Are you safe from the West Nile virus? - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Are you safe from the West Nile virus?

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Michael Mike Bentley, general manager of Home Team Pest Defense, checks potential hotspots for mosquito larvae (Source: Myrtle Beach Online) Michael Mike Bentley, general manager of Home Team Pest Defense, checks potential hotspots for mosquito larvae (Source: Myrtle Beach Online)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With the Center for Disease Control reporting the highest number of West Nile virus cases across the country since 1999 your risk for contracting the disease is greater than ever.

According to Myrtle Beach Online, Mike Bentley, a general manager for Home Team Pest Defense in Myrtle Beach and a medical and veterinary entomologist from the University of Florida, says there is not one person who is more susceptible to contracting the West Nile virus than another.

Bentley says in the article that our skin gives off over 200 different chemicals and compounds, and he explains that someone with higher cholesterol or blood sugar levels could have a higher chance of being bitten by an insect such as a mosquito.

However, a person can't change their body makeup, so here's some things Bentley suggests homeowners should do to lower their chances of mosquito bites.

  • Homeowners should remove anything from their yard that can catch water when rain falls. Even a bottle cap full of water can create a breeding site for the flying blood suckers.
  • Mosquito magnets should be placed at least 25 to 30 feet away from decks and other seating areas.
  • Stay inside during the peak mosquito biting times of dusk and dawn.
  • If you're going to be outdoors during peak biting times, wear long pants and long shirts.

Another defensive strategy suggested in the article by Tom Garigen, director of Horry County Stormwater Management is for homeowners to make sure their gutters are completely clean of pine straw and leaves. The combination of standing water and the organic matter can create a prime breeding ground.

As for local mosquito complaints, Garigen says there were 30 mosquito calls in Horry County for July, compared to 32 in July 2011. As of Aug. 23, there have been 105 complaints, as opposed to 109 for the same time period last year.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

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