There is no surer way to destroy a promising social gathering than to not to find a way to prevent your guests from being devoured by mosquitoes, said Nick Sorgani, general manager of Northbrook-based Mosquito Hunters, a company that treats outdoor environments to minimize or, ideally, eliminate mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.
"The carbon dioxide and odors given off by you and your guests attract mosquitoes to your party. That is why an unprotected gathering can become an all-you-can-eat mosquito buffet," Sorgani said. "Pesky mosquitoes can quickly ruin a party by forcing your guests to go home or hide inside. You also don't want to expose guests to mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus and Zika and other diseases caused by fleas and ticks. So think ahead and have your outdoor party space treated to keep unwelcome guests away."
As anyone who has socialized outdoors knows, electronic zappers, bug spray and other similar products are seldom enough to make your party mosquito-free. All of these products have helped minimize bites, but have not solved the problem entirely.
Four years ago, Andy Fuller, owner of Mosquito Hunters, decided to leave his corporate job and start his own business. The business he decided to start was one that would treat regular customer's yards eight times a summer to keep mosquitoes, ticks and fleas away and also to do intensive treatments immediately before outdoor weddings, big parties and other gatherings to keep them pest-free.
Today, Fuller has a thriving business in the Chicago metropolitan area (Joliet to the Wisconsin border and Lake Michigan to Sandwich) and has franchised his business to several markets in other states. He hired Sorgani to oversee Chicago-area operations.
Fuller did a lot of research and talked to etymologists and other mosquito professionals in order to come up with a cutting-edge, environmentally responsible mosquito management treatment for people's yards, as well as businesses, outdoor eating environments, golf courses, campgrounds, hotels and festivals.
The resulting formula has an extremely low toxicity, making it safe for children and pets, and involves a synthetic version of chrysanthemum (which mosquitoes hate), rosemary, thyme, some other organic products and some of the ingredients used in pet shampoos to kill fleas and ticks. It is micro-released so that the ingredients are gradually released over time and not washed away by rainstorms or sprinkler systems.
The spray is applied to the underside of all broad-leaved plants in your yard, which include deciduous trees and bushes because, according to Sorgani and Fuller, mosquitoes get their energy from the nectar they get while feeding on these plants. They do not generally treat evergreens and grass but they do screen for water collection vessels like birdbaths, fountains and empty pots.
They caution that even a bottle cap filled with water can breed up to 300 mosquitoes. "If your property has an irrigation issue with places where water collects, the Mosquito Hunters representative will treat that area with solid larvicide pellets," Sorgani said.
It is important to treat your yard if you plan to use it on a regular basis in order to prevent the transmission of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus in humans and heartworm in pets, he cautioned.
Mosquito Hunters offers a variety of treatment packages that vary in price, depending on the size of the yard. You can get an introductory application, a special event or party application the day before your event or a "season pass," which involves eight applications (approximately every 21 days) from April through October. If you start partway through the season, unused treatments can be rolled over to the next year.
All Mosquito Hunters treatments are backed by a promise that if the homeowner is not happy with the results, the technician will return at no additional cost.
If you are planning an outdoor gathering, particularly a large one like a Fourth of July picnic, a special treatment is probably in order since mosquitoes are drawn to a party by the carbon dioxide given off by the guests.
Sorgani suggested that you cut the grass two or three days before the party. Then consider hiring a professional mosquito prevention service like Mosquito Hunters of Chicago.
For more information about Mosquito Hunters, visit www.mosquitohunters.com or call (855) 995-3366.