Where Are All the Mosquitoes This Summer?

Mosquito biting a person
It's summer, which means mosquitoes are ready for their close-ups.

Global Panorama / Flickr / CC by 2.0

It’s Memorial Day, the official kickoff of backyard grilling season. You’re ready ... and so are the mosquitoes.

Two new studies — both conducted by pest control companies — claim to have insight on where in the United States mosquitoes are the peskiest. Bug-killing company Orkin says Atlanta is the busiest based on customers serviced for the tiny bloodsuckers. Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Charlotte and Nashville round out the top 10.

On the flip side, the insect-zappers at Terminix scoured Twitter to see where people complained the most about mosquitoes. Although people in large cities ranted about the annoying pests, when evaluated per capita, it was the small towns that won out in the complaint department.

The top whiners were in Goodland, Kansas, followed by Safford, Arizona; Bowling Green, Ohio; Petoskey, Michigan; and Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The top 10 also includes Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as well as Bemidji, Minnesota; Shawnee, Oklahoma; Paragould, Arkansas; and London, Kentucky.

But when mosquitoes are bothering you, do you grab your phone and immediately start tweeting? Or are you too busy swatting, cursing and running for cover?

It doesn't matter if you live in Atlanta or Goodland. Regardless of where you live, even a handful of uninvited mosquitoes is enough to ruin a barbecue. And mosquitoes can be more than just irritating. They can transmit serious illnesses such as West Nile virus and the newer chikungunya virus.

If mosquitoes seem to think you are incredibly tasty, here are some tips to keep the irksome insects at bay.

Repel mosquitoes naturally. Eliminate standing water, trim weeds and grass, and use strategically placed fans to blow the weak-flying bugs away.

Use insect repellent. Despite the efforts above, sometimes you still need bug spray. The Centers for Disease Control recommends using products containing DEET. Use it sparingly and wash up when you come inside.

Plan around the bugs' schedule. What about an early or late picnic? Peak mosquito biting hours are from dusk to dawn, so avoid going outside then or know that's when you need extra spray.

Cover up. One obvious way to keep mosquitoes from biting is to keep them from reaching your skin. The American Mosquito Control Association suggests wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants outside during peak mosquito activity periods.

Lighten up. Dark-colored clothing attracts mosquitoes. If you wear red, navy blue or black, it's like waving a flag, calling them over. Wear white or light colors instead.