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Captain Stan Cope Archives - Catchmaster Pro

Tips for Retaining Mosquito Customers

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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: https://catchmasterpro.com/?s=captain+stan

Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here: https://catchmasterpro.com/mosquito-management-program/

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catchmasterPRO/

Discover our full line of Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:  https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

Joe Conlon: The Man Behind the Myth Behind the Legend

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INTRODUCTION

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.

‘YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW’ AND SO WAS SERENDIPITY

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.

GRADUATE SCHOOL: THE LIGHT COMES ON

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.

AND THEN…THE NAVY: SERENDIPITY, THE SEQUEL

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.

SENSE OF HUMOR AND SINGING VOICE

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.

WRITING SKILLS

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.

PUBLIC SPEAKING

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: http://www.nmca.org/conlonwingbeats.pdf.

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.

VENOMOUS ANIMALS 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!

NEAR MISSES

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!

BRINGING IT ALL HOME

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: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/stan-cope-phd/

This article has been published with permission from Wing Beats Magazine https://www.floridamosquito.org/Public/FMCA_Publications/Wing_Beats.aspx

Mosquito Control Inspections – Top Overlooked Breeding Sites

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

When it comes to mosquito control inspections are important. The key to a successful mosquito service is a thorough inspection, done on each visit to the customer’s property.  If all mosquito breeding sites are not identified and either eliminated or treated, your customers will not be happy and you will waste time and money on callbacks.

Mosquito Control Inspections - Top Breeding Sites

The ‘usual suspects’ for mosquito breeding include bird baths, buckets, kiddie pools, kids’ toys, discarded trash, used tires, etc.; basically, anything that will hold water from bottle caps to an abandoned swimming pool.  However, some breeding sites may be ‘cryptic’, that is, hidden or not very obvious.  Let’s take a look at some of them:

Mosquito Control Inspections – Top 9 Overlooked Spots

  1. Water-holding plants, such as bromeliads – it is not likely these can or will be removed but they can be treated with a larvicide.
  2. In-ground drains – ask if the customer has an irrigation system that utilizes in-ground drains. These often hold water and a high content of organic matter, perfect for foul water-loving mosquitoes such as the Northern and Southern house mosquitoes. 
  3. Corrugated plastic tubes – these are often attached to downspouts to pull water away from structures. The ends usually curl up and hold just enough water to cause trouble!
  4. Large piles of leaves – adult mosquitoes will rest in damp piles of leaves, and some leaves are large enough to hold water.
  5. Clogged gutters – some folks have full-blown botanical gardens growing in their gutters!
  6. Treeholes – remember to look up! A large treehole can hold lots of water, and many species of mosquitoes will breed here.
  7. Abandoned rodent bait boxes – these can hold water and are like the Ritz-Carlton to mosquitoes!
  8. Drainage saucers under potted plants – recommend that your customers set their pots on bamboo sticks or rocks to increase the drainage. Drainage saucers are breeding heaven, especially for the Asian tiger mosquito and yellow fever mosquito.
  9. Tarps – these always sag, collect water and organic debris, resulting in a ‘Mosquito Motel’!

The presence of mosquitoes on a property means a majority of species are breeding nearby. As a result, your mosquito control inspections are important. Keeping both the usual & unusual breeding sites in mind when on a property will give you a leg up with your customer!

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services, learn more about him here: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/stan-cope-phd/

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catchmasterPRO/

Get our Mosquito Management Guide here: https://catchmasterpro.com/mosquito-management-program/

For help with mosquito season 2020 & beyond, discover Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:  https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

In addition, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

Finally, get tips for your business by following us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ap&g-co-inc

Distribution of Mosquito Species

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The distribution of mosquito species can vary wildly by location.There are about 3,000 species of mosquitoes known in the world.  In the insect universe, this is a relatively small number compared to estimates of over 500,000 species of beetles! In North America, there are about 175 species of mosquitoes; some are quite common while others are rarely encountered.

