The Best in Mosquito Elimination


Grilling for Gold

Healthy grilling tips from the registered Dieticians and NutriFormance

"Healthy Grilling St. Louis"

1.  Choose LEAN cuts of meat: Using baby back pork ribs instead of beef short ribs saves 300 calories and 17 grams of saturated fat for every 6 ounces. Choose 93% lean ground beef, bison, loin cuts, fish, chicken sausage, and veggie burgers for fun alternatives to traditional burgers.

2.  Pile up the PRODUCE: grill asparagus, peppers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, beets, mushrooms, artichokes…and the list goes on.  Sprinkle a dash of olive oil and pepper to bring out the vegetables’ natural flavor.  Add a smoky twist to fruit by grilling pineapple or pears with honey for a warm dessert.

"Seasoned Grilled Steak"

3.  SPICE things up: choose spices or powders for flavor to help cut out the added salt. Also consider adding citrus juices like lemon or lime to for extra flavor and health benefits.

4.  Get proper grilling TOOLS: soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes before grilling for creative meat and veggie kebob combinations.  This will keep wood skewers from burning.  Use a meat thermometer to take the guesswork out of grilling meat (beef = 145 degrees, pork = 160 degrees, lamb = 145 degrees, poultry = 165 degrees).

"Grilling Salmon on Wood Plank"

5.  Avoid CANCER causing compounds: use a wood plank to prevent direct contact between meet and grill flames (where carcinogens can form).  Grilling on a wood plank also enhances the aroma and flavor of the meat.  In addition to grilling on wood, integrating antioxidant rich vegetables, fruits, spices, olive oil, and citrus juices into the meal can also help fight these cancer-causing compounds.

Get more grilling tips in the full article by Molly Kimball, RD:                             http://www.nola.com/health/index.ssf/2012/06/5_ways_to_stick_to_a_healthy_d.html

This article is brought to you & approved by St. Louis’ Emily Bailey, RD, LD, NASM
NutriFormance and Athletic Republic
Director of Nutrition and Massage

Hidden Valley=Hidden Gem

St. Louis skiing may sound like an oxymoron to some, but head out to Hidden Valley and you’ll see that’s not the case! Located a few miles from Highway 44 near Eureka, Hidden Valley offers a day of fun for the whole family no matter what your ski level. This is one reason to enjoy St. Louis winters!

We went to Hidden Valley yesterday a few days after getting three inches of snow. We ski in Montana every Christmas, so we are used to massive mountains and lots of snow. Upon arriving my daughter said, “This reminds me of Montana.” I giggled to myself…ahhh…seeing things through the eyes of a child. Hidden Valley couldn’t have asked for a better compliment!

Lift tickets and rentals for one adult and two children were $174. Helmet rental was an additional $10 per helmet. Renting equipment was super easy with no lines. (I was warned by a friend who works at Hidden Valley to arrive right at opening because the lines at rentals can get very long). The equipment is basic, which is fine because the skiing isn’t too difficult. Be sure to bring quarters for the lockers to store your personal items while you’re skiing.

With three ski lifts and a magic carpet leading to the bunny slope, there is quick, easy access to the nine or so runs. The mountain is 300 feet high and some of the runs are surprisingly longer than I figured possible.  There are lots of beginner skiers and the typical teenagers who go faster than they should, so stay alert. HV offers private lessons and ski school for skiing and snowboarding. I highly recommend lessons if you are a beginner.

We had a blast skiing all day on black diamonds! Of course these aren’t like black diamonds out west, but now my girls can say they’ve skied black diamonds. Skiing was best on the “backside” of the mountain…not many people which means the snow wasn’t very “skied-off” exposing icy patches. I can honestly say that HV exceeded all of my expectations. We had such a pleasant day, and we can’t wait to go back. Next time the girls are excited to try the tubing at Polar Plunge and Nastar, which is a national racing program. If you’re interested in Nastar, it costs $5.00. You pay at the top before you race down, so don’t forget cash.

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun in the middle of winter, be sure to head to Hidden Valley. It’s no Vail or Aspen, but they do a good job. Put it on your calendar…you won’t be disappointed!

BUG BYTE: We’re headed to the Mosquito Squad Annual Meeting this week. Can’t wait to learn some new stuff to keep us the best and smartest in mosquito and tick control. 

