CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A pest control company says Charlotte is one of the worst cities in the nation for mosquitoes.
Orkin ranked cities by the number of mosquito treatments performed -- and Charlotte came in at number nine.
All but one city in the top 10 are in the southeast.
Atlanta topped the list and Raleigh came in at number five.
The cities are ranked by the number of mosquito treatments the company performed in 2013.
3. Washington, D.C.
10. Dallas-Fort Worth
12. Miami-Fort Lauderdale
13. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek
15. Columbus, Ohio
17. Huntsville-Decatur, Alabama
18. Minneapolis-St. Paul
19. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News
Mosquitoes are one of the world's most dangerous pests, affecting humans and animals alike. Internationally, they can transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever through their bites.
In the United States, mosquitoes are known to transmit West Nile virus and other illnesses that can cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. In 2013, more than 2,300 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six of Orkin's top 20 mosquito cities are in states – Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas and New York – that saw some of the highest incidence rates of West Nile in 2013.
Mosquito bites can also transmit heartworm disease in pet animals like cats and dogs.
"Temperatures are rising, and that means the mosquito population will soon be on the rise too," said Orkin Technical Services Director Kim Kelley-Tunis. "There is no telling how large this year's population will be or how severe the nation's West Nile virus cases could become. That's why it's important for families to start taking precautions against mosquitoes now."
June, July and August are prime mosquito months in most areas due to warmer temperatures, but the season can stretch through October.
Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent mosquitoes around the home:
- Make sure to apply an EPA-approved insect repellent before heading outside.
- Wear long sleeves and pants outside at dawn and dusk, which is prime time for mosquito activity.
- Empty any standing water from bird baths, flower planters as well as toys and playground equipment outside the home to 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 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 keep mosquitoes from making their way into the house.
- Eliminate standing water inside the home that may attract mosquitoes to spaces like kitchen sinks and pet bowls.
For more information about mosquito prevention, visit Orkin.com.
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