Mosquitoes have been bedeviling humans since the days of the dinosaurs, says Andy Fuller, owner of Mosquito Hunters, a company that treats outdoor environments to minimize or, ideally, eliminate mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.
The little "buggers" have been driving homeowners indoors for hundreds of years and have been the impetus for the creation of such innovations as window screens, electronic zappers, bug spray and many more products over the decades. All of these products have helped minimize bites, but have not solved the problem entirely.
Three years ago Fuller 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. The company also does intensive treatments immediately before big outdoor parties and other gatherings to keep them pest-free.
"I started Mosquito Hunters with a backpack sprayer and a dream," Fuller says. "I wanted to start a business in which I could help a roster of clients repeatedly."
Today, he has a thriving business in the Chicago area (Joliet to the Wisconsin border and Lake Michigan to Sandwich) and has franchised his business to four other markets in Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida and Kansas.
"I 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," he says.
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 includes deciduous trees and bushes because mosquitoes "get their energy from the nectar they get while feeding on these plants," Fuller says. They do not generally treat evergreens and grass but they do screen for water collection vessels like birdbaths, fountains and empty pots.
"Even a bottle cap filled with water can breed up to 300 mosquitoes," he cautions. "If your property has an irrigation issue with places where water collects, the Mosquito Hunters representative will treat that area with solid larvicide pellets.
"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 and Zika in humans and heartworm in pets."
Mosquito Hunters offers a variety of treatment packages that vary in price, depending on the size of the yard. However, prices start at $39. You can get an introductory application, a special event or party application the day before your event or a "season pass" that includes 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 treatments are backed by a promise that if the homeowner is not happy with the results, the technician will return at no additional cost," Fuller says.
If you are planning an outdoor gathering, particularly a large one, a special treatment is probably in order because mosquitoes are drawn to a party by the carbon dioxide given off by the guests.
First, cut the grass, Fuller advises. Then have Mosquito Hunter visit. For a special event they will spray your bushes and trees with their standard formula and then put another treatment on your grass to make sure your event is 85 to 95 percent pest-free, he says.
"An unprotected party becomes an all-you-can-eat mosquito buffet where your guests are annoyed and also exposed to mosquito-borne illnesses," Fuller says, so thinking ahead and protecting your guests from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks is part of throwing a state-of-the-art gathering.
For more information, visit www.mosquitohunters.com or call (855) 995-3366.