DC ranks No. 2 at zapping mosquitoes

WASHINGTON — D.C. has topped charts on many occasions: for being the most frugal city in America, for having terrible traffic, for being one of the nation’s best cities. Now, the District rises to the top once again — as the second best city in the U.S. at zapping mosquitoes.

Pest control company Orkin recently released its Top 50 Mosquito Cities list, ranking metro areas by the number of mosquito customers served between April 2016 and March 2017. Treatments included both residential and commercial services.

Atlanta took the top spot, but D.C. came in second, followed by Chicago and New York.

Below are the top 10 mosquito cities:

  1. Atlanta, Georgia
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. New York
  5. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  6. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
  7. Houston, Texas
  8. Detroit, Michigan
  9. Charlotte, North Carolina
  10. Nashville, Tennessee

“Female mosquitoes are attracted to a multitude of things, but the three major ones are carbon dioxide and heat when they are trying to find a blood source and moisture, usually in the form of standing water so they can lay their eggs,” Orkin entomologist Mark Beavers said in a news release.

Mosquitoes become more of a problem as temperatures rise, especially with concerns of the insects spreading the Zika virus.

Zika, one of the most notable illnesses that can be spread by mosquitoes, “will likely be a problem again this year, especially in areas where the type of mosquito that can carry the virus thrives,” Beavers said.

Though Zika-carrying mosquitoes have been found in more than 20 states across the United States, 90 percent of Americans think they are unlikely to contract the virus, according to a Gallup poll.

But the Center for Disease Control has confirmed more than 5,000 cases in the U.S. since January 2015, and more than 200 transmitted in the country.

Because there is “no treatment, cure or vaccine for Zika virus … the primary protection is avoiding mosquito bites,” said Beavers.

The following tips can help provide protection against mosquitoes.

Eliminate mosquito-friendly conditions in your yard

  • Remove standing water buckets, toys and other containers from yard.
  • Change water weekly in bird baths, fountains, potted plants and any containers.
  • Keep pool water treated and circulating.
  • Clean gutters regularly.
  • Trim shrubbery;  adult mosquitoes like to rest in dark areas with high humidity.

Prevent Mosquitoes from Biting

  • Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants; mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing.
  • Apply EPA-registered bug repellent containing products such as DEET, picaridin or IR3535.

Eliminate Entry Points

  • Use window and door screens to help prevent entry.
  • Close gaps around windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
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