Distribution of Mosquito Species in the US

In the United States, the number of species by state is quite variable, as shown in the map below.   Hawaii, as expected, has the fewest species with 8 while Texas and Florida lead the way with 85 and 80, respectively.  The differences are in part driven by the amount of biodiversity within each state.  The greater the biodiversity, the more types of habitats for mosquitoes are available.

Distribution of Mosquito Species - Map

So, mosquitoes are not randomly distributed across the United States nor within an individual state.  This principle also applies to the properties of your customers.  Adult mosquitoes are fragile creatures, subject to dessication (drying out) and death if exposed to harsh environmental conditions.  Therefore, they will be found primarily in areas that are widely known as Captain Stan’s ‘Big Four’.

Captain Stan’s “Big Four” Areas Where Mosquitoes are Located on a Property

  1. Cool
  2. Shaded
  3. Moist
  4. Out-of-the-Wind

If you target the Big Four for your treatments, not only will you kill the mosquitoes but you will save time, money, use less product, and better protect the environment.  Happy Hunting!

Distribution of Mosquito Species - Chart

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services, learn more about him here: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/stan-cope-phd/

Mosquito Distribution – Additional Resources

Get our free mosquito management program guide when you sign up for our e-mail list here: https://catchmasterpro.com/mosquito-management-program/

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catchmasterPRO/

For help with mosquito season 2020 & beyond, discover Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:  https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

The Untold Story of Sir Ronald Ross

By | Mosquitoes, Tips & Inspirations | No Comments

The Untold Story of Sir Ronald Ross by Stanton E Cope

It is highly likely that many of you have heard the name Ronald Ross, and perhaps you even know a bit about him. In the history section of almost any medical entomology class or textbook, we learn that Ross, a British physician of Scottish descent, is credited with the first successful demonstration of the transmission of malaria parasites (in birds), and that he was guided in his studies by Sir Patrick Manson, generally considered the Father of Tropical Medicine.

But who was this person? What did he really want to do with his life? And how did the confused son of a dominant father end up a Nobel Prize winner in a profession he avoided and loathed as a young man? Let’s find out. This article will not regurgitate all of the scientific and professional accomplishments of Ross, but instead, is intended to provide a snapshot of the unique and fascinating foundation upon which his career was built.

Ronald Ross was born in Almora, India, on the fringe of the Himalayan Mountains, on May 13, 1857. He was the eldest of 10 children of whom 9, remarkably, survived to adulthood. His father, Brigadier General Sir Campbell Clay Grant Ross, was stationed in India where the Ross Family had connections for over a century. Ross’s mother was Matilda Charlotte Elderton, of whom he wrote “like all mothers…ours was the best in the world.” Judging from his own account in his Memoirs written in 1923, Ross appears to have experienced the typical life of a British child in India.

EARLY EFFORTS AND FAILURES

In April of 1865, when he was nearly 8 years old, Ross was sent back to England for schooling. He lived with his father ’s sister and her husband, also an Army officer. For the next 9 years, Ross attended various schools, including a boarding school, where he was grounded in the classics, became proficient in mathematics, and studied drawing and music. He also indulged his interest in natural history, star ting a book “which should contain a description of every known species of animal.” He read the Bible and studied noted authors such as Pope, Milton and Shakespeare.

By age 17 (1874), Ross’s career goal s focused on being an artist or joining the Army or Navy. However, his father had other ideas for his eldest son. In Ross’s own words, “my father had set his heart upon my joining the medical profession and, finally, the Indian Medical Service, which was then well paid and possessed many good appointments….but I had no predilection at all for medicine and like most youths, felt disposed to look down upon it.”

Ross enrolled in medical school at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London after being delivered to the front door by his father personally, but his academic efforts were diluted with writing drama and poetry, composing and playing music, and teaching himself to play the piano. In 1879, after 5 years of insincere effort, Ross failed to qualify in medicine. Then, he made a fateful decision. Threatened with losing his father’s financial support to continue his medical school efforts, Ross instead took a job as a Ship’s Surgeon, something that he had qualified for while in school.

