Here’s some annoyingly buzzy news: Houston ranks high on two new lists of the U.S. cities that combat the worst problems with mosquitoes.
It's a serious issue for Houston, which made national news last year during a massive war against post-Harvey mosquitos. Harris County's aerial bombardments treated more than two million acres of Harris and other counties — more than 10 times the size of New York City.
There's not much relief from mosquitos in Texas: Dallas captures the unwanted No. 1 spot, the second year in a row that Dallas-Fort Worth has topped the annual list of mosquito trouble spots issued by pest control company Terminix.
Houston, at No. 4, isn't far far behind DFW in the top 25 on the new Terminix list. Meanwhile, San Antonio appears at No. 12 and Austin at No. 20.
In a ranking released in May 2018 by Orkin, a Terminix rival, Houston was No. 7 on the list among the country’s 50 worst cities for mosquitoes. DFW showed up at No. 2, Atlanta grabbed the top spot, with Austin at No. 20 and San Antonio at No. 37.
Orkin based its ranking on the number of new mosquito customers served from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.
“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,” Terminix says.
Terminix based its 2018 ranking on the number of mosquito services it provided from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018.
So, why does DFW hold the distinction of being No. 1 for 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 Orkin.
Muggy, swampy weather has sent many Houstonians 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.