WASHINGTON - Nothing ruins a nice summer day like a mosquito bite … or 10. It turns out that Washington D.C. is the third-highest city in the nation for mosquito calls, according to a survey released by Terminix on World Mosquito Day.
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 5.
"It's just constant," said Damien Sanchez, owner of Mosquito Squad in Sterling, Virginia.
The business services an average of 500 calls a day.
"This has been the most challenging year for mosquito control that I have had in the last 10 years," added Sanchez.
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," explained Sanchez.
In particular, studies show beer increased mosquito activity in some people.
Blood type is another factor.
"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 the winged creatures like - specifically the carbon dioxide. That is why pregnant women are more susceptible.
"Typically a pregnant woman exhales 21 percent more carbon dioxide than somebody who is not pregnant," said Sanchez.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to other things that can be detected in exhaling 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," said Sanchez. "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."