Dog Days Call for Green Gazpacho

So it goes without saying that it’s hot outside—and the next few days are going to be hotter. The end of summer is upon us, weighing heavy with humidity. It’s almost September, and this heat makes me want to get out of the kitchen. (If the truth be known, I’ll take summer heat over winter anytime! I’m just always looking for an excuse not to cook)! It’s Labor Day on Monday, but that doesn’t mean you have to labor in the kitchen!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten really good at finding yummy snacks and treats on the go, from the comfort of my air-conditioned car. Pretzel Boys for a salt fix, Tropical Moose for shaved ice. Chick-fil-A makes a mean lemonade. And this is St. Louis—people do love their frozen custard. I understand the obsession with Ted Drewes, so I know I’m committing sacrilege here, but I prefer Baskin Robbins! Peanut Butter ‘n Chocolate is to die for!

It is prime farmers’ market season, too. And in the Midwest, that means corn on the cob so fresh that it doesn’t even need cooking (bonus)!, heirloom tomatoes that I eat like apples and countless varieties of juicy fruits.

Here is one of my all-time favorite summer recipes—I call it “green gazpacho.” No cooking involved, just some washing, a bit of chopping and a couple presses of a “puree” button and you have a cool lunch, snack or dessert. My kids love it, too. They get a kick out of the bright green color twisting its way through their bendy straws, and I get a kick out of tricking them into eating fruits and veggies that they normally refuse.

Let me know if you have any favorite summer recipes that take advantage of all the fresh produce—and don’t involve a heat source!

Bon appétit, and stay cool!

Green Gazpacho (makes five 1-cup servings)

  • 1/2 a honeydew melon
  • 2 cups green grapes
  • 1/2 a peeled cucumber
  • 1/2 a green pepper
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed
  • Zest and juice of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley
  • Optional: quartered grapes and diced cucumber, pepper and avocado for garnish

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. A perfect treat for Labor Day Weekend.

BUG BYTE: Mosquitoes are still active in St. Louis until late October. Mosquitoes function best at 80 degrees, become lethargic at 60 degrees and inactive during consistent 50 degree weather.

Doctor’s Orders: What you need to know about sunscreen and insect repellents.

During yet another rainy summer day this past week, I went on a tear—cleaning my house like a maniac. Sick of all the clutter that accumulates from our busy lifestyles, I moved from room to room like a tropical storm—carrying a trashcan and pitching or recycling what’s become useless.

Which brings me to my bathroom vanities, where I discovered a stockpile of old, expired creams, medicines, free samples and other tubes of goo just begging to be trashed. I was actually embarrassed to find four or five old bottles of sunscreen, shoved behind a mountain of shower poufs. The expiration dates had passed—a long time ago. Yikes.

But that’s a lot of sunscreen to pitch, especially at $8 a bottle. Do expiration dates really matter? Why? In general, what should we be doing during the summer to help protect our skin from the sun and insects and slow the aging process?

I asked local dermatologist Dr. Mary Noёl George to answer these questions. I thought you’d like to know what she said, too, especially about those combo sunscreen/bug spray products prominently displayed for purchase this time of year.

 Do expiration dates on sunscreen bottles really matter? Why?

Dr. George: “Expiration dates definitely matter. If the expiration date has passed, the sunscreen is no longer as effective; its active ingredients have broken down over time. If you use sunscreen as directed—liberally and generously, a bottle should not last from one year to the next.”

What do you mean by  “liberally and generously?”

Dr. George: “For sunscreen to be effective, you need to apply an entire ounce—think: a shot glass full—of the product to your body. And you should apply an entire tablespoon full to your face. That means that each bottle of sunscreen stashed in the back of your vanity should have been empty after only 6-8 applications.” (Okay, okay, I get it—no leftovers from now on! Doctor’s orders.)

What about products that combine sunscreen and insect repellant? These are so convenient, but are they a good idea?

Dr. George: I recommend using separate products—not combo products, especially those containing DEET. Because application directions for sunscreen and repellant are different, they need to be applied separately. Apply sunscreen first then the repellant. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or bathing. To protect your skin from insects, one application of a repellant with DEET is enough. A little DEET goes a long way.

The ingredients in sunscreens can increase your skin’s absorption of DEET by up to three times, increasing its potency—another reason why the combo products are a bad idea.

In addition, products containing DEET should not be applied to young children’s skin, making combo products completely out of the question. This is one of the big reasons why I like Mosquito Squad of Greater St. Louis’ product—it isn’t applied to the skin and therefore not absorbed into our bodies. We get the benefits of the product with absolutely no risk to our skin or overall health. The Squad’s product is a win-win.

In general, what should we be doing to help protect our skin (and slow the aging process)? What’s your best advice?

Dr. George: “Sunscreen is the number-one anti-aging, anti-wrinkle cream available, and wearing it is the single most important thing you can do to maintain youthful skin. And with sunscreen, you can protect yourself from skin cancers and therefore maintain your overall health. Second, ask your dermatologist about using a topical retinoid cream, like Retin-A, or an over-the-counter retinol. These creams gently exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells and encourage new, plump, youthful skin cells to surface. They also help fade dark spots caused by the sun.”

Thanks, Dr. George!

BUG BYTE: Genetics account for 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites. Read here to find out why mosquitoes are attracted to some people more than others.

Getting Saucy with Barbecue

I can’t believe that I’m already starting to plan our Fourth of July barbecue… Making the guest list, brainstorming menu ideas, digging out decorations. Where does the time go? In just a week, we’ll be watching fireworks—and I’m excited.

As a native of Goldsboro in Eastern North Carolina, I take my barbecue very seriously. In fact, the same can be said of Southerners in general: barbecue is a matter of great pride and tradition. If you’re from the region you know—there are totally different barbecue methods, sauces and preferences almost everywhere you go. These styles even divide my home state! If you live east of Raleigh, you cook the entire pig (as opposed to just certain parts) and douse it in a vinegar-based sauce that’s thin—almost watery—especially compared to local sauces like Maull’s, a St. Louis favorite.

Given my roots and my region’s love of barbecue, you can imagine how tickled I was to read that  Garden & Gun magazine decided that Goldsboro’s own  Wilber’s Barbecue has the best barbecue sauce! I enjoy eating at Wilber’s whenever I’m back in town, and I agree with Garden & Gun—Wilber’s is the best. To satisfy my cravings here in St. Louis, I make my own sauce (Courtesy of Lori):

2 quarts cider vinegar

1/4 cup salt

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons red pepper flakes

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce

In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together and stir until the salt and brown sugar dissolve. Cover and let stand 3 hours before using as a basting sauce or serving on pork.

Garden & Run also ran a brief article on sauces in the South: “The Sauce Question.” It’s worth checking out if you want to know more about the different types.

Are you barbecuing for the Fourth of July? Do you make your own sauce? If so, please share your ideas and recipes in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you! And if you don’t yet use  Mosquito Squad of Greater St. Louis, consider trying us now for a mosquito-free Fourth of July.

Happy barbecuing!

BUG BYTE: June 27-July 1 is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week. This is extremely timely since St. Louis County Vector Control has found West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in Clayton, Richmond Heights, Mehlville, Hanley Hills, Manchester, Florissant and Lemay already this season. 

Campho-Phenique? Still? Really? Seriously?

The other day I was talking to a grandmother who had her precious granddaughter in a red flyer wagon. The sweet little girl had some welts on her arm caused by mosquitoes. When I made a comment about the painful looking, raised, red areas…the grandmother said, “She’ll be fine. I just put some campho-phenique on them.” Holy blast to the past. I remember that little green bottle so vividly. When I was a little girl, campho-phenique was a staple in our medicine cabinet! Even with its fancy sounding french name, Jeff Foxworthy includes campho-phenique in his redneck jokes. “You know you’re a redneck when you think campho-phenique is a miracle drug.” My family sure thought it was. It ranked right up there with mentholatum, baby aspirin and mercurochrome. I’m lucky I never got mercury poisoning. Did you know mercurochrome was officially taken off the market in the US in 1998? The US FDA deemed it a potential hazard because of its mercury content. Many a time, I walked around with that literal “red badge of courage.” The reddish brown stain left on the skin after treatment of a cut or bug bite was a sign that I just endured some MAJOR stinging. Fortunately for my children’s generation, mercurochrome has gone the way of the milkman.

How do most people treat mosquito bites today? According to America’s favorite pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene, you should use a multi-prong approach. Begin with an antihistamine like Zyrtec. That will help relieve the itching. A simple mixture of baking soda and water applied to the bites can bring relief. Calamine lotion or a topical anesthetic like Caladryl helps, too. Ibuprofen can cut back on inflammation. Topical steroid creams offer aid from itching. Sometimes systemic steroids are needed in cases of extreme allergic reactions. Funny how he doesn’t mention campho-phenique.

The best way to treat mosquito bites is to prevent them. Give Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis a call. With our successful barrier spray, you’ll be sure to enjoy your yard without the nuisance of mosquitoes. No bugs. No bites. No kidding.

As always, Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis‘ mission is to help make your outdoor experiences wonderful!

