Ah, those fleeting last days of summer. Maybe you’re out on a picnic with the family or sitting around the fire pit with friends in the evening, when you first feel that little itch on the underside of your calf. Then you have the urge to scratch your arm. That’s when you realize that your body has become a delectable feast for hordes of hungry mosquitoes. Gross.
And some cities are more likely to be inundated by the nasty, winged bloodsuckers than others. The National Pest Management Association released a list of the 10 cities where mosquitoes are expected to be on the rise this year—and it’s about to get itchy on the East Coast down through the Southeast, according to the Fairfax, VA–based trade group.
The cities expected to see the biggest boost in the bloodthirsty insects are Birmingham, AL; Chicago; Houston; Miami; Washington, DC; Charlotte, NC; Detroit; Jacksonville, FL; Philadelphia; and West Palm Beach, FL.
Residents of Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, should also be on high alert for ticks this year. These critters can spread Lyme disease, which can cause all kinds of serious health problems if untreated. Bet you’re wishing you lived on the West Coast right about now.
The association looked at weather patterns, rainfall, and temperatures in some of the nation’s largest cities. They compared them to previous years to figure out where there’s likely to be a rise in mosquitoes.
“Record temperatures and rainfall across many parts of the country have made it a great time to be a mosquito,” says Michael Bentley, director of training and education at the association. He explains that higher temperatures lead to larger mosquito populations. Rainfall is key, too, as all the pests need is about a half-inch of standing water to breed in.
“You’ve got this perfect storm, no pun intended, for mosquito populations to flourish,” he says.
And mosquitoes are more than just an annoyance. They can transmit nasty diseases such as the West Nile and Zika viruses.
“Mosquitoes are considered one of the most deadly organisms on Earth,” Bentley says.
To protect themselves, folks should slather on that bug repellant—but also wear long shirts, pants, and closed shoes. Bentley acknowledges that that may not be the most practical solution, though, as the mercury soars.
Homeowners should also try to eliminate standing water on their properties by dumping out the liquid accumulating in flowerpots and birdbaths at least once a week. They may also want to consider bringing in pest-control professionals, Bentley says.
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