The Best in Mosquito Elimination


Staycation St. Louis Style

It’s August.  Work has slowed down, the kids are tiring of their lazy summer routine, and all you want to do is go on vacation.  But the reason you didn’t plan one already is because vacations are SO expensive.  What is the solution?  A staycation of course!

Staycations are exciting because you make your own rules.  The only defining factor is that you sleep at home, therefore saving all of the money that would normally be spent on travel and lodging.  Beyond that simple restriction the time is yours!  Below are some ideas for creating a special staycation in St. Louis.

1. Set rules for use of electronics, seeing friends, doing errands, answering the phone, responding to emails, and anything else that signifies routine life.

2. Try out new restaurants.  Limit the amount of cooking you do so that you can maximize your leisure time

3. Enjoy lots of private time in your backyard lounging and playing around.  It is very convenient if you have a pool, but if not just set up some sprinklers and a Slip ‘n Slide!

4. Spend a day at the City Museum and/or the Saint Louis Science Center.

5. Play around at Elephant Rocks and Johnson’s Shut-Ins.  They are very close to one another, so you can do both on the same day!

6. Take advantage of Forest Park-all of it. Swim in the fountains below the World’s Fair Pavilion, walk around in the art and history museums, rent paddle boats, eat at the Boat House, experience the Jewel Box, enjoy the zoo, and top off the day with a show at the Muny.

7. Go on a float trip!  The other weekend we had a fabulous time floating down the Meramec from Old Cove Canoe.  Other nearby float trips include Cherokee LandingTwin Rivers, and Forest 44.

8. Visit Six Flags or Raging Rivers if you desire further amusement.

 

BUG BYTE: There are 176 species of mosquitoes in the United States.  Be sure to protect your family from the dangerous diseases mosquitoes can carry by using a  barrier spray on your property or with the proper use of DEET.

 

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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

Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis Launches a Pinterest Page.

Have you heard about the newest craze, a website called Pinterest? It’s a social network that allows users to organize and share interests by “pinning” images or videos to their own virtual bulletin boards. Users can “pin” items from the internet or “repin” items found on others’ boards. Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests. You must be invited to join, so let me know if you want an invitation. Watch out…it’s addicting.

Check out Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis’ Pinterest page. It’s a work in progress, as most Pinterest pages are. From veggie gardening to outdoor parties, we’ll give you all sorts of fun ideas to help make your outdoor living fantastic! Be sure to follow us. It will be worth your while!

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. 

Got Cabin Fever? IPhone Apps that Get Me through the Winter Blues.

Happy New Year! Mosquito Squad wishes you a happy and healthy 2012!

I have a love/hate relationship with January. I enjoy the “organize your life and house” feeling that January brings, but I despise the cold weather and the cabin fever that accompany winter. One positive thing…winter solstice has come and gone and the days are now getting longer, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that easy summer living is still months away. Until then, I have some fun iPhone apps that keep me connected to the great outdoors in some form or fashion.

iBird Explorer Midwest With tons of rich information in its database, iBird is worth the $4.99. This cutting edge field guide to 585 birds in the midwest will keep you entertained for hours. Be sure to check out the bird songs and calls. They might come in handy while you’re hunting your Thanksgiving turkey. Seriously though, this fascinating app has everything you need to become the neighborhood ornithologist except the binoculars of course.

Accuweather Whether you need to check the weather for school bus pick up or for a trip across country, Accuweather has all you need. You’ll never use the weather app that comes standard on the iPhone again. Another bonus…it’s free!

Photo Garden There is nothing sweeter than a new crocus popping up in the dead of winter. Now I can photograph and document it along with every other plant in my garden throughout the year. Photo Garden is a fun, visual way to keep track of ever evolving plants. It’s so simple: 1. Name the garden. 2. Take a picture of the entire garden. 3. Add each plant found in the garden. 4. Each week update the photos of your plants and garden. 5. Enjoy your collection over time. You can even email pictures of garden successes (and failures) to friends and family. Finally, that prize winning tomato plant will get the attention it deserves. All of this for just $.99!

Planets Release your inner Galileo with this FREE app that’s sure to be a family-pleaser. Just set your location and your iPhone will teach you things about the solar system that will definitely make you smarter than a fifth grader!

Postcards on the Run Who doesn’t love getting a postcard in the mailbox? But with email and texting at our fingertips, hardly anyone sends them. Postcards on the Run combines today’s technology with the nostalgia of mailed postcards. Simply snap a picture, tap a message (along with an address) and press send. Postcards on the Run does the rest making sure your postcard arrives in your loved one’s mailbox.  Surprise your grandparents or college roommate with a keepsake they can hold close to their heart. It will make their day…and you’ll look clever at the same time! The app is free but each postcard costs approximately $1.50.

Do you have any fun apps that I need to know about? I’d love to hear from you.

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. 

Right in Your Own Backyard…Tick-borne Diseases.

Bambi isn’t so cute anymore. I have to say I was a little shocked when I read this article. We all know about Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but other tick-borne diseases like babesiosis, STARI and ehrlichiosis are also on the rise. MSNBC’s report Under-the-Radar Tick Diseases Spreading Across the US details the frightening increase of these illnesses. Two St. Louis doctors are quoted in the article. Dr. Gregory Storch, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Washington University is heading up a tick-borne inter-disciplinary research team to investigate the who, what, when and why of the rising number of cases popping up in St. Louis. Dr. Farrin A. Manian is the chief of infectious diseases at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. He theorizes that the rise in tick-borne diseases in the St. Louis area is due to a booming deer population that likes to sleep in the thick invasive honeysuckle that grows everywhere in our region. Then the deer venture onto lawns, parks and backyards where ticks fall off eventually getting picked up by people and pets. Yuck!

How can you avoid ticks? Wear long sleeves, long pants and a hat. Wear light colored clothes so that you can see any ticks. Wear insect repellent with DEET. Be sure to give yourself and/or children a tick check. Don’t forget about the scalp!

Mosquito Squad can provide tick protection for your yard. Call us if you have any questions about our services and how we can help you.

The ScuttleBUZZ Goes Live.

2011 is going to be an exciting year in the blog world! As you have noticed, Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis’ blog has a new name: “The ScuttleBUZZ…inside scoop on outside living.” As seen in my previous blogs, I like to journey beyond the world of mosquitoes, and I thought I needed a fun name to relay that message. This is where you’ll find the 4-1-1 on outdoor fun. But never fret…I will continue to add interesting and relevant news about all things mosquito, tick and flea that I think are worthwhile to pass along. Be sure to keep your eye out for these “bug bytes.”

I just came across a new company in St. Louis called The Backyard BBQ Grill Company. What a simple yet innovative concept they have. How many of you have caked on crud all over your grill? Did you know that not properly cleaning your grill greatly reduces its lifespan, affects the flavor of your food and can be a fire hazard? Well that’s where Steve and his company can help you out. Using a unique steam cleaning system, they thoroughly clean your grill making sure it’s ready for your next outdoor cooking adventure. Wow! Another great service by another great St. Louis company.

Way to go The Backyard BBQ Grill Company! Just like Mosquito Squad of Greater Saint Louis you’re helping make outdoor experiences wonderful!

BUG BYTE: In Malaysia genetically modified male mosquitoes were released into the wild. The Malaysian authorities hope the modified male mosquitoes will breed with wild females and produce offspring with a shorter lifespan hoping to slow the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Here in STL you don’t need to wait for genetically modified mosquitoes to eradicate the pests. Mosquito Squad of Greater St. Louis is prepared to safely solve your mosquito problem from April through October, allowing your family to enjoy your outdoor areas.

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