Mosquitoes are Art Church’s business, and this year the Zika virus is commanding a lion’s share of the attention.
“We’ve had an uptick in customers, especially once they find out they’re pregnant or they’ve been traveling,” said Church, who owns Mosquito Wizard in Cary.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré. It has reached the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
Church believes it’s only a matter of time before the Aedes mosquito makes its way to the mainland.
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“I do feel comfortable that it is going to jump the border,” says Church. “With the massive amounts of flooding in Texas, I think Houston will be Ground Zero.”
Mosquito Wizard provides barrier treatment that rids a yard of mosquitoes for up to 21 days. Church says he has had parents call from out of state and hire him to treat their pregnant daughter’s yard.
“It really does work,” he says. “It’s 100 percent safe and an effective option to be able to enjoy your back yard without a bunch of bug sprays or candles. I always say you can go to Harris Teeter and buy two steaks and a bottle of wine, but you can’t go cook it because of the mosquitoes.”
The spray is odorless and colorless. A treatment takes about 15 minutes to apply. It is safe for pets and children.
“Nobody needs to be home,” Church says. “Within 45 minutes, you start seeing a difference.
“It’s 100 percent guaranteed for 21 days, which is the life cycle of a mosquito. It’s a barrier, and the mosquitoes will not cross that barrier.”
Technicians look for areas of standing water and use the tip, tilt and turn method, he said.
“Customers can do that at home to protect themselves without having to have the service,” he said. “Mosquitoes lay 10,000 eggs in a teaspoon of water. And they do it every 21 days. It’s a nasty little critter.”
Church says his rate for repeat customers is nearly 90 percent. The mosquito season runs from April through October.
“Once you have it, you don’t go back to not having it,” he said.
Cary, a lifelong Cary resident, launched Mosquito Wizard late in 2012. With a background in construction, he wanted a job that required physical labor and working outdoors, though he admits the company’s growth has him spending more time manning the office.
“My wife and I put as many eggs as we had left in a basket and started with eight customers who were family and friends,” he said.
That was four years ago. Now, the company has reached 300 customers.
“We started small and it has been a lot of fun to watch it grow,” he said. “There have also been a lot of headaches. The first year I did 500 things wrong and 100 things right.
“The surprise we have had is the relationship we have developed with customers. They are no longer considered clients. They are now friends.”
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About Mosquito Wizard
Location: 139 E. Chatham St., Cary
Contact: 919-825-1209, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday