Ticks, mosquitoes and other insects can be a nuisance.
Mosquito Joe of Northern Prince William County seeks to provide relief.
President and Co-Owner Dennis Corrigan talked about the business and how it supports the community in one of our recent Community Conversations.
The full interview can be found below.
Here is the transcription:
ST Billingsley: Thank you for joining us today on Community Conversations on What’s Up Prince William, here in studio 1A, in Dale City, Virginia. Today, we have Dennis Corrigan from Mosquito Joe, here from Haymarket, Virginia. Thank you very much for being on our show today.
Dennis Corrigan: It’s great to be here to talk about the things I love to kill.
ST Billingsley: So what is Mosquito Joe?
Dennis Corrigan: Mosquito Joe is a franchise that is designed to make people’s backyard safe, to remove the disease factors that result from a mosquito bite or a tick bite, or a bite from a flea, which are things that concern all of us, especially in our own backyards.
ST Billingsley: And so a lot of people may not have heard of your organization or your business. Why would a homeowner want to get ahold of you?
Dennis Corrigan: I think the main reason, especially with school ending on the 11th of June in most of Prince William County, having your own backyard available and without the threat of having a disease factored mosquito or tick, that’s why we come out. We come out to get rid of those. During the COVID crisis, sometimes that was the only place that kids could play. They were sequestered because you never knew what was going on around them. So they were in their backyard. We had a gigantic uptick, no pun intended, with trying to make people’s backyards safe for their children. Because children usually don’t brush off the tick or brush off the mosquito when they’re in the process of being bitten. They may not even feel it. So we were bringing some degree of safety concern, but also making parents think that their children were being protected to a great extent. Go ahead.
ST Billingsley: Oh, sorry. I know you’re in the Haymarket area, so it’s a little bit more rural out there. Is it just important, say here, like in Woodridge or a Dale City area?
Dennis Corrigan: I think it’s universally. We find small rodents, like field mice, groundhogs, they’re the transport system for the tick, especially the instar tick, the larva version that are called nymphs. There’s a picture from Prince William’s own etymology department that shows 144 nymph ticks on the back of just the two ears of one field mouse. So you’ve probably seen a tick before, really teeny legs. They can’t go anywhere on their own. They don’t fly, they don’t jump. They just wouldn’t. And so, any kind of animal that comes into the backyard, front yard, into the bushes area around your house, they could drop off a tick. And all of a sudden, your pet could have ticks on them. Come two times during the year, the late fall and the early spring, those female ticks can lay up to 3000 eggs after a single blood meal. That’s the threat from these types of insects, which are not necessarily good for us. I’m not sure what they do that’s good for humans or pets or birds. And so we try to get rid of them.
ST Billingsley: And what are some of the processes that you use to do that?
Dennis Corrigan: We have lots of different options for our customers. There can be a synthetic version which actually eliminates the pests from their living environment. The other is either an all natural or a botanical, a green approach, if you will. And what that does is it repels those pests away from their yard. What we use is lemon grass, oil, peppermint oil, sage. And then of course we have the completely all natural mosquito barrier, which is 99.3% pure garlic. I’m sure that makes it sound like we turn a person’s yard into an Italian restaurant, but that’s not true. After about two hours after it dries, humans, pets, birds can’t smell it. But I’ll tell you, all of those things, the mosquito barrier, garlic, the lemon grass, all of those organic oils, they’re horrific for a mosquito or a tick. We’re talking about something that’s about a quarter of an inch or less in size. And their olfactory system is completely different than ours. And this just drives them away.
ST Billingsley: Gotcha. So you have different levels, whether or not someone has a real big problem and they really need get rid of stuff heavily. And you have options for it, so people who have young kids and pets that they’re worried about, you have an option for them?
Dennis Corrigan: That’s right. And I’ll tell you that, in our parlance, what we talk about is hazard exposure. What is the hazard exposure for this stuff that I’m going to put on the leaves and trees and the bushes underneath the person’s deck, in their mulch, around the structure of the house? And I’ll tell you that, while it’s being applied, we use water misters on top of a leaf blower, if you will. And so you’ll see my guys with a face mask, eye covering, a hat, gloves, all of that stuff, because the only time there’s a hazard is when it’s wet. We don’t want to breathe it in. We don’t want to get it in our lungs. But once it dries on those same places we sprayed it, it turns into a solid. And for the synthetic, it turns into a solid and it’s no longer water soluble. How great is that? Because when it dries, the rain is not going to wash it away.
Dennis Corrigan: We use a surfactant, a chemical term used to describe a stickener that will help this microscopically encapsulated piece of material that kills mosquitoes and ticks on contact. It’s going to be right there. The all naturals doesn’t last quite as long. The synthetic will last for three weeks. We go out every three weeks to replace what the sun degrades. The only thing that degrades this is, really, the UV rays of the sun. Look at your car. The paint doesn’t look the same a year later, if you’ve had the sun beating down on it. So the hazard then becomes zero. It’s just dust, if you will, sticking to leaves. And it’s not water soluble.
