Mary and Rich Crawford are the owners of the Mosquito Squad in Norfolk-Chesapeake VA. They are in their first season right now and we asked Mary “Why did you go with us?”

Mosquito Squad was the answer for me for many reasons.  First and foremost, I have three young children who are so important to me so I was looking for a great balance between being a Mom and having a career.  Mosquito Squad allows me to be my own boss and set my own schedule so I can be at home when my children get home from school.  I love the challenge and thrill of starting up my own business and trying to get as many customers as I can.  When I need help, I simply call “the mother ship” and they are always responsive and helpful.  It is comforting to know you have excellent support behind you!  I can’t say enough good things about everyone associated with Mosquito Squad.  We ( all the franchise owners)  have a great time together but more importantly, we are there for each other and actually do call each other for suggestions and help.  It is a great organization to be a part of,  Couldn’t be happier.

Mary Crawford

Mary’s Blog

I read a story in the Boston Globe a couple months ago about the lack of jobs for college graduates getting into the workforce. There are thousands of bright-eyed, entrepreneur-minded, young adults just starving to become successful in the current economy and without the ability to do so.

 Some of these folks are going back to school for their Master’s or Doctorate, mostly because they are waiting for the economy to turn around, but a select few are taking a different path. Many parents are beginning to invest in low cost franchise concept for their kids to become business owners. The idea is that for the same amount of money it would cost to send their son or daughter to get their graduate degree, they could be helping them in the real world with a new business that could create more opportunity than they dreamed of.

 The idea of hard working, young upstarts with the drive and the energy to get a small franchise business up and running has been gaining appeal. With the systems in place from the franchisor and new generation of people fully absorbed into the social media platform, these parents are able to provide something that many not only benefit they children, but generations to come.

Today's Students, Next Year's Entrepreneurs

 One of the businesses we represent, Mosquito Squad, is in that “low-investment franchise” category and a part of the Top 50 Low Cost Opportunities for 2009 by Franchise Business Review. With a home based business that has low overhead, a simple business model and low cost of entry, its not surprising that we are having younger entrepreneurs show an interest in this newer concept.

 As you are thinking about what to get your child this holiday season, think about what their goals are, after school, 5 and 10 years from now. Do they want to create a business that they can live off of, enjoy and one day sell or pass on? Are they majoring in marketing or business management and aren’t getting the job offers out of the gate? Then you may want to consider giving them the gift of entrepreneurial freedom.


As I follow Google news alerts on the keywords that surround our franchise businesses at Outdoor Living Brands, it seems that everyday lately a news feature appears on the Internet that makes me chuckle.

The Internet is filled with urban legends about how Lemon Fresh Joy dishwashing liquid, Avon Skin So Soft and Listerine mouthwash are just some of the household items that will help keep pesky mosquitoes away.

Not so much.

As the seriousness of mosquitoes spreading West Nile Virus and encephalitis in humans, and heartworms in dogs and cats exponentially increases, it’s time to take some serious action.

Mosquito Squad is an effective and dependable treatment that kills mosquitoes using an EPA-registered solution. Our clients enjoy barrier spray protection every 21 days as a Mosquito Squad professional fogs the area surrounding their home. Others choose Mosquito Squad’s 24/7 around the clock protection with the Mosquito Squad automatic misting system, with efficiently timed bursts throughout the landscape for continuous control.

To be even more diligent, we also recommend our clients to be proactive in avoiding situations, which can encourage mosquito activity. As female mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, it makes good sense to also take simple, preventive measures to keep mosquitoes at bay, for example:

Empty collected residual water in flowerpots, pet water bowls, swimming pool covers and other seasonal items left outdoors.

Clean out clogged gutters as collected water can produce large numbers of mosquitoes each season.

Aerate ornamental pools (air movement is a strong deterrent) or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become large mosquito hotbeds if they are allowed to become stagnant.

For more information on Mosquito Squad, call 877-MOSQUAD to speak with the mosquito control professional in your neighborhood. If there isn’t one yet, and you would like to find out how you can become one, call Outdoor Living Brands at 800-722-4668 and ask for Franchise Recruitment. On the web, you can visit or

I feel that every once in a while it’s necessary to let the people in internet land really know whats happening at Outdoor Living Brands HQ, here in Richmond Virginia. Getting a feel for the company you are gettting involved with is the key to any good discovery process, and we are no different.

On May 6, the Richmond franchises of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, Archadeck and Mosquito Squad will host a Grand Opening Event at the company’s headquarters on Emerywood Parkway. The company will present trend information on outdoor living as it relates to outdoor lighting design and installation, the design and build of innovative outdoor rooms and decks and mosquito, flea and tick elimination for outdoor spaces.

The event will serve as a unique networking opportunity for those involved in the outdoor living services industry in the Richmond area. Invitees are encouraged to attend and learn more about the Outdoor Living Brands family of companies and opportunities for building trade alliances.

Comprised of category-leading brands Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad, Outdoor Living Brands operates through more than 150 franchise locations worldwide with a dedication to innovation, high quality standards, customized service and gracious outdoor living. The company was founded in late 2008 by the merger of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Archadeck. The acquisition of the Mosquito Squad brand soon followed.