During the next two years while crisscrossing the Atlantic, he was able to study for his medical exams while engaging with a cross-section of human it y bound for a better life in the United States. At one point, he performed an above-elbow amputation without any skilled help. Ross was so moved by this whole experience that he started writing a tale called ‘The Emigrants’ but he never finished it.

MARRIAGE AND EARLY STUDIES ON MALARIA

Ross finally joined the Indian Medical Service and served in India and Burma until 1888. By this time, pay in the Service was average or below and opportunities for promotion were scarce due to a plethora of junior officers. Also, the medical work was slow so Ross had plenty of time to devote to tennis, golf, writing dramas and studying mathematics and philosophy. This was not, however, Lieutenant Ross’s ‘cup of tea,’ and depression set in. In 1888 he returned to England on furlough. His life was about to change drastically.

Ross met and married Rosa Bessie Bloxam in 1889. After a brief honeymoon in Scotland, he really began to apply himself to his chosen profession and concentrated more and more on sanitation, as he had seen first-hand its importance in India. He received a Diploma of Public Health from a newly-established curriculum in London, the first member of the Indian Medical Service to do so. Also, he took a two-month course in the fledgling discipline called ‘bacteriology.’

Ross saw 1889 as a turning point in his life. Even though he was a romantic, he did not attribute it in any way to the presence of his new bride in his life. In fact, Ross rarely mentions her in his Memoirs. Instead, writing about the years immediately before he met Rosa, he states “ for six years, I had toiled outrageously at almost everything, sparing neither body nor mind; solitary toil which I never mentioned to my friends. Now [referring to his depression in 1888] had come the reaction…I could work no more – nor even play; my ponies browsed unsaddled, my books rested unread. Then, moreover, my faith died – the greatest of all faiths, the faith in labour; and I was overcome with the horror of the cui bono. What was the use of anything?” Cui bono is Latin for ‘ to whose benefit.’ The marriage produced 4 children; 2 boys and 2 girls. The eldest child, Campbell Ross, was killed in battle at age 19, shortly after the start of World War I.

With his new wife, new diploma and new training in tow, Ross returned to India with renewed enthusiasm, and he dove right in. He took with him several bacterial cultures and he began to study mosquitoes. One of Ross’s weaknesses, however, was his ignorance of the published literature. In 1880, a French Army physician named Alphonse Laveran first observed malaria parasites in human blood, and his discovery was widely known.

Strangely, Ross soon began to preach on two themes regarding malaria: (1) that the vast majority of supposed malarial fevers were really intestinal in origin (referred to by Ross as ‘intestinal auto-intoxication’); and (2) that Laveran’s so-called ‘parasites’ were really nothing more than blood cells misshapen by faulty techniques used to examine them! This was quite a brash statement from one who only recently became relatively proficient at microscopy.

The year 1894 arrived, and with it a year’s furlough to London for Ross, his wife, and two daughters. On April 10th, Ross met Sir Patrick Manson. It was the beginning of a relationship in science and friendship that both men needed and from which the world benefitted. Manson’s contributions to Ross’s efforts may be summarized as follows:

First, he convinced Ross of the correctness of Laveran’s observations, even showing him malaria parasites on several occasions. Second, he spoke with Ross many times about his theory that malaria parasites were somehow transmit ted by mosquitoes. Third, and most importantly, through an extensive and well-preserved series of letters between the men, which in their own right are a literary epic, he helped to sustain, guide and challenge Ross through more than three years of frustrations, discoveries and difficult conditions in India.

