MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's been a mild winter overall and that trend looks to continue into March.
If we don't get many hard freezes between now and the middle of spring, it could mean a bad mosquito season. According to pest control experts at Orkin, Memphis ranks as the 11th worst city for Mosquitoes. Atlanta is the worst and there are several other southern cities in the top 20 including Nashville.
Check out the list of the worst cities for mosquitoes:
3. Washington, D.C.
5. New York
6. Dallas-Ft. Worth
7. Nashville, Tenn.
8. Charlotte, N.C.
9. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
11. Memphis, Tenn.
13. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
14. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.
15. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.
16. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C. and Asheville, N.C.
17. Albany, Schenectady, Troy, N.Y.
18. Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Ohio
19. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Above is a look at a general range of the mosquito season across the U.S. The exact start of the season depends on both temperature and rainfall. Mosquitoes that hibernate need warm weather to become active, while mosquitoes that spend the winter as eggs need rainfall to flood the eggs and make them hatch. Since weather makes such a difference, mosquito activity can begin at different times each year, and even in the same year, some species may become active before others. Still, it's possible to estimate roughly when mosquito season will begin and end, depending on what part of the country you live in.
We are actually a little below average for rainfall so far this year in Memphis and much of the Mid-South, but if we get several soaking rains in March or April combined with warmer than normal temps, it could end up being a bad summer for mosquitoes.
As the hot weather of summer arrives, mosquito season reaches its peak. The warm temperatures make them pass through their life cycle faster, so more are laying eggs and more eggs are hatching.
By the end of the summer, you may notice a decline in bites, since there are fewer mosquitoes around. Those which were born earlier in the summer are gradually disappearing from accidents and predators, and fewer new eggs are hatching.
At the end of the season, mosquitoes species which die off for the winter won't disappear completely until frost, though they become less active as temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Those that hibernate as adults will begin their dormancy when winter weather arrives, but some may come out on warm winter days, so you might see a few any time of year that the temperature is warm enough. Still, you're less apt to be bitten as fall and winter come.
Mosquito season varies from year to year depending on temperature and moisture or amount of rain and standing water. Scientists have tried to predict exactly what makes some mosquito seasons worse, but there are several factors. Still, it came down to weather more than any other factor. Hopefully, it won't too warm or wet late winter into early spring, or we may be using a lot of mosquito spray this year!