Saturday, June 1, 2019
Rose Pest Solution's entomologist Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian joined Warren Pierce on WJR radio to take listener questions about mosquito prevention and disease.
[Warren Pierce] As we check in with the vice president of technical services at [Rose 00:00:46] Pest Solutions, he's been working on pest management for over 30 years. Graduated from Michigan State, a board-certified entomologist, Mark Sheperdigian. Or as your friends and neighbors call you, Shep. Good morning to you. And listening to all those bugs, the one we didn't mention or hear sung were the mosquitoes. Did you see this report that just came out that Michigan is now number seven among the top 50 mosquito cities in the country? I think Atlanta's number one, but we're getting up there. What'd you make of that? You see it every day. You probably weren't surprised, were you?
[Mark Sheperdigian] Yeah. Thank you, Warren. I didn't see that. But a lot of times when you hear those lists, the biggest cities have ... Yeah, you got to look at the source. Frequently they're based on how many sales calls some large company may have gotten. And that's not really the best way to judge. We do have a lot of mosquitoes around here, though, no doubt about that.
[Warren Pierce] Well, yeah, we've got now the 80-degree temperatures in the forecast, and we've got, what about the water? The rain, the precipitation, is that adding to how bad maybe this mosquito season will be for us here in the metro Detroit area?
[Mark Sheperdigian] Actually, it won't. It won't influence the season, but it's sure gonna influence the next couple of weeks. So when you see a big rain or a big rainy spot, wait a couple of weeks and then the mosquitoes that come out, that's how that works. If there's a dry spell, that'll shut them down for a while. So we're really, we're really at the mercy of the weather as it rolls.
[Warren Pierce] I know and I posted it on our Warren Pierce Show Facebook page some pictures of mosquitoes with some quick statistics that, and see if this is right, when it comes to mosquitoes, mostly gray with white and silver and green or iridescent blue scales, and they're narrow, and there their about what, a quarter to three-eighth of an inch long?
[Mark Sheperdigian] Oh that's about right. Now iridescent green, you know very few people look close enough at a mosquito to see that. Some of them are absolutely beautiful, and most of those mosquitoes don't live long enough to be admired. They just get whacked. There also, there are some, a couple of species of immense mosquitoes that if they land on you, people, they generally don't swat them. They just run, they just run fast. Great big mosquitoes. They're maybe up to a half inch long. They're a half inch. That might be a bit much, three-eighths. But that's so much bigger than all the other mosquitoes that we have. It gets your attention.
[Warren Pierce] It's really important. Not only, obviously, is it going to bug us if we get stung by a mosquito, Shep, but we're talking about mosquito born diseases out there, as well. Like West Nile virus that we hear about and encephalitis and chikungunya, there are names of diseases I can't even pronounce that you as an entomologist probably know well.
[Mark Sheperdigian] That is exactly correct. And yeah, there's a lot of mosquito born diseases. Now just because you get bitten by mosquitoes doesn't mean you're going to get a disease. Most people don't. But they do carry them. And even here in Michigan, some horrible diseases. We have about 60 species in the states, only about a dozen bite us regularly. And some of those will carry some bad diseases. Now we worry about some of the mosquitoes that we don't yet have, but that could easily be moving into the state, that will carry diseases, and if that happens, we do need to be on our guard. So it's always good for people to avoid mosquitoes by wearing proper clothing and repellent whenever they're out with the mosquitoes and making sure that you're not growing your own mosquitoes by having standing water around the yard.
[Warren Pierce] Yeah, that's important, as well. But as the vice president of technical services at Rose Pest Solutions, Shep, but what about those electric devices, those electronic traps or the repellers? What advice do you give to our listeners to keep them away for, this is the traditional start of summer, of course, for the summer season?
[Mark Sheperdigian] Oh yeah. Everybody, yeah, bring out the bug zappers. No, no, no.
[Warren Pierce] No?
[Mark Sheperdigian] No. They're pretty spectacular. You hear them go off all night. But mostly, you're killing good bugs. They've actually done some studies where they took all the bugs and sorted them out and let's see what we killed. And it was very, very few mosquitoes and mostly good insects. And the truth is they attract more insects then they killed. So if you do have one, maybe give it to a neighbor, maybe the neighbor you don't like so much.
[Warren Pierce] What about, what is it that the citronella candles?
[Mark Sheperdigian] Oh yeah. You'll find lots of repellents. Citronella candles are common. They make those in a citronella-scented oil for Tiki Torches. And amazingly enough, the citronella is repellent to mosquitoes, but you got to be able to put it in the air in such a way that will repel mosquitoes and it doesn't happen very often.
[Mark Sheperdigian] Lots of studies have been done to see if they can use this stuff to actually create a mosquito-free zone, and the results are spotty at best. If you really want your deck to be mosquito free or as few as possible, the best thing to do is to set up as a big a fan as you can find, like an outdoor pan or a box fan or something to get the wind blowing across you and your decks. You only need five miles an hour. So nothing that's gonna upset a hairdo. And that should be good enough to keep the mosquitoes from finding you.
[Warren Pierce] All right. I have so many other questions. We're going to have to get together again as we make our way through the summer. But you know what I killed in my kitchen yesterday is this stinkbug. Are stinkbugs new? And by the way, I didn't, when I squished it, I didn't smell anything, necessarily. But is this a new insect or bug invading our lives?
[Mark Sheperdigian] Well, we've been seeing the stinkbugs for a few years now, and this is the brown marmorated. Marmorated. There's a word for you. It's a marmorated. Marmorated, actually, it means marbled. So that's the appearance. But like the iridescent mosquitoes, if you don't look close, you'll never see it. Brown marmorated stinkbugs were introduced into the mid-Atlantic states back in the 90s, and they can be devastating to some crops, but boy, they get into houses for wintering. And that's what they're doing here.
[Mark Sheperdigian] If you still see them, they should be gone real soon. They're going to leave and they'll be out and about. They're not good animals. But there'll be out of your house for the duration of the winter. If you didn't like that kind of thing, the best thing to do is to seal up your house this summer.
[Warren Pierce] That's certainly something to be true. And with problems, call the folks over at Rose Pest Solution. They've been around our town for years. Call Shep. He's the entomologist over there and the vice president of technical services. We'll talk again soon about some of the other bugs we didn't get to next time, Shep, thanks for getting up with us this morning.
[Mark Sheperdigian] Thank you, Warren.
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