Manson harnessed Ross’s unique talents, curiosity and insatiable appetite for work to a significant purpose, and kept him focused on the ‘main thing.’ Also, he knew that others were close to revealing the secrets of malaria transmission, and he pushed Ross to succeed, and soon. The following quotation from one of Manson’s letters illustrates this nicely:

“I was terribly disappointed for I thought you had fallen sick, or that you had got a check, or that you had given up the quest. Above every thing, don’ t give it up. Look on it as a Holy Grail and yourself as Sir Galahad, for be assured you are on the right track. The malaria germ does not go into the mosquito for nothing, for fun or for the confusion of the pathologist. It has no notion of a practical joke. It is there for a purpose, and that purpose, depend upon it, is its own interests – germs are selfish brutes.”

THE GREAT DISCOVERY AND THE NOBEL PRIZE

After leaving Manson and returning to India, Ross began his quest with a handicap that would have easily overtaken a lesser man – ignorance of almost everything he needed to know! As previously mentioned, he had taken a short course in bacteriology. He was self-taught in microscopy and did not know the literature so he was unaware of a new staining procedure that would have likely saved him hundreds of hours. As serious as these deficiencies were, they were trivial compared to his total lack of knowledge concerning mosquitoes!

His task was simply stated – to study Plasmodium, not in humans, but in mosquitoes – but incredibly complicated, and he encountered almost every possible obstacle. His major contributions over the next three years may be summarized as follows:

First, he demonstrated that volunteers who drank water contaminated with infected mosquito adults and larvae failed to contract malaria. Second, on August 20, 1897 he observed developing human malaria parasites and their characteristic black pigment in the stomach wall of Anopheles mosquitoes, which he cal led “dapple-winged.” For years after, Ross referred to this date as ‘Mosquito Day.’ The third and most significant contribution made by Ross came about courtesy of the British Army, for about one month after Mosquito Day, he received orders to an area where there was no human malaria. Ross was incredibly disappointed and frustrated by this at first. Some months later, however, this ever-resourceful scientist was able to demonstrate the full avian malaria life cycle using sparrows and Culex mosquitoes.

Ross’s experimental career ended in 1899 when he retired from the Indian Medical Service, perhaps so that he would not have to be away from his daughters, who likely would have been sent back to England for schooling. I shall have more to say about this later.

Ross was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1901, but he did not win. He was nominated again in 1902, and it was suggested by some that he share the award with Laveran, but Laveran did not receive his Nobel Prize until 1907. Ross was one of 42 well-qualified candidates, a list that was pared to 3 finalists. They were Ross, Pavlov of ‘Pavlovian response’ fame, and Niels Finsen, who worked on phototherapy of tuberculosis. Ross won, and his monetary award amounted to 141,846 Swedish crowns, then equivalent to about 7,880 pounds sterling, which was a considerable sum in 1902. Ross received his Nobel Prize on December 10, 1902, in Stockholm from the King of Sweden, Oscar the 2nd.

ROSS vs GRASSI

I would like to briefly examine the rift (to put it mildly) that developed between Ross and the Italian investigators, particularly Giovanni Battista Grassi. The Italians began work on transmission of human malaria in the middle of July 1898. By this time, Ross’s proof was complete and partly published. The Italians were well aware of what he had done and they knew that two main tasks remained: (1) demonstrate that the parasite of human malaria had a cycle in the mosquito similar to what Ross had shown; and (2) identify the mosquito that transmits human malaria parasites.

Essentially, the Italians followed Ross’s exact line of investigation, but used Anopheles mosquitoes and human parasites. When their work was published, Ross was stung to anger as he felt he was not given adequate credit. And in my opinion, he was right. But once the quarrel escalated, the simple truths were cloaked and twisted by pas s ion and jealousy. Here is the essence of the turmoil: 1) Ross might have completed his proof with human malaria, but he did not – the Italians did. 2) Ross speculated that the “dapple-winged” mosquito probably was the culprit – the Italians proved it. 3) Ross was the first to demonstrate the entire life cycle of the malaria parasite. 4) Ross is not entitled to the whole credit for the whole proof because he did not finish it in humans.

To quote Gordon Harrison from his book ‘Mosquitoes, Malaria and Man,’ “…it makes no sense or justice to couple the names of Ross and Grassi together as co-discoverers – as is often done – without noting the very large difference between the explorer at the helm and those who rode his decks and helped make a landing.”

