When Mark and Christina Wallisch moved to Fenwick Island a year ago, the key to the seasonal business they were looking for was literally in the air around them.
Although they treasured the relaxed lifestyle and proximity to the beach of their new home, there was something that wasn’t so great.
For Christina Wallisch especially, mosquitoes bring misery.
“Mosquitoes love me,” she said.
So when they learned about the Virginia Beach, Va.-based Mosquito Joe pest-control company they felt they had found their niche.
Mark Wallisch has been involved with the Molly Maids house-cleaning franchise and Christina Wallisch is a respiratory therapist, now at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md. Mosquito Joe, Mark Wallisch said, “seemed like a really good option.”
The couple’s new business has been up and running since early spring, and they both said business is continuing to grow as the summer bug season progresses.
Mosquito Joe uses proprietary treatments that Wallisch said are “incredibly effective” against mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, while being safe for pets and children as soon as they dry.
Christina Wallisch added that, with current concerns about bee populations decreasing, Mosquito Joe chemicals are “pollinator friendly” — a concern that many customers have expressed, she said. “Nowadays, the bee population is an issue,” she said.
Mosquitoes have four life stages: egg, larvae, pupa and adult. Mark Wallisch said the insects overwinter in different stages, so “you want to treat as late in the season as possible” so that the mosquitoes don’t reestablish themselves first thing next season.
In early spring, “As soon as the temperature gets above 50, they become active and start mating,” he said, so early spring treatment is important, too.
Part of each treatment is an inspection of the property for mosquito breeding areas — which basically means anything that can hold water. According to the Wallisches, the pesky insects can breed in something as small as a soda bottle cap.
If there is a nearby water-filled area, such as a stormwater retention pond, Mosquito Joe will add a larvicide to the treatment.
Although when they’re buzzing around, sucking the life out of those late-afternoon barbecues, they may seem invincible, Christina Wallisch said mosquitoes actually are not.
“An interesting thing is that they’re lazy,” she said.
“They’re weak fliers,” Mark Wallisch said. That means they land frequently on foliage, and if it has been sprayed — bam: dead mosquitoes.
What actually happens, for those who want the gory details, is that the chemicals — largely pyrethrins — disrupt the insects’ nervous systems. Although pyrethrin is an organic material derived from the chrysanthemum plant, the version in the Mosquito Joe compounds is man-made.
While some municipalities spray neighborhoods during the summer months, Mark Wallisch said those treatments are only effective on adult mosquitoes that happen to be flying when the spraying happens.
In a typical Mosquito Joe treatment, the technician will spray all shrubs, and all around the house or building and trees, as well as around porch lights. The ground will also be sprayed for ticks. Particularly attractive to ticks are areas at the edge of wooded areas, with overhanging trees, he said.
Mark Wallisch said he is finding that “there are a lot of skeptics” the first time the Mosquito Joe tech shows up for a treatment, but after a few days, they are converts.
Mosquito Joe recommends treatments every three weeks during the season, because while the chemicals don’t wash off, as many believe, they do break down with time, Christina Wallisch said.
Mark Wallisch said that after the first spray, customers notice a 75 percent reduction in mosquito activity, 80 percent after the third one “and the breeding cycle is starting to break,” and by the third treatment, the breeding cycle is completely broken.
He said building a customer base through honest and professional service is his goal.
“We want to do it right the first time. It’s all about integrity,” he said.
For more information on Mosquito Joe, call (302) 425-9296 or go to GO4MoJo.com.
By Kerin Magill