Zika is in Palm Beach County

There are now 42 locally contracted cases of Zika in Florida.

A week ago, it was released that 2 new cases of Zika were contracted by local mosquitoes outside of the Wynwood neighborhood in North Miami, where the virus was primarily contained. Now, we are getting word that there has been one new case in Palm Beach County and another on the West Coast of Florida in St. Petersburgh. The number of Zika victims in Florida that are thought to have been contracted by local mosquitoes is now up to 42. Continue reading…

DEET vs. Picaridin

The recent threat of Zika here in South Florida has all of us wondering what we can do for protection from those pesky mosquitoes.  One of the best ways to keep them away is through the use of insect repellent. But which type is the most effective at protecting you from mosquitoes?  Each insect repellent contains specific chemicals designed to keep mosquitoes away and the top-selling insect repellents today contain either DEET or Picaridin. So, which one is better? Continue reading…

Myth vs. Fact: Mosquito Edition

Dengue, zika and chikungunya fever mosquito (aedes aegypti) on human skin

Dengue, zika and chikungunya fever mosquito (aedes aegypti) on human skin

Before we get into debunking popular ideas, there are some basics about mosquitoes ‘preferences’ that you should know. Experts in the field, such as Joe Conlan, PhD, who works with the American Mosquito Control Association, have identified specific elements found on the skin’s surface or released by the human body that have been scientifically proven to attract mosquitoes.  Notably, mosquitoes are attracted to excess uric acid on the skin’s surface, to larger amounts of carbon dioxide exhaled, possibly while panting from exertion, and to lactic acid that is produced in sweat glands.  In addition, scientific studies demonstrate that mosquitoes are attracted to increased movement and increased heat.  For example, when you are working out, the panting and sweating from exertion will draw mosquitoes to you because of the extra carbon dioxide and lactic acid that your body is giving off.

Continue reading…

The Scoop on Mosquito Repellants

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Mosquitoes have always been the pest of our nights and down time. And with the recent introduction of the Zika virus in South Florida, mosquitoes are becoming a much bigger problem. The Zika virus is related to dengue and yellow fever and can cause stiff joints and body aches, red eyes and a fever. It may not sound like a nightmare, only lasting about a week in most cases, but it can be a nightmare for pregnant women. Zika causes Microcephaly in fetuses, resulting in an incomplete brain and head development. While topical insect repellent is the final line of defense, it is one of the key defense mechanisms. Repelling mosquitoes from your home effectively requires more then bug spray alone. But when you do find yourself  choosing bug spray, there are several things to look out for. Continue reading…

Invasion of the New Guinea Flatworm

To be an invasive species is one thing, but to be a slimy, snake-like invasive species is another! The New Guinea Flatworm, a species native to New Guinea, has spread across the Pacific islands, a few Caribbean nations, and now has made a home for itself in South Florida. This species of flatworm is considered one of the world’s worst invasive species because it has very few natural predators. And over here in the U.S., the New Guinea Flatworm has zero natural predators and can sustain various environmental conditions, so it is here to stay and likely to spread! Continue reading…

Zika Update: 10 South Florida Cases

Blood sample positive with Zika virus

Blood sample positive with Zika virus

Up until last week, all of the Zika cases in the U.S. have originated from contact with the virus abroad. But yesterday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out a warning against the traveling of pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant women to one square mile north of downtown Miami. This includes the neighborhoods of Wynwood, Midtown, and the Design District. There are now 10 cases of the virus in that area that are believed to have originated from local mosquitoes. Although there have been many Zika cases reported in the U.S. since January, this is the first time that the Zika virus has been contracted in the United States due to local mosquitoes. This is also the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against the travel to any area within the continental U.S. At the peak of mosquito season here in South Florida, we need to do all we can to protect ourselves against the mosquitoes that vector the virus. Continue reading…

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat: South Florida’s Blue-green Algae Problem

Blue-green algae blooms are polluting the shoreline of the Treasure Coast.

Blue-green algae blooms are polluting the shoreline of the Treasure Coast.

The recent blue-green algae bloom in South Florida has been on the minds of all summer beach-goers and outdoor adventurers. The cyanobacteria that causes the blue-green sludge on the surface of our bodies of water also produces potent toxins. These are deadly toxins that in addition to degrading the local aquatic ecosystems, also cause irritation to the skin and the eyes and pose potential damage to the liver and nervous system. We in South Florida are definitely experiencing a stay-out-of-the-water, Jaws-type summer that calls for “a bigger boat,” or no boat at all. Continue reading…

Pests in Paradise

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This is a blog dedicated to all of my fellow Town of Jupiter/Village of Tequesta folk.

I don’t have to tell you that every time I drive over the US-1 drawbridge and look out onto the Jupiter Inlet and see the Jupiter Lighthouse reflected in the clear, blue water that I feel like I live in paradise. We all share that feeling. As far as I’m concerned, Jupiter, Florida is one of the best places on Earth. Where else in the world can you drive your truck through the mud or kayak in a historical river and kite board or stand-up paddleboard in the Atlantic all in the same day? Only in Jupiter. Jupiter has big city entertainment without the big city feel. It’s low key. It’s a great place to grow up and start your own family. We have great schools, great clubs, and tons of small businesses that support our Jupiter lifestyles. We live like Southern Californians but don’t pay the high taxes. We welcome all walks of life. Some of us are old and eat dinner at 4pm. We have places for that. Some of us are vegan and live off wheat-grass juice. We have places for that. Some of us are used to the NY and NJ nightlife. We have places for that. Jupiter is an up-and-coming South Florida destination that has it all…including bugs and rodents! Continue reading…

A Battle You Can’t Win on Your Own

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As a native South Floridian, I don’t bat an eyelash when I see trailing ants by the sink, the occasional roach in the garage, or multiple fire ant mounds in the yard. Maybe it’s because bugs don’t gross me out the way they do my wife. But it could also have to do with the fact that living in South Florida, bugs are everywhere. The weather is always warm, and humid—a bug’s paradise. It’s basically a fact that if you are a Florida homeowner, no matter how clean or new your living situation is, at some point, you will find a bug in your house. And when the inevitable happens, you will probably go out to the nearest home improvement store and acquire a pesticide. You’ll give it a week or two (and you may see an improvement from day-to-day) but eventually, the bugs will come back. They always do…unless you know what to look for and how to properly treat the issue. I would be lying if I told you that the battle you are waging against the crawling invaders in your home will prevail, because it won’t. A mission of that sort requires backup, as fighting pests in Florida is a battle you can’t win on your own. Continue reading…