Space does not permit us to examine the last 30 years of Ross’s life, but here are some of the highlights. After retirement, he returned to England and became a lecturer at the new school for tropical medicine at Liverpool, where he championed tropical medicine education in Britain. He later held the Chair in Tropical Medicine. In 1911, he was knighted, and in 1912, he moved to London to take up a consulting practice.

Much of the rest of his life was concerned with public health programs against malaria. His efforts to improve public health in general were unending. He traveled extensively to undertake malaria prevention campaigns, and during World War I he was appointed consultant in malaria to the War Office. His abrasive personality of ten got in the way of progress, however. In 1926, the Ross Institute of Tropical Hygiene was opened. The aim was to promote research on tropical medicine and to stimulate control measures for malaria. Ross was its first director, and remained so until his death.

Sir Ronald Ross passed away on September 16, 1932, at the age of 75. The cause of death was listed as “ illness.” Imagine that! He outlived all 6 of his younger brothers and one of his 3 sisters. Lady Ross died from heart disease almost one year before her husband. Ronald did not attend her funeral, as he was likely distraught and definitely very feeble, having suffered a stroke. Sir Ronald and Lady Ross were inter red in Putney Vale cemetery in southwest London.

SUMMING UP

So how should the world remember Ronald Ross? How should we, in the mosquito control profession and field of public health, think of him? The answer, although complicated, is clear in my opinion. He was a dedicated, highly intelligent scientist who made great discoveries. He was a renaissance man, for sure, schooled in the arts and music. He was passionate, inquisitive, and romantic. He could be cantankerous and difficult with friends and others, without a doubt. Even his relationship with Manson cooled over the years, in par t due to Ross ’s feud with Grassi.

Rightly so, he fiercely defended his character and scientific achievements. Despite receiving many awards and honors during his life, he felt embittered that he did not receive monetary reward from his country for his malaria work and he petitioned the British government on this subject and on behalf of other scientists. He wrote three novels, numerous poems, dramas and other literary works. He was a mathematician, a musician, and he loved nature. He was an epidemiologist and sanitarian. Sir Ronald Ross found his professional niche later in life, and once comfortable there, he excelled in his work and sought affirmation of what he had accomplished. Likely, we would all do the same under similar circumstances. I would like to end with the poem that Sir Ronald drafted on Mosquito Day, and finalized a few days later, after realizing the importance of what he had just seen under the microscope:

This day relenting God Hath placed within my hand A wondrous thing; and God Be praised. At His command, Seeking His secret deeds With tears and toiling breath, I find thy cunning seeds, O million-murdering Death. I know this little thing A myriad men will save. O Death, where is thy sting, Thy victory, O Grave!

REFERENCES

Harrison, G. 1978. Mosquitoes, Malaria and Man: A History of the Hostilities Since 1880. EP Dutton, New York. 314 pp.

Ross, R. 1923. Memoirs: with a Full Account of the Great Malaria Problem and its Solution. John Murray, London. 547 pp.

All quotations are taken from this book except where noted.

Disclaimer: The views contained herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the Department of the Navy.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I thank Dr Graham White for providing much of the background literature and FB for encouragement in completion of the manuscript.

Mosquito Feeding – Different Hosts and Different Times

By | Mosquitoes, Tips & Inspirations | No Comments

Mosquito Feeding Schedule

Knowing the mosquito feeding schedule of the pests on a property can inform your IPM plan.  There are about 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, with about 175 in North America.  What do all these mosquitoes feed on, and when do they feed?  Let’s take a look.

