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D.C. not the buggiest metro area in America

Tuesday - 5/29/2012, 5:09pm  ET

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D.C. ranked 18th in a study of buggiest U.S. metro areas. Tampa, Fla. took the top spot. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON - D.C. residents take heart. There are worse places to be when it comes to mosquitoes.

The OFF! Buggiest Cities Survey recently ranked the top 50 U.S. metro areas most affected by mosquitoes and biting bugs.

Topping the list was Tampa, Fla., followed by New Orleans, La. and Houston, Texas. Virginia Beach, Va. took fifth place on the list. D.C. ranked 18th on the list.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed would rather go inside than deal with mosquitoes. Thirty four percent of Richmond, Va. resident said they wouldn't go outside without bug spray.

The study was conducted by research firm Sperling's BestPlaces using climate conditions, marketing data on where residents are spending the most on pest control, Google search engine results and a BestPlaces.net survey. The nationwide poll collected more than 5,600 responses between February 20-23, 2012.

The American Mosquito Control Association warns mosquitoes are biting earlier this year because of the mild winters and the rainfall in recent months.

The group says the public should follow "the 3 D's":

  • Drain - Empty out water containers at least once per week.
  • Dress - Wear long sleeves, long pants and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Defend - Properly apply an approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.

The association also lists things that mosquitoes are more attracted to:

  • Bigger people produce more mosquito attractants, such as CO2 and lactic acid.
  • Active or fidgety people also produce more CO2 and lactic acid.
  • Mosquitoes prefer women over men because of the difference in hormones produced by the sexes.
  • Blondes tend to be more attractive than brunettes.
  • Smelly feet are more attractive.
  • Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes.
  • Movement increases mosquito biting up to 50 percent in research labs.
  • A full moon increased mosquito activity 500 percent in one study.

Below is the complete list of buggiest cities:

  1. Tampa, Fla.
  2. New Orleans
  3. Houston
  4. Virginia Beach, Va.
  5. Miami
  6. Memphis, Tenn.
  7. Birmingham, Ala.
  8. Atlanta
  9. Jacksonville, Fla.
  10. Richmond, Va.
  11. Charlotte, N.C.
  12. Nashville, Tenn.
  13. Orlando, Fla.
  14. San Antonio, Texas
  15. Raleigh, N.C.
  16. Austin, Texas
  17. Dallas
  18. Washington, D.C.
  19. Baltimore
  20. Louisville, Ky.
  21. Providence, R.I.
  22. Oklahoma City
  23. Philadelphia
  24. Milwaukee
  25. Kansas City

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Tags: mosquitoes