ATLANTA, GA — This, Atlanta friends, is a title we would have been happy not to win. As the scent of citronella candles begins once again wafting through the air, Atlanta has been named the No. 1 city in the country for mosquitoes.
TruGreen, the lawn-care company, has compiled a list of the cities in the United States most plagued by those buzzing, sucking harbingers of spring. And Atlanta was ranked at the top of the list, edging out towns like Chicago, Dallas, Tampa and Washington D.C.
The ranking is based on the company’s analysis of customer sales data for its mosquito treatment service from January 2017 to December 2017. And it will come as no surprise to any metro Atlantan who has spent an entire cookout or ballgame slapping themselves bloody.
(For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here.)
"This year we specifically examined mosquitoes because beyond being a nuisance they also carry diseases that make them a health concern," said John Bell, an entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. "As the summer approaches, more families are enjoying time outside, and TruGreen knows protecting your family and friends from biting insects is a priority."
According to the company, mosquito-biting season can last 5-7 months depending upon where you are. Generally running from April to October, mosquitoes are most active when temperatures warm up.
Here’s TruGreen’s top 10 for 2018:
Atlanta, GAChicago, ILDallas / Ft. Worth, TexasBoston, MATrenton, NJDetroit, MIFt. Lauderdale, FLWashington, DCTampa, FLNashville, TN
It’s not the only time Atlanta has received the dubious honor of being the nation’s mosquito capitol. Last year, Atlanta topped pest-control company Orkin’s list of the Top 50 mosquito cities for the fourth year in a row.
Besides making life outdoors uncomfortable, mosquitoes are one of the world’s most dangerous pests, affecting humans and animals alike. Internationally, they have transmitted diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever through their bites. In the United States, mosquitoes are known to transmit West Nile virus and other illnesses that can cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
How To Avoid Mosquito Bites
Conventional mosquito repellents containing higher concentrations (23.8%) of DEET or picaridin offer the best protection, says WebMD. The EPA says mosquito repellents that contain DEET or picaridin are safe for adults and children over the age of 2 months, when used correctly.
But there are other options that are deemed "natural" because they are derived from natural materials such as plants. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a natural, plant-based oil that helps prevent mosquito bites, as are products that contain lower concentrations (6.65%) of DEET.
Citronella oil, popular in candles, hasn’t been proven effective at actually keeping the insects away, says the website, and the same is true for garlic ingested to ward off mosquitoes. (Do these "folk remedies" work for you? Let us know on social media or in the comments.)
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention offer these tips for avoiding possibly dangerous mosquito bites:
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
TruGreen offers the following tips for preventing a huge number of mosquitoes from showing up in the first place:
Remove or regularly replace standing water that accumulates in things like buckets and birdbaths where mosquitoes lay their eggs.Make sure your yard is free from piles of twigs, branches and leaves which provide safe harbor for mosquitoes.Keep your lawn well mowed and other vegetation trimmed to eliminate cool spots where mosquitoes like to hang out.Take the necessary precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and considering hiring a professional lawn care company to kill mosquitoes where they rest – in trees, shrubs, mulched areas and all types of ground cover.
Photo via Shutterstock