The World Health Organization describes mosquitoes as the world's deadliest animal. (Leonard E. Munstermann/Yale University)
The World Health Organization describes mosquitoes as the world's deadliest animal. (Leonard E. Munstermann/Yale University)

Washington, D.C., is the third-highest city in the nation for mosquito calls, according to results of a survey released by Terminix.

Dallas topped Terminix’s list for the second straight year while New York City ranked No. 2 on the list. D.C. was followed by Houston and Los Angeles to round out the top five.

“It’s just constant,” Damien Sanchez, owner of Mosquito Squad in Sterling, Virginia, told WTTG-TV (Channel 5).

The business services an average of 500 calls a day.

By using service data across more than 300 branches nationwide, Terminix identified 25 cities where residents had the highest number of mosquito services last year. The top 10 are the Dallas-Forth Worth region, New York City, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Memphis, Tenn., Chicago and Baltimore.

According to the World Health Organization, mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest “animal.”

“This has been the most challenging year for mosquito control that I have had in the last 10 years,” Sanchez said.

According to experts at Terminix, mosquitoes can lay an average of 100 mosquito eggs in a container the size of a bottle cap. Female mosquitoes can lay up to 3,000 eggs within a couple of weeks.

Mosquitoes can be active anytime the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and breeding sites can be anywhere, including containers such as soda bottle lids, gutters, tire swings, bird baths and other locations that collect standing, stagnant water.

Not only can mosquitoes cause welts, but they can carry pathogens that may cause disease like West Nile, experts said.

This year’s rain hampered control efforts and helped the population explode. And despite most people’s best efforts, they can’t help getting bit.

It may help some to know while some factors are controllable, others are out of your hands when it comes to how prone you are to mosquito bites.

“If you consume alcohol, you become more susceptible to mosquito bites,” Sanchez said.

In particular, studies show beer increased mosquito activity in some people.

Blood type is another factor, according to the WTTG report.

“If you’re Type O, you’re going to be much more attractive to mosquitoes,” Sanchez said.

Scientists say it has to do with the chemical makeup of the blood, but can’t say for certain why Type O is more desirable for female mosquitoes.

Do you feel like you get bit a lot while working out? It’s not your sweat, but your breath that the winged creatures like — specifically the carbon dioxide, which why pregnant women are more susceptible, Sanchez said.

“Typically a pregnant woman exhales 21 percent more carbon dioxide than somebody who is not pregnant,” he said.

Mosquitoes are also attracted to other things that can be detected in exhaled breath, like lactic acid and estrogen.

In addition, mosquitoes seek out things with heat signatures, like large crowds gathered outside or someone working out.

“Then the other challenge is that some people have a much bigger allergic reaction to it,” Sanchez said. “Somebody that doesn’t react to the mosquito bite isn’t necessarily going to feel like they got bit. And then there are people who get giant welts. They know they got bit so they are much more aware when they have a mosquito bite.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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1 Comment

  1. Why doesn’t DC have a spray program like NYC??? Montgomery Cty MD also.
    The baby Eaglet Valor who was euthanized because of west nile was an avoidable tragedy.
    I’m type O and was bitten in the one square inch of flesh I had uncovered.

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