.”

He learned to get right to the key points, which served him well in his military career as well as during his tenure with AMCA. Just take a look at the many Position Papers, especially those for AMCA’s legislative efforts, that he has written over the years: powerful, succinct, highly readable and each no more than one page – which is the key to getting them read by busy Congressional staffers.


Joe is one of the best public speakers you will ever hear. Period. Whether it is a technical presentation, a scientific oratory, a fascinating historical piece or a roast of AMCA’s Board of Directors, you can be sure Joe’s recipe will contain a base alloy of excellent content sprinkled with poignant stories, lessons learned and excellent slides, with humor folded in throughout.

But again, this skill did not come easily; it developed slowly over time through a series of experiences. While delivering a “boring” paper on his Master’s research at the Ohio Mosquito Control Association meeting, his first professional presentation, Joe, who admitted he was scared, looked up to see The Rockettman standing at the back of the room, feverishly slashing across his throat – the universal sign for ‘stop talking NOW!’ Joe kept right on talking, rambling incessantly. Many of us have had similar experiences.

Under what circumstances did Joe become the excellent speaker that he is today?

As a Medical Entomologist in the US Navy, Joe taught many classes on insects and their biology and control. These were often given to civilian pest control personnel who may have 25 years of experience or more, so you had better be able to entertain them or you will never educate them. Joe learned how to do that. Dr Andy Beck, a civilian training instructor for the Navy, taught Joe, and many other young Navy entomologists, “Don’t tell them what you know, tell them what they need to know.” That 13-word piece of advice has been Joe’s speaking creed ever since.

He attended many, many meetings and studied the speakers and presentations intently. Joe noted the positives and negatives, emulating the former and avoiding the latter in his own talks. That strategy seems to have worked out pretty well. Before Joe really became comfortable speaking at meetings, one of his fellow entomologists, who recognized his ability, would sign him up to speak without asking him first. This demonstrates, again, the old adage that sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission!

The defining public speaking event for Joe – at the AMCA 1992 annual meeting in Corpus Christi – was when he first gave his legendary talk on his experiences while deployed to the Middle East for Operations Desert Shield/Storm. In one of the most memorable moments of his professional career, professor of microbiology “Harvey Scudder told me that my presentation on Desert Shield … was the best talk he had ever heard.” The presentation was wildly successful, so much so that speaking requests poured in after that.

Sometimes at meetings, Joe would literally squirm in his seat if a speaker was violating any of ‘Conlon’s Tenets of Public Speaking.’ And this happens quite often. So, what did he do? He put together a great talk on ‘How NOT to Give A Presentation,’ and it was a highly educational and humorous effort. And in 2006 he published the information in Wing Beats:

The confidence that Joe gained from these and subsequent speaking events gave him the panache, aplomb, and ability to speak without fear, on radio and television as well as testify before the United States Congress. It also helped that he was always prepared and knew going in that he was the expert.


Joe Conlon - Image 5
Joe Conlon in the desert outside of Jubail, Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield in, 1990.

It may surprise you to know that Joe is a venomous animal expert of some repute. In 1976 while in the Army, he moonlighted at a serpentarium in San Marcos, Texas where on one occasion, he rescued a mother and her two children from a highly venomous snake known as the Cape cobra (Naja nivea) of near record length for the species. The creature somehow had escaped from its enclosure and had the family trapped in a corner of the viewing room! Holy reptiles, Batman! Joe sprang into action and during the fracas, suffered a near-fatal bite that required hospitalization, during which he had to be revived three times. For his actions, he was nominated for the Carnegie Medal for Heroism – the highest honor for civilian heroism in the United States and Canada. Not surprisingly, Joe declined the honor. Understandably, this incident had a lasting impact, as it demonstrated the power of Nature and imbued in Joe an appreciation for potentially lethal creatures that remains to this day.

About fifteen years later during Joe’s Navy career, he was sent to Operation Desert Shield (Google it, youngsters!) to provide, as Joe refers to it, “venomous critter oversight.” The US forces had heard tall tales about the snakes, camel spiders and ticks found in the Middle East, and there was much apprehension. Joe’s presence eased the angst to a great degree – and gained him material for one of the great presentations of all time – as he provided classes on venomous snakes and arthropods throughout the theater. In addition, because of his language skills, he translated a key to the scorpions of Saudi Arabia from the original French.

And resourceful? Joe’s middle name (not really!). No cameras were allowed many of the places Joe went, so he improvised by using a Kodak Instamatic camera that he clandestinely secured in his armpit whilst snapping away. Hey, come on! He needed the photos for his future presentations. As far as we know, the integrity and security of the mission was not compromised. The lesson here? Broaden your skill set and you will have many more opportunities in your professional career. Adventure awaits!


By his own admission, Joe has no business being alive. During his tenure in the Navy, he was involved in two helicopter crashes, both of which should have been fatal. By the way, remember that helicopters don’t really fly – they just beat the air into submission!