As I sit here on this warm, rainy evening, I can’t help but think about all the nooks and crannies collecting water around my property. From our potted plants to dimples on the crinkled grill cover. Tomorrow I will casually go around, turning  pots over, shaking out covers and preventing my land from becoming an itchy, annoying, mosquito breeding ground.

But in the current economy, there is a bigger problem than just these puddles in my home; with two “for sale” signs on my street, there are large unmaintained areas teaming with mosquitoes that end up disturbing the entire neighborhood. While I wish this problem was unique to me, this is a major issue throughout the country, either from foreclosed or empty homes.

In our area we have a local Mosquito Squad office, protecting our property from the nusience and diseases caused by mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. By eliminating the food source and killing these pesky insects, we can enjoy these warm spring nights in Virginia, and entertain outside into the evening.

Mosquito Squad is one of the few businesses out there that fairs well in any economic climate. With 20 franchises across the country and growing, it may be just the type of business opportunity  you are looking for to begin controlling your economic destiny. It’s the right concept at the right time for business owners and familes. If you are looking to protect your outdoors or would like to investigate buying a business in your area, check it out at

More than 40 people called the Columbia County Mosquito control office Monday with complaints about growing mosquito populations in the flood affected southern area of the county.

Columbia County mosquito control director Bill Lycan said the department also received close to 40 calls Friday and most were from the Three Rivers Estates area after the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe rivers overflowed their banks and left a large breeding area for mosquitoes. Lycan said on Monday that the county’s mosquito control spraying for the season isn’t scheduled to begin until May 4 but the department may have to begin the season early.

“The rest of the county is pretty dry, but it just depends on mosquito populations and funding,” he said. “We’re still waiting to find out what the state is going to give us in money. They may cut all of it out. Should that happen, I don’t know what the county’s position is going to be. That will be about 40 percent of our total funding for mosquito control.”

In addition to the funding issues, the local mosquito control department will operate dependent on the mosquito population with some new guidelines. An inspector from the Florida Department of Agriculture reviewed the local department Monday. That inspection will result in some changes at the local department. “They’re very much going to the letter of the law on the rules and we’ve got to change some things to even continue our program,” Lycan said. “Just because someone calls and says, ‘there are mosquitoes,’ we can’t use that to spray anymore — we’ve got to go out and verify that there is actually an increase in mosquito population.”

With the new rules in place, the department will send an employee out to do a landing rate count where the employee will go to the area, get out of the truck for one minute and count how many mosquitoes land on him in the allotted minute. That data will be compiled in a log and sent to the Department of Agriculture, showing there is sufficient cause to go spray.

“We can’t afford to buy traps and don’t have the personnel to set them out, collect them and recount those mosquitoes every morning,” Lycan said.

When the mosquito control department begins its local spraying program, it will utilize five trucks, which will run three nights a week, disbursing 30 gallons of mosquito insecticide each night.

“The people that are complaining the most are surrounded by water, but I can’t do anything for them until the water goes down,” Lycan said.

For the rest of us, there is an alternative- Mosquito Squad. By providing a pest & disease free environment in your back yard, you can protect your family and pets every day from nuisances and disease. Get your yard back with Mosquito Squad and start enjoying the outdoors again.

After a week of epic battle, Ashton Kutcher has beaten CNN Breaking News to the top of the Twitter heap, becoming the first Twitter user ever to reach 1,000,000 followers. Chock one up for the little guy? What’s really interesting though – at least relative to this blog – is whether his pledge to donate 10,000 anti-Malaria bed nets for World Malaria Day if he won had any impact on the results?


The contest started about a week ago, with Kutcher boasting that he could beat CNN to 1,000,000 followers, despite being tens of thousands of followers behind the cable network (not to mention about 50,000 behind Britney Spears). Larry King accepted the challenge and the battle royale began.


Kutcher pulled out all the stops on his path do victory, including getting video game maker Electronic Arts to put up a variety of prizes for the 1,000,000th follower, such as having that user immortalized as a character in their next edition of the Sims. When that was seen as tacky by some, however, Kutcher tried a different tactic and pledged to donate 10,000 anti-Malaria bed nets as part of World Malaria Day later this month. For good measure, he pledged to donate 1,000 either way. CNN quickly followed suit.


This morning at 2:13 am, Kutcher officially became the first Twitter user with 1,000,000 followers, with CNN only a couple thousand behind. Then the coolest thing happened: Ashton started mobilizing his celebrity community. In the last hour alone, he’s got his wife Demi Moore, Oprah, Ryan Seacrest, CNN to donate between 10,000 and 20,000 nets. It looks like P. Diddy might be next. If that’s not community mobilization, I don’t know what is.


It’s easy to be cynical about this, but what if we thought about it different. Changing the world is hard, and the responsibility we owe this planet and the billions of people we share it with should never be taken lightly. But there are lots of incredibly easy ways that even normal folks can save lives, and we should never let the difficult of the big picture stop us from making incremental change along the way.