Mosquito Feeding - Bite Graphic

6 Mosquito Feeding Fun Facts

  1. Most species never bite people. They prefer instead to feed on large mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.  One type of mosquito feeds on earthworms and leeches!
  2. One species, the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, takes >95% of its blood meals from humans. This is part of the reason why it is such an efficient vector of several viruses including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, Zika and Mayaro.
  3. Mosquitoes such as the Northern house mosquito Culex pipiens, will feed on birds and humans so they are dangerous vectors of some viruses such as West Nile virus, which is normally maintained in birds.
  4. Only female mosquitoes bite, as they require blood to produce eggs. However, both male and female mosquitoes require multiple sugar meals per day for energy.  They usually get these meals from plants.
  5. The majority of species bite during the early evening and at night. However, some of the most vicious biters and most efficient disease vectors, including the Asian tiger mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito, bite mostly during the daytime.
  6. PMPs should always ask their customers what time of the day they are being bitten. This information can drive appropriate control efforts and save time and money.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services, learn more about him here: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/stan-cope-phd/

Additional Resources

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For help with mosquito season 2020 & beyond, discover Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:  https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

Catchmaster Pestimonial – Sentry Pest Solutions

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Catchmaster Pestimonial – Sentry Pest Solutions

In this edition of our Catchmaster Pestimonial series, an Illinois PMP provides environmentally sensitive mosquito control service to a   client base devoted to “green” principles.

A More Natural Approach to Pest Control

Daniel Genty, owner of Sentry Pest Solutions, a one-man pest control operation serving the upscale communities of Homer Glen and New Lenox, Ill., a pastoral region 40 miles west of Chicago, had a specific vision for his business when he opened the doors in 2019.

“I wanted to bring a safer, more natural approach to pest control,” he said. “A lot of customers out here are affluent and they’re concerned about the environment. They don’t mind spending a few extra dollars for an IPM program or all-natural products that will protect the environment.”

The Village of Homer Glen is so committed to preserving its unique rural character and pursuing a “green vision” that its official website features the tagline, “Community and Nature … in Harmony.” The 23-square-mile village, which 25,000 people proudly call home, features ample green space, along with numerous wetlands and floodplains, attractive habitats for mosquito breeding, which can be a major problem for residents throughout the spring and summer.

Solutions for Accounts that Require Special Attention

Catchmaster Pestimonial - Dan Genty

“Last year I had a number of problem properties requiring special attention since they backed up to wetlands or forested areas with heavy mosquito pressure,” Genty observed. “These were absolute nightmare jobs,” he added, with residents and pets being eaten alive by mosquitoes when they ventured outside in the early evening.

Despite the detrimental impact on the quality of life of community members, residents still demanded an environmentally sensitive approach to their mosquito problems. “These were dream customers you don’t want to lose, so I was honest with them,” Genty said. “I told them I have this new product (Final FeedTM from Catchmaster®) and I don’t know how well it will work, but if you’re willing to give it a try I’ll do the best I can to solve your problem.”

Genty, 39, learned about Final Feed Mosquito Bait from his Catchmaster sales representative, but he had never tried the product until last summer. Final Feed features a proprietary, dual-action formula that includes natural fruit juices that attract hungry mosquitoes, combined with a lethal dose of microencapsulated garlic (0.4%).

Genty was intrigued by the product because it is classified as a 25b minimum-risk pesticide by the EPA, an important attribute for his environmentally conscious customer base. Backed by peer-reviewed published science, Final Feed is applied to non-flowering plants and mosquito resting sites as a residual spray, using their feeding behavior against them.

Captain Stan (aka the Mosquito Man) & Final Feed

“Both male and female mosquitoes require multiple sugar meals each day for energy and survival,” observes Dr. Stan Cope, vice president of technical products and services for AP&G, manufacturer of the Catchmaster line of products. “They acquire these sugar meals from plants.”

The unique, non-toxic formulation suppresses blood feeding and collapses mosquito populations by more than 90% in two to three weeks. “The exact mode of action is unknown, but after ingestion, the majority of the mosquitoes die within one or two days,” Cope said. “Further, after ingesting the garlic, female mosquitoes lose their appetite for blood,” resulting in a dramatic decline in biting activity, critical to the success of any mosquito management program.

