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What A Pest: Chicago Is #2 City For Mosquitoes

By Selena Fragassi in News on May 18, 2015 2:45PM

In news that really bites, Chicago has just been listed at #2 for the Top 20 Mosquito Cities, just behind Atlanta. The rankings were recently released by pest controller Orkin and sorted by “the number of mosquito customers serviced in 2014.” Outside of a couple spots in Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio, Chicago is one of the sole Midwestern cities to be plagued by the insect according to the results; in fact, the Southeast is the hardest hit with nine regional cities claiming spots.

But experts profiled in the story are quick to point out that more than just being a blood-sucking nuisance, mosquitoes can also pose some health concerns.

“Mosquitoes can be a major health concern during the summer, no matter where you live,” said Entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “Their bites can cause allergic reactions and spread diseases, which means families need to take precautions against mosquitoes when outdoors in their own yards and around their communities, as well as when they travel.”

In addition to West Nile virus, there’s a new disease coming to light called chikungunya virus that the CDC upgraded to a “nationally notifiable condition” in the U.S. just this year, though the species of mosquito that helps to transmit it are mostly native to the Southeast and the Caribbean—but be forewarned if you travel this summer. Like West Nile, symptoms are fever and joint pain and there is no vaccine or cure to prevent or fully treat it. That has experts emphasizing prevention tips to stop it at the source. Here are Orkin’s recommendations for steps to take, especially in June, July and August when conditions are ripe for increased mosquito populations.

-Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent before heading outside.
-Wear long sleeves and pants outside from dawn to dusk, which is prime time for most mosquito activity.
-Empty any standing water from birdbaths and flower planters as well as outdoor toys and playground equipment to help prevent water from collecting. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to breed.
-Clean gutters and downspouts regularly or cover them with mesh to help prevent leaves and debris from collecting and holding water.
-Make sure screens around the home, both on windows and doors, fit tightly and have no holes to help keep mosquitoes from making their way inside.
-Eliminate standing water inside the home that may attract mosquitoes to spaces like kitchen sinks and pet bowls.