Mosquitoes bugging you? If you think you have it bad and live anywhere other than Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, or Houston – just know that it could be worse.
These are the top five cities in Orkin’s list of Top Mosquito Cities, with Atlanta taking the top spot for the second year in a row. The list ranks cities by the number of mosquito customers serviced in 2014. Be particularly thankful if you live outside the Southeast, because nine of the Top 20 cities are in the Southeast – more than that of any other region.
The Top 20 Mosquito Cities are:
- Atlanta, Ga.
- Chicago, Ill.
- Washington DC
- Detroit, Mich.
- Houston, Texas
- Raleigh – Durham, N.C.
- Boston, Mass.
- Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Nashville, Tenn.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Grand Rapids – Kalamazoo – Battle Creek, Mich.
- Miami – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Richmond – Petersburg, Va.
- Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minn.
- New York, N.Y.
- Cleveland – Akron, Ohio
- Greenville – Spartanburg, S.C., Asheville, N.C.
- Albany – Schenectady – Troy, N.Y.
- Knoxville, Tenn.
Additionally, Orkin notes that June, July and August are prime mosquito months in most areas. Because of warmer temperatures in the southern part of the United States, the season can extend from April to October, but mosquitoes affect people in every state in the U.S.
“Mosquitoes can be a major health concern during the summer, no matter where you live,” said Entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D.
“Their bites can cause allergic reactions and spread diseases, which means families need to take precautions against mosquitoes when outdoors in their own yards and around their communities, as well as when they travel.”
Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and other conditions that cause encephalitis — or swelling of the brain — as well as a relatively new virus in the United States called chikungunya virus.
Mosquitoes become infected with chikungunya virus when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) upgraded chikungunya virus to a “nationally notifiable condition” in the United States, providing state and local health departments with standard definitions for reporting and tracking cases. So far this year, the more than 70 reported American cases of chikungunya virus occurred in travelers returning from the Caribbean and other affected areas outside the U.S. In 2014 more than 2,400 cases were reported in travelers and nearly a dozen locally-transmitted cases were reported in Florida.
The two mosquito species that can spread the chikungunya virus – Asian tiger and yellow fever mosquitoes — are common in the Southeast United States and parts of the Southwest. Unlike other species, the Asian tiger and yellow fever mosquitoes are active throughout the day, not just at dusk and dawn, and often live around buildings in urban areas.
Prevention is Key: The CDC lists the common symptoms of chikungunya virus as fever and joint pain. Much like West Nile virus, there is no vaccine or cure for chikungunya virus, so preventing mosquito bites is the only protection against the virus.
Protect Against Mosquitoes
Orkin recommends the following tips to help protect against mosquito bites:
- Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent before heading outside.
- Wear long sleeves and pants outside from dawn to dusk, which is prime time for most mosquito activity.
- Empty any standing water from bird baths, flower planters as well as toys and playground equipment outside the home to help prevent water from collecting. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water – just a few inches – to breed.
- Clean gutters and downspouts regularly or cover them with mesh to help prevent leaves and debris from collecting and holding water.
- Make sure screens around the home, both on windows and doors, fit tightly and have no holes to help keep mosquitoes from making their way into the house.
- Eliminate standing water inside the home that may attract mosquitoes to spaces like kitchen sinks and pet bowls.