Catchmaster Pestimonial - Final Feed

Mosquito Problems

In Genty’s first “problem account,” a single-family home in close proximity to a landscape business with two large ponds, mosquito pressure was high, making it difficult for the homeowners to venture outside after dusk. Genty treated the property with Final Feed, spraying non-flowering plants with the bait. Upon calling the homeowner three days later, “She said her family was in the backyard the day after the treatment and they didn’t get bitten once,” according to Genty, and the treatment lasted 60 days.

A second property, which bordered a nearby tree line, proved equally as problematic. “There were some woods and a pretty decent-sized creek that went through the property,” Genty recalls, “but Final Feed performed the same. The customer was thrilled with the results.”

Genty acknowledges the product has a slight garlic odor, “but it’s not a bad smell and I haven’t received any complaints from customers.” It comes packaged in four pouches per case and has a shelf life of two years. No special storage requirements are necessary.

“I’ve been very pleased with the product and am looking forward to using it again this coming mosquito season,” Genty said.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services.  He is proud to be a part of this Catchmaster Pestimonial.  Learn more about him here: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/stan-cope-phd/

From Technician to Owner

Daniel Genty, owner of Sentry Pest Solutions, didn’t intend to pursue a career in the pest control industry. He started working in the industrial engineering field, before an unexpected layoff prompted him to consider other career options.

“A gentleman who provided pest control services to my mom’s work said his company was hiring technicians,” Genty recalls. “I applied for a job, was hired, and absolutely fell in love with the industry. What I liked about the industry is my customers were happy to see the bug guy because I was actually solving peoples’ problems.”

After being called back to his engineering job, Genty began to miss his daily interactions with customers in the field, finding himself increasingly bored sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day. “I realized I missed it,” he said, so Genty did the necessary research and secured the required certifications to launch Sentry Pest Solutions in 2019.

“I’ve been working on my own a year now and absolutely love it!”

Catchmaster Pestimonial – Additional Resources

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Sign up for our mailing list here: https://catchmasterpro.com/join-email/

For help with mosquito season 2020 & beyond, discover Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:  https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Check out additional Catchmaster Pestimonials here: https://catchmasterpro.com/?s=pestimonial

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

10 Mosquito Prevention Tips for Your Yard

By | Mosquitoes, Tips & Inspirations | One Comment

Spring is in the air and the mosquitoes are sure to follow – here are 10 mosquito prevention tips to get your yard ready for mosquito season.

In short, containing the little biters comes down to eliminating some of the conditions that make your property so attractive in the first place.

Mosquito Prevention Tips - Fun Facts

10 Mosquito Prevention Tips for Your Yard

  1. Search thoroughly for and remove or cover anything that can hold water.
  2. Remove, cover or drill holes in used tires.  Drill so that water completely drains.  Do the same if you have a tire swing.
  3. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers. Ensure that lids for garbage cans are in good repair.
  4. Beware of items such as buckets, wheelbarrows and recycling containers that have a ‘lip’ when flipped over. The lip will collect water and organic matter, enough to welcome a new generation of mosquitoes in just 5-7 days.
  5. Clean clogged gutters.
  6. Check that all windows, screens and doors are tight-fitting and in good repair.
  7. Scrub birdbaths thoroughly with a brush. This will remove mosquito eggs.
  8. Cover in-ground drains with hardware cloth to prevent mosquito breeding.
  9. Fill in low-lying areas where water regularly collects and remains.
  10. Inspect and remove water from tarps or plastic used to cover items.

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Mosquito Man) is the Vice President of Technical Services for the Catchmaster brand, learn more here: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/stan-cope-phd/

Mosquito Prevention – Additional Resources

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Sign up for our mailing list here: https://catchmasterpro.com/join-email/

For help with mosquito season 2020 & beyond, discover Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:  https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

7 Kissing Bug Fun Facts

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Kissing Bugs: Romantic or a Big Misnomer?

