With Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, right around the corner, pest control leader Orkin urges people to protect themselves when spending time outdoors. As temperatures continue to increase, so will the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika virus, West Nile virus and Chikungunya virus.
“Mosquitoes are a major health concern during the summer,” said Ron Harrison, Ph.D., entomologist and Orkin technical services director. “Mosquitoes are known carriers of several diseases, so people across the United States need to take precaution to help prevent mosquito bites,” Harrison added.
Zika virus has become a major concern over the past year after thousands of cases were reported in South and Central America, the Caribbean and American Samoa, and more than 500 travel-related cases were reported in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There is no vaccine for Zika virus, Chikungunya virus or West Nile virus. The only protection is preventing mosquito bites, so anyone who spends time outdoors during the spring and summer months needs to take precaution by eliminating standing water where mosquitoes can breed,” said Harrison.
In Orkin’s most recent Top 50 Mosquito Cities List, released in March, Atlanta took the top spot for the third year in a row. More cities in the Southeast made the list than any other region in the U.S. The list ranks cities by the number of mosquito customers serviced in 2015:
3. Washington, D.C.
5. New York (+9)
6. Dallas-Ft. Worth (+2)
7. Nashville, Tenn. (+3)
8. Charlotte, N.C. (+1)
9. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-3)
10. Boston (-3)
11. Memphis, Tenn.
12. Houston (-7)
13. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
14. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.
15. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (-3)
16. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., Asheville, N.C. (+2)
17. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (+2)
18. Cleveland-Akron-Canton (-1)
19. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. (-4)
21. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-7)
22. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
23. Hartford-New Haven, Conn.
24. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.
25. Charleston, S.C.
26. Mobile-Pensacola, Fla.
28. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich.
29. Bangor, Maine
31. West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla.
32. Columbus, Ohio
33. Lansing, Mich.
34. Knoxville, Tenn.
35. Ft. Wayne, Ind.
36. Tulsa, Okla.
37. Baltimore, Md.
38. Greensboro-High Pt.-Winston-Salem, N.C.
39. Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y.
40. Portland-Auburn, Ore.
41. Buffalo, N.Y.
42. Shreveport, La.
43. New Orleans
44. LaFayette, La.
45. Cincinnati, Ohio
46. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C.
47. Birmingham, Ala.
48. Austin, Texas
49. Kansas City, Mo.
50. Macon, Ga
Mosquito season lasts throughout the summer and can continue through October in warmer parts of the country. Mosquitoes are active in every state in the U.S, and the type of mosquito that can carry and spread Zika virus is common across part of the U.S., shown in the map below.
Most Common Mosquitoes in the United States:
• Aedes Mosquitoes: The most common types of Aedes mosquitoes are commonly referred to as Asian tiger or yellow fever mosquitoes. They can carry and spread Zika virus, Chikungunya virus and Dengue virus. They are most common in the southern United States. Aedes mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and also bite at dusk and dawn.
• 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, these mosquitoes can transmit dog heart worm and other viruses. They have been found in every state and are most active at dusk and dawn.
Orkin recommends the following tips to help protect against mosquito-borne illnesses:
Eliminate Standing Water in Yard
• Remove standing water from gutters, buckets, toys and other containers, as mosquitoes can breed in just a few inches of standing water.
• Change water weekly in bird baths, fountains, potted plants and any containers that hold standing water.
• Keep pool water treated and circulating.
Prevent Mosquito Bites
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Use EPA-registered mosquito repellents containing one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or IR3535.
Eliminate Entry Points
• Use air-conditioning when possible.
• Close gaps around windows and in walls.
• Repair and use window and door screens to help prevent entry.
Rollins, Orkin’s parent company, experienced a 9.6 percent increase in mosquito revenue from 2014 to 2015.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control site for the latest information on known Zika-affected areas and updated travel alerts. For more information about Zika virus, visit Orkin’s Zika virus page. For more mosquito information and prevention tips, visit our Mosquitoes page.