Conway Kids’ Lemonade Stand Raises Money for the World Bird Sanctuary

Conway School has the best group of third graders! At Tilles Park every Sunday from noon-2:00 during the month of May, they are sponsoring a lemonade stand. The proceeds will benefit the World Bird Sanctuary and its mission to help injured birds of prey. In the first two weeks, they have raised over $200!! One of the parents has even created a website to help the kids’ efforts. www.savethebirdstlouis.com. Come visit us one Sunday and enjoy some refreshing lemonade. (You’ll find us between the swings and the playground). Don’t forget to enter the raffle. You could win a 12 person private tour of the World Bird Sanctuary, and then you can help release a rehabilitated bird back into the wild! As you can see for yourself…helping others is lots of fun.

As always, Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis‘ mission is to help make your outdoor experiences wonderful. The children at Conway are taking it to the next level. Thanks, kids!

It’s World Malaria Day.

Every year 850,000 people die from malaria. 90 percent of those who die are under the age of five. We at Mosquito Squad (the world’s largest mosquito control company) have a social purpose to help raise funds to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015, and heighten awareness of the malaria plight, by supporting Malaria No More in every way possible.

For every customer who signs up with Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis, we are donating $10 to Malaria No More. $10 will buy a treated mosquito net that will protect one family from the bite of deadly mosquitoes. You can help too! Since today is World Malaria Day, why not make a $10 donation by texting “SWAT” to 85944 or by visiting SwatMalaria.net online? Think about how lucky we are to go to sleep in a bug-free cozy bed. We don’t have to worry about dangerous mosquitoes who bite only at night, often transferring the parasite that causes malaria from person to person. African families do, but we can help change that! Click here to see for yourself how something as simple as a bed net is a proven, successful tool in the battle against malaria.

American Idol Gives Back believes in Malaria No More‘s efforts. Of the $45,000,000 that was raised on Wednesday night’s show $8,000,000 will go to Malaria No More, which will provide 800,000 bed nets. Amazing! You can help FIGHT THE BITE and save lives in Africa, too. It’s the best $10 you’ll ever spend!

As always, Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis‘ mission is to help make your outdoor experiences wonderful. Malaria No More takes it to the next level. Thank you!

Bald and Beautiful

Sunday, March 21st is World Eagle Day. This special day really hits home for us this year. On a snowy January day we found a wounded Bald Eagle-one of his talons was deeply severed. Lovingly named “Feathers” by our daughters, he was in great need of medical attention. In St. Louis we are lucky to have the wonderful World Bird Sanctuary, whose mission is to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments. Staffed by 25 professionals and many dedicated volunteers, they took great care of Feathers during his rehabilitation. Everyday we looked forward to the updates of Feathers’ progress and were reassured that he was receiving the best support possible. Unfortunately, gangrene set in and even with all of the top of the line help he received, Feathers wasn’t strong enough for the fight. After five days of hospitalization, we got the dreaded phone call, and then and there our daughters learned a life lesson.

Interestingly, Feathers’ remains were sent to a Native American tribe to use in tribal ceremonies. There are lots of adjectives to describe a bald eagle but none more fitting than majestic. Watch our video of Feathers, and you’ll see for yourself.

Be sure to visit the World Bird Sanctuary on Sunday from 10-4 and help celebrate eagles from around the world. There will be fun, educational activities for the whole family.

As always, Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis‘ mission is to help make your outdoor experiences wonderful. The World Bird Sanctuary takes it to the next level. Thank you!

Celebrate the Warm Weather at Missouri’s Vineyards.

 

With the warmer weather finally moving in, add some excitement to your life by visiting one of  Missouri’s beautiful vineyards. Located in the picturesque rolling hills outside of St. Louis, these unique vineyards are great places for weddings, reunions, birthday parties and just plain fun with your friends.

 Sugar Creek Vineyard and Winery in Defiance is owned by a wonderful family who works hard every day of the week to ensure visitors have an unforgettable experience. The Millers are a family who understand that a good wine begins with the grape and ends with the people who pour it in your glass. Join them in the cozy parlor and tasting room of their turn-of-the-century Victorian home/visitor center, and they will make you feel special. Or on a warm day soak up the sun on their wine terrace listening to live music.

Right down the road is Chandler Hill Vineyards, a must-see because of its exquisite surroundings. Offering fine dining (with wines from their California and Missouri vineyards) and live events, you are sure to have a great time. The spectacular view from the 4500 sf wine deck of the wildlife-laden Missouri valley is nothing short of majestic.

         

As always, Mosquito Squad’s mission is to help make your outdoor living experiences wonderful. We promise that a day in the vineyards will be a day you remember for a long time.

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