by Brianna Crandall — June 29, 2018 — For the fifth year in a row, the Atlanta area tops pest control provider Orkin’s Top 50 Mosquito Cities list, released in May. Atlanta is followed on the list by Dallas, which jumped four spots from last year, New York and Washington, DC. Texas holds the most spots on this year’s list with seven cities, followed by Florida and Louisiana with four cities each.
Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer stated:
Mosquitoes continue to be a major health concern, especially in the summer months. Mosquitos can transmit several diseases to humans including Zika virus, West Nile virus and several kinds of encephalitis. Each of these mosquito-borne diseases may have serious side effects.
Mosquito season starts when spring temperatures arrive, and they are most active in temperatures above 80 degrees. Breeding season is usually July through September, while peak West Nile virus season is usually not until late August through September or even October in some areas. Temperatures need to be around freezing before mosquitoes will start to die off for the winter.
Orkin’s Top 50 Mosquito Cities list ranks metro areas by the number of new mosquito customers served from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018. The list includes both residential and commercial treatments.
- Atlanta, GA
- Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX (+4)
- New York, NY (+1)
- Washington, DC (-2)
- Chicago, IL (-2)
- St. Louis, MO (+20)
- Houston, TX
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL (-3)
- Kansas City, MO (+15)
- Charlotte, NC (-1)
- Detroit, MI (-3)
- Memphis, TN (+2)
- Nashville, TN (-3)
- Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL (-3)
- Raleigh-Durham, NC (+2)
- Los Angeles, CA (+13)
- Philadelphia, PA (+4)
- Birmingham, AL (+18)
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL (-7)
- Austin, TX (+17)
- Mobile-Pensacola, FL (-6)
- Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI (-4)
- Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA (-10)
- Indianapolis, IN (+11)
- Phoenix, AZ (-5)
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY (+8)
- Lafayette, LA (+5)
- Baton Rouge, LA (+12)
- New Orleans, LA (-2)
- Richmond-Petersburg, VA (-7)
- Greenville-Spartanburg, SC, Asheville, NC (-9)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (-2)
- Boston (-14)
- Wichita-Hutchinson, KA (+40)
- Tulsa, OK (+14)
- Hartford-New Haven, CT (-5)
- San Antonio, TX (+2)
- Springfield, MO (+79)
- Abilene-Sweetwater, TX (+18)
- Oklahoma City, OK (+48)
- Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX (+15)
- Baltimore, MD (-14)
- Huntsville-Decatur, AL (+10)
- Shreveport, LA (-2)
- Portland-Auburn, ME (+17)
- Knoxville, TN (-13)
- Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH (-22)
- West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL (-32)
- Bangor, ME (-4)
- Harlingen-Brownsville-McAllen-Weslaco, TX (+21)
It should be noted that the list does not measure total calls to all pest control providers, so different providers may list other cities as having a higher number of treatments. Also, some places known for their swarms of mosquitoes conduct widespread public spraying through mosquito-control programs, such as the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District around the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area in Minnesota, which may affect their ranking on the list.
Although the spread of Zika virus in the US has significantly decreased, from 5,168 cases in 2016 to 433 cases in 2017, it remains a concern as there is no treatment, cure or vaccine for the virus, points out Orkin. One of the best strategies for eliminating mosquito-borne diseases is to reduce populations of the mosquitos that spread them.
Below are the most common mosquitoes in the US:
- Aedes aegypti mosquitoes: The Aedes aegypti (commonly called the yellow fever mosquito) mosquito can carry and spread Zika virus and has been found in more than 20 states from coast to coast. Unlike other mosquito species, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
- Culex mosquitoes: These mosquitoes are in every state and can carry and spread West Nile virus. They are most common at dusk and dawn.
- Anopheles mosquitoes: In addition to spreading malaria, which has been considered eradicated from the United States, Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit dog heartworm and other viruses. They have been found in every state and are most active at dusk and dawn.
Reducing items that attract mosquitoes and actively working to prevent them from reproducing and moving inside the residence or building are the best protection from mosquito bites, advises Orkin.
After mating, females typically seek a blood meal to aid in egg production. She often lays them in standing pools of water. Egg numbers vary from species to species but can be as much as over 100 eggs in a single laying.
Orkin recommends the following tips to help protect against mosquitoes:
Eliminate mosquito-friendly conditions on the exteriors of residences and buildings, in landscaped areas, and around campuses
- Any object that has the potential to hold water should be removed or cleaned out frequently, as mosquitoes can breed in just an inch of standing water.
- Clean gutters to avoid rainwater buildup. Be sure to check for puddles that form on the roof from rain water, leaking pipes or even condensation from air conditioners.
- Change water weekly in bird baths, fountains, potted plants and any containers that hold standing water.
- Keep pool water treated and circulating.
- Trim shrubbery, as adult mosquitoes like to rest in dark areas with high humidity, such as under the leaves of lush vegetation.
Eliminate entry points
- Inspect doors and windows for drafts or openings around their perimeters and window air-conditioning units. Install weather stripping around doors and utilize caulk around window frames.
- Ensure that window screens are securely in place and free of holes or tears.
- Keep doors tightly closed. A propped-open door is a welcome mat for mosquitoes to enter a building.
Prevent mosquitoes from biting
- Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing.
- Apply an EPA-registered mosquito repellent containing products such as DEET, picaridin or IR3535.
For more mosquito information and prevention tips, visit Orkin’s Mosquitoes page. Founded in 1901, the Atlanta-based company offers essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. The company operates in more than 400 locations around the world, with almost 8,000 employees, and collaborates with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats.
Visit the CDC’s Zika website for the latest information on known Zika-affected areas and updated travel alerts.