Kissing bug sounds like a nice nickname for an insect but you may be feeling differently about these 7 fun facts from our Captain Stan.

It’s Valentines Day, and supposedly, love is in the air!  And guess what?  So are some nasty insects called ‘kissing’ bugs.  These creatures belong to the insect family Triatomidae, and they all feed exclusively on blood, including that of humans.

7 Kissing Bug Fun Facts

  1. They are found in Central and South America, as well as Mexico and the Southern   United States.  There are 11 different species in the U.S.
  2. They are responsible for transmitting a nasty disease known as Chagas disease, which is on the increase in the United States.
  3. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 8 million people have the infection in the Americas and Mexico, with up to 300,000 infections in the United States.
  4. Some of the larger kissing bugs can reach 2.5 inches in length and take as long as 20 minutes or so to ‘fill up’ on blood!
  5. Some people are highly allergic to the bite of these bugs, which can result in anaphylactic shock.
  6. Kissing bugs have the nasty habit of defecating on the host while they are feeding, and this is how the parasites that cause Chagas disease are transmitted.
  7. And finally, the name? Well, they are not called ‘kissing bugs’ because of amorous tendencies.  In fact, they generally bite people at night, when they are sleeping, and they prefer to bite on the face, around the lips.  There you have it!

Captain Stan Cope (aka the Kissing Bug Man) is our Vice President of Technical Services, learn more about him here: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/stan-cope-phd/

Kissing Bugs – Additional Resources

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Learn more about kissing bugs from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/other-pests/kissing-bugs/

 

Coronavirus and Mosquitoes

By | Mosquitoes | One Comment

Coronavirus and Mosquitoes – Do They Spread It?

The Novel Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China and has since spread rapidly, killing hundreds and sickening thousands.  This virus is newly identified and is not the same as the coronaviruses that circulate among humans and cause mild disease, such as the common cold.  Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause illness in humans while others circulate among animals such as cattle, cats, camels and bats.  SARS, a coronavirus that emerged to infect people, came from civet cats while another coronavirus, MERS, infected people from camels.

Although 2019-nCoV likely came from an animal, it now appears to be spreading person-to-person.  There is no evidence whatsoever that any coronavirus is spread by mosquito bite.  But what, exactly, is ‘person-to-person’ transmission?  This occurs mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and common colds are spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or may even be inhaled into the lungs.  Usually this happens within about 6 feet.  Also, note that some viruses are highly contagious (such as measles) while others are less so.  We still have much to learn about just how contagious 2019-nCoV is as well as many other aspects of its epidemiology.

Coronavirus and Mosquitoes - Fun Facts

Now, if a mosquito bites a person who has Zika virus in the bloodstream, that mosquito may then be able to transmit the virus to another person in about 10 days or so.  However, this is NOT considered ‘person-to-person’ transmission.  In this case, the virus is ‘vector borne’, meaning transmitted by a biting arthropod such as a mosquito or tick.

5 Facts from the CDC

  1. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses.
  2. Coronaviruses are poor survivors on exposed surfaces. Therefore, there is likely a very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.
  3. There is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection for 2019-nCoV.
  4. There is currently no vaccine for 2019-nCoV and no specific antiviral treatment.
  5. One of the most effective preventive measures is to wash your hands often, with soap, for at least 20 seconds especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

1Not only is Captain Stan The Mosquito Man, he also holds a PhD in Public Health, with emphasis in Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases.  This makes him uniquely qualified to discuss Coronavirus and mosquitoes.  Learn more about Stan here: https://catchmaster.com/introducing-captain-stan-the-mosquito-man/

2This information was adapted primarily from www.cdc.gov, the official website of the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.  The 2019-nCoV situation is changing daily so please consult this website for update.

Additional Resources

Get more content like this daily when you follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catchmasterPRO/

Sign up for our mailing list here: https://catchmasterpro.com/join-email/

For help with mosquito season 2020 & beyond, discover Catchmaster® mosquito management tools:  https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Finally, learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/