The first accident was in the African country of Gabon while he was on a site survey for a field hospital. The aircraft fell onto a hut, the fuel tank ruptured, and two residents lost their lives, but no one on the aircraft was injured. Remarkably, one of the passengers, a pilot who worked for the US embassy in Zaire, turned out years later to be a teacher of Joe and Diane’s son, Brian, in elementary school in Fleming Island, Florida. And no, I am not clever enough to make that up.

The second episode occurred in Maracay, Venezuela during a high-visibility effort by the US Navy to assist in controlling a dengue fever outbreak. High viz, you say? It was coordinated through the US Department of State and during the effort, Joe met the President of Venezuela and flew on a helicopter with his two daughters. Anyway, due to a series of circumstances, another helicopter on which he was conducting adulticiding literally slammed into a powerline, with the impact shattering the windshield and sending the wounded bird autorotating down, where it landed harshly into the parking lot of a supermarket on a Friday evening. All on board should have perished but it wasn’t the time for Joe or the others. He was taken to a local clinic to have a small piece of plexiglass from the imploded windshield removed from his eye.

Experiences such as this change your whole perspective on life. I should know: I was in the second accident with Joe!


Joe Conlon - Image 6
Joe Conlon at his desk in his home office in 2003.

As with many of us I suppose, some of Joe’s success was pure serendipity but most of it was built on a broad platform of keen interest, varied experiences and the ability to learn from mentoring, mistakes and misgivings. What really jumps out is that he worked hard, followed his passion, and didn’t give up: a recipe for success!

Joe Conlon - Image 7
Joe Conlon wearing a Vitamin B-12 patch, being fed upon by mosquitoes during a “Today Show” shoot at the USDA laboratories in Gainesville, Florida in 2008. Dr. Ulrich Bernier is in the background, in addition to “Today Show” reporter Janice Lieberman.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services, learn more about him here:

This article has been published with permission from Wing Beats Magazine

Mosquito Battles – Final Feed Mosquito Bait

By | Mosquitoes, Pest Business, Pestimonials, Tips & Inspirations, Trapping Tips | No Comments

Saving the Schools

In this version of Pest Management Professional’s Mosquito Battles series, Anaheim Union High School District’s Rich Kravetz controls the growing mosquito population in Southern California with Final Feed Mosquito Bait.

Anaheim, California was hit by more than just a heat wave in the spring of 2019. A new species of mosquito was flying about the city, darkening the normally sunny skies.  This mosquito – known as the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) was targeting high population areas with tall trees and thick bushes, such as the Anaheim Union High School District.

Mosquito Battles - Kravetz

Rich Kravetz, an integrated pest management (IPM) technician for the school district, knows the importance of protecting schools from Asian tiger mosquitoes, a known carrier of West Nile virus and other illnesses. Kravetz is no newbie to the pest management profession – hit father has owned a pest control business for the last 50 years. Because of his background, Kravetz understands how much of an impact one product can have on the mosquito population.

Kravetz began using Catchmasters’ Final Feed Mosquito Bait in 2019, and has seen a huge impact across all 22 locations of the Anaheim Union High School District.

“We had a cloud of mosquitoes over Orange County and Southern California, so we were just looking for something to help alleviate or lessen the frustration with them,” says Kravetz, “We started using it in May, and we are already seeing huge results.”

Mosquito Battles - Final Feed

Kravetz has tried multiple different tactics to try to lessen the severity of the Asian tiger mosquito population around the schools, but has found that not much works to effectively rid the area of the pest – except for Final Feed.

“The product goes right on the shady bushes where the mosquitoes hang out, so the sweet draws them in and the garlic kills them,” he explains.

The non-toxic formula used in Final Feed makes it ideal to use around children, utilizing natural fruit juices to bait the mosquitoes and garlic to starve them. When paired with Catchmaster’s Ovi-Catch Mosquito Trap, Kravetz says, the combination makes for the ideal mosquito solution for schoolyards.

Mosquito Battles - Ovi-Catch

Showing results with the product is also easy, according to Kravetz. Every female mosquito killed by Final Feed or caught by Ovi-Catch mosquito trap eliminates up to 1,000 future mosquitoes. The best part of using Final Feed around the schools for Kravetz is being able to communicate with the students, staff and parents that the IPM technicians are doing something that will have results. Kravetz recalls it having the most impact on a special needs school in the district.

Kravetz sprayed the property with Final Feed, and saw positive results almost immediately. Final Feed helps to control the mosquitoes, resulting in smaller populations. This allowed the children to spend more time outside with less of a risk to get bites from the daytime-feeding species.

Mosquito Battles - Garlic

“Anything I can do for them means a lot,” Kravetz says, “They’re so appreciative. When you get a smile from the kids playing outside – that’s real.”

A little goes a long way with Final Feed, so Kravetz is able to spray more sparingly and still impact the mosquito population at the school.

“I can’t recommend this enough,” Kravetz says of Ovi-Catch, “The buckets are out of sight from the kids and families.” Meanwhile, of Final Feed he says, “The smell is nice. It’s really a great product to have.”

Mosquito Battles – Additional Resources

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