ST Billingsley: Oh, very good. So now you guys do quite a bit of community support. You help take care of some baseball fields. But you also help another organization in Prince William County. So, I’ll let you tell us about those.
Dennis Corrigan: Okay. The main one that we support is the Willing Warrior Retreat Center, which is located in Haymarket. They have 38 acres. They have two houses, PenFed just built one last year. They had built a previous one almost five years ago. They just had their five-year anniversary. They have done wonders for allowing wounded soldiers, who are recovering, to bond again with their families. Especially during the COVID time, when not all the family could be there at the hospitals while they’re recovering. Now grandma and grandpa, the kids, mom, and dad could bond in an environment that’s idyllic in terms of quiet, peaceful. And, as you probably know, there’s plenty of stuff for the kids to do. There’s lots of things that are done. We provide an environment that is free of ticks and mosquitoes. That’s the primary.
Dennis Corrigan: But every once in a while, we got to take care of spiders or stinkbugs and that type of stuff, all on our list. Mosquito Joe kills the mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. But there’s 20 other small crawling and flying pests that we also take care of. So it makes it nice to be out there. Who wants to be in an environment, bonding with their family, at a fire pit, and then have to worry about all the bugs swarming around? [crosstalk 00:08:04].
ST Billingsley: So you also do something with the fields for kids, such as the playing fields?
Dennis Corrigan: Yes. And so, one of our other ones is the Haymarket Gainesville Grizzly Football Complex. They have synthetic fields that the kids can play football on. But they have practice fields all around the complex. And so, we take care of the all natural environment that’s around those big football fields. And that way the kids can be out there practicing. The spectators can watch the games without fear because the entire complex is surrounded by heavily forested, wooded bushes, trees, areas, and stuff. So it makes it nice for the parents and the little kids who aren’t playing football to watch the games. And it makes it easier for the kids to practice and get ready for their games without having to worry about getting bitten. So it works out great for everyone concerned.
ST Billingsley: Yes. And we love it when the businesses here in Prince William County are actually involved with the community to help make it a better place, whatever that might be. Yes, you have a business that you need to make sure is thriving. But you’re also giving back to the community right here. And that’s great. And you’re also a veteran?
Dennis Corrigan: I am a veteran. I’m retired Navy officer, I was a pilot for 25 years. When I retired, I started to build simulators with companies. And then retired from that. And then I got into this business because my own children were putting deep products directly on the skin of my grandchildren, when I could make that a much safer environment. Not that I don’t advise putting any kind of pest control solutions on your clothing to protect you. Go on a golf course, there’s nothing I can do for you, as Mosquito Joe. But you can spray that stuff on your clothing and not have to worry about it. But Mosquito Joe provides a much less hazard to getting rid of those types of things.
ST Billingsley: So you really got into this business really because of worry about your own family?
Dennis Corrigan: Family. That’s right. And I found that it was so great for them that we decided to buy the franchise from the corporate headquarters, which is in Virginia Beach, and also run by other military guys who put this thing together. So it was a natural. What’s also interesting, from my point of view, is that to be in this regulated environment means that you have to have certain certifications. So nobody in my company can go out and do this job without being registered with Commonwealth of Virginia. I, in particular, am a public health, commercial certified applicator.
Dennis Corrigan: So I like to go around to, especially, daycares and that type of stuff. And I take my show and tell stuff to teach kids about what the hazard is, what it looks like. I don’t talk to them about what lyme disease or west nile is. I talk to them about the bugs. The staff also needs to know about this. Not everybody comes from a rural environment. Doesn’t always look for where the mosquitoes might be biting, or the ticks might be hiding. And everybody knows where it is on the dog, but nobody knows where to look necessarily on the human.
Dennis Corrigan: And there are other things that we try and do to just make it aware. We don’t just sell our services. We also teach people how to reduce the hazard, things that they can do in and around their yard. Things like making sure that a cup isn’t sitting on the fence somewhere, and it’s full of water. And now, three days later, it’s got 300 eggs from a mosquito maturing to a full grown mosquito. So that’s what I like to do, is to make sure that everybody’s aware. I’m not always trying to sell Mosquito Joe. I’m trying to sell, we all ought to be safe, and be in this environment, and not have to worry about getting sick.
ST Billingsley: Well, thank you very much for your service to the country. Thank you very much for supporting our community in the way that you do. We love local businesses that are supporting our community. And actually looking forward to talking to you again in the future about just other things you have going on.
Dennis Corrigan: Okay. I would love to do that.
ST Billingsley: Thank you very much for being with us today.
Dennis Corrigan: Thank you. Thank you very much.
ST Billingsley: And thank you for being with us on Community Conversations with What’s Up Prince William.
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