Call the swat team

Austin slapped with spot on new list of worst U.S. cities for mosquitoes

Austin slapped with spot on list of worst U.S. cities for mosquitoes

Mosquito that carries chikungunya virus
See ya, suckers. Photo courtesy of CDC

Here’s some annoyingly buzzy news: Austin is among the U.S. cities that combat the worst problems with mosquitoes.

“While many may think of mosquitoes as little more than a nuisance, these pests can transmit serious diseases, including West Nile and malaria, prompting the World Health Organization to name the mosquito the world’s deadliest animal,” says pest control company Terminix in a new report.

Terminix based its 2018 ranking on the number of mosquito services it provided from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018. Overall, Austin took the No. 20 spot. 

For the second year in a row, Dallas topped the annual list of mosquito trouble spots issued by the pest control company. Houston follows at No. 4 and San Antonio appears at No. 12. 

So, why do so many Texas cities have mosquito woes?

“Mosquitoes may be heavier in one part of the country due to a number of factors, including climate, available breeding sites such as standing water, and other conditions that would be favorable for mosquito development,” says Doug Webb, manager of technical services at Terminix. “Mosquito development can vary from year to year based on normal variations in annual weather patterns.”

Texas officials have been trying for years to swat away the state’s mosquito menace.

According to a March 2018 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas landed in the top 20 percent for states with the most cases of mosquito-borne illnesses from 2004 to 2016. Last year, Texas reported 135 cases of mosquito-borne West Nile illness that resulted in six deaths, the Texas Department of State Health Services says.

This is an especially bad time of year for mosquitoes. Breeding season typically runs from July through September, while peak West Nile virus season normally goes from late August through September or even October, according to pest control company Orkin.

Recent heavy rains in Dallas-Fort Worth have sent many people running for the mosquito swatter and chemical repellent. Here are a few tried-and-true alternative devices and treatments you can use to keep mosquitoes at bay.