How to keep mosquitoes at bay -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

How to keep mosquitoes at bay

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A mix of rainy and warm weather has left mosquitoes buzzing in the Pee Dee and along the Grand Strand.

If your legs are already full of mosquito bites, you're not alone. And according to local experts, this is just the beginning.

Paul Salone, the president of Mosquito & Pest Xperts, says lots of people think the mosquitoes are the worst when it's hottest. But the rule of thumb is when it's raining and there is water, that's when they're breeding. The more they breed, the worse the season can get.

"The mosquitoes are always there. They're always there!" exclaims Salone. Which is not a comforting thought. Mosquitoes breed wherever it's dark, damp, and moist. The breeding cycle of a mosquito is anywhere between four and eight days. Once they hatch, they start to feed.

And if you've ever wondered how a mosquito chooses it prey, Salone says mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of your sweat and your skin. But above all else, they are attracted to the carbon dioxide you exhale, specifically the proteins in your carbon dioxide. So if someone has ever joked they're not tasty enough to entice a mosquito or are too sweet and attract the pests all, it's true!

Salone says, "So if your blood and your carbon dioxide and the proteins in that carbon dioxide indicate to that mosquito that that is a good, what we would call, a ‘blood meal', they are all over you!" And it is only the female mosquitoes that bite.

Multiple pest experts in the Grand Strand say they are working overtime right now trying to prepare customers' yards. Experts also say how bad this season will be, depends a lot on you. If you don't try to stop the breeding in your yard, we could see a miserable mosquito season as it gets hotter.

There are some simple steps you can take right now that will help discourage mosquitoes from breeding and taking over your yard. Mosquitoes are attracted by moisture. So you'll find huge breeding grounds under any leaves or bushes, potted plants, drain spouts, and shaded areas. Also bird baths, fountains, or ponds with standing water are typical hideouts. Salone recommends changing stagnant water once or twice a week to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.

"Typically once temperatures get above 65 or 70 degrees, consistently, I mean I hate to say it like this, but it's game on for the mosquitoes! That's the habitat that they live in. And that's the habitat that we have here," says Salone.

If clearing your yard of the stagnant water just isn't going to cut it, then Salone typically offers two different options: an automated misting system or a manual treatment. Both will create a habitat that is not friendly for the mosquito to breed. So they go elsewhere.

Salone says you can think of the automated misting system as a sprinkler system for your yard, but for mosquitoes. The little sprinklers will be installed where mosquitoes are most likely to breed. And they are timed to spray four times a day, twice at dawn and dusk. And the system is remote activated, so you can spray whenever else you feel necessary. This system is similar to the price of installing a sprinkler system or a fence, depending upon how big of an area you're looking to cover.

A manual treatment will have to be reapplied once every three weeks; it is not as big an initial investment as a misting system, but it does wash away. So if you have a particularly rainy week, you might want to reapply sooner if you don't want them to start breeding all over again. The prices range based on the size of the property, but typically one treatment will run you about $100.

You have to stay out of the yard for two to four hours or until the manual spray is dry. When you use this misting system, Salone recommends staying out of the yard while it mists for 10 to 15 minutes. But Salone says these products are perfectly safe and will not hurt you, your kids, or your pets. The product is a derivative of the chrysanthemum, which is a natural mosquito repellant.

If you would like to help DHEC track mosquito-borne illnesses in your area, click here.

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