Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance, but they are also dangerous because they both carry and transmit diseases.
June, July and August are prime months for mosquitoes in most areas of the U.S. but in southern parts of the country, the season can extend from April to October.
The Zika Virus is making its way through Latin America and the Caribbean. “The World Health Organization estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in the Americas in the next year, according to a recent report.
Take precaution – most mosquitoes need hot and humid conditions to proliferate, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t encountered in dry environments as well.
Orkin Pest Control has locations all over the country. With the help of their 2015 Top Mosquito Cities report, I have compiled a list of the worst cities for mosquitoes. The rankings are based on the number of customers who bought mosquito control services from Orkin.
Atlanta is the worst city in the U.S. for mosquitoes for the third year in a row. According to WSB-TV Atlanta, there are about 65 kinds of mosquitoes that live in Georgia. Due to the large amount of rainfall there, more and more mosquitoes continue to develop. “We’re seeing the Asian tiger mosquito, a container breeding mosquito, where the female lays eggs at the water’s surface in buckets, tires, anywhere holding water,” says Atlanta Magazine.
In 2015 surveillance confirmed 171 adult mosquito samples positive for the West Nile Virus in DuPage County, according to the City of West Chicago. Mosquitos are found in high grass areas and neglected swimming pools. The DuPage County Heath Department also advises residents to report dead birds on their property; this can be an indicator of West Nile Virus.
According to the Washington Post, residents are taking precaution and mosquito-control companies are saying that business is booming. They also explain that, although there have been no confirmed cases of the mosquito-transmitted Zika Virus in the continental U.S., the chances of them hitting the Washington area have increased.
There are 51 types of mosquitoes in New York. According to cntraveler.com, “a cousin of the Aedes aegyptimosquito, called Aedes albopictus, currently resides in New York City and has the ability to transmit the Zika virus.” The city has been monitoring populations and conducting activities to reduce the number of mosquitoes, according to the Office of the Mayor. It is advised that residents remove standing water to ward off mosquitoes.
Officials from City of Dallas are doing everything they can to prevent and stop the spreading of mosquitoes. They are monitoring known breeding sites, enforcing City Codes and trapping mosquitoes quickly. According to a study some of the most common species of mosquitoes found in Texas include the Aedes aegypi which lives in artificial containers, the Anopheles punctipennis which lives in woodland pools, and the Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus which lives in salt marches.
Nashville has gone up on Orkin’s list when ranking the number of customers serviced in 2014 – they went from number 10 to 7. Considering the 56 cases of West Nile virus in 2002, residents are showing more concern this year. The TN Department of Health advises everyone to limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, empty any water holding containers, turn over plastic wading pools when not in use and keep swimming pools properly chlorinated.
Although no cases of the Zika virus have been reported in North Carolina, the Mecklenburg County health officials are taking precautions. The Charlotte Observer reports that every year the health department hires approximately 10 temporary employees to assist with mosquito control, but this year extra workers are hired to “help respond to citizen complaints about standing water.”
Raleigh tends to rain a lot and get very humid in the summertime, causing mosquitoes to swarm the area. This year alone RDU has recorded more than 7 inches of rain above the normal average, according to Capitol Pest Services. Water-filled objects give mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs, so it is important to go outdoors and empty containers after it rains.
So far in 2016, the Boston Globe says, the summer drought has helped keep mosquitoes away, as they don’t usually thrive in dry, hot weather. However, there is one species that doesn’t mind the weather conditions – the kind that carries the West Nile virus. “West Nile has been detected in seven mosquito populations sampled this summer: five in Worcester at the start of the month, and then in Brookline and Falmouth, according to the public health department,” according to the paper.
In 2015, mosquitoes invaded three weeks earlier than usual, according to News Channel 3 WREG Memphis. The weather was wet and warm and the majority of mosquito problems were found along the Mississippi River. This year, they explain, “the Shelby County Health Department has found mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus inside county limits.”
Mosquitoes love to live in Houston because of its warm and humid environment. Harris County is making mosquito control one of their top priorities in 2016; they are setting traps across Houston to search for signs of the Zika virus, according to npr. A report on June 29 claims in Houston, a total of 11 people have tested positive for the Zika virus.
Miami is home to around 45 species of mosquitoes, one of which is the almost year-round population of Aedes aegypti – the mosquito capable of transmitting Zika. On July 22, npr explained Florida’s Department of Health is trapping mosquitoes and testing them for the Zika virus. 91 people have been infected by the disease since February, according to the Miami Herald.
Many people are concerned about mosquito activity in this city due to reports of the Zika virus. The City of Portsmouth says that “there are over 65 different species of mosquitoes found in VA/NC. Over 20 of these species are found regularly in the City of Portsmouth,” and 10-15 problem species are possible vectors for diseases including EEE, West Nile Virus and heartworm disease in dogs.
Formally at number 12, Grand Rapids fell down to number 15 on Orkin’s list of The 20 Worst Mosquito Cities in the U.S. in 2015. Michigan, in general, had a wet spring and is encountering a warm summer. Therefore, mosquitoes will be swarming. But the good news is that “experts say the chance of Zika virus becoming established in northern states such as Michigan is practically non-existent,” according to Detroit Free Press.