There’s some buzz going around Texas: Houston may not be the buggiest city. Thumbtack, a home management app that connects owners with service providers, took note of its bug-related service requests, and ranked Austin the fourth buggiest city in the United States, followed by Houston at No. 5. Dallas made the top slot, if you can call that making it.
A quick note about methodology: Austin may be more bugged by insects than buggy overall. This data came entirely from consumers on Thumbtack, requesting “pest control, pest inspection, bed bug extermination, and outdoor pesticide application.” Those numbers were adjusted for population and ranked across an unspecified number of states. If Austin has fewer bugs than Houston, it just wants to get rid of them more.
Thumbtack calculated a national average of $50-200 per household on extermination services, but before spending that, residents can consider cheap, nontoxic solutions like diatomaceous earth (fossilized plankton) and neem oil. Be gentle on spiders and pollinators — which includes lots of flying insects that aren’t bees — and don’t panic when the heat sends a few more buggies into your air-conditioned home.
“Keep bugs out all summer by turning on a dehumidifier, eliminating standing water in your yard and garden and by keeping screenless windows shut,” said Thumbtack home expert David Steckel in a press release. Bug control doesn’t always mean waging war, either. “Hiring a bug control professional can help identify areas for improvement and provide you with regular maintenance to avoid problems down the line.”
The Top 10 Buggiest Cities in the U.S., according to Thumbtack, are:
3. Washington, D.C.
6. Miami-Fort Lauderdale
7. West Palm Beach, Florida
9. Orlando, Florida
10. Tampa, Florida
Texas towns are slightly outnumbered by those in Florida on the list, yet Texas still fell far below Florida on a CNBC list of best places to live, where the Lone Star State ranked second-to-last. Austin is also known for its naked gardening, according to Lawn Starter, so if this isn’t enough incentive to cover up, let this study be a hint